NYR/CAR R2G2 5/20 Review: Déjà Poo! Faceoffs, Special Teams & Nothing From Top Six Doom Blueshirts; One Goal in Six Periods Won’t Cut It Either, Motte Best Skater, Brendan “Bobby Orr” Smith, Gallant, Keeping the Faith & More

Similar to the first game of this series; there’s no way to sugarcoat the Rangers’ 2-0 Game Two loss to the Carolina Hurricanes from Friday night. Simply stated – the FAT CATS, aka the top six, absolutely stunk – where they weren’t cats – they were skunks. However, and to stick with the cat theme – the Rangers still have two more lives left.

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. At least the Rangers didn’t make you sit through an extra intermission and an overtime period during this go-around.

Ugh.

On Friday night, the Rangers and the Hurricanes played their second match of this second-round series, where Game Two was much akin to Game One. This particular contest truly felt like déjà vu.

Everything that took place during Game One repeated itself, and multiple times at that, during Game Two.

Can’t win a faceoff? Check.

Getting murdered during zone faceoffs? Check.

Blown scoring opportunities? Check.

Power-less play? Check.

Allowing Antti Raanta to continue the best stretch of his career? Check.

Getting burnt by ex-Rangers? Check.

The Rangers’ FAT CATS coming up empty-handed? Check.

The bottom six out-playing the highest-paid players on the team? Check, check, and Father Finkin’ check.

Once again, and in a word that you’ll see frequently repeated tonight – “UGH.”


I don’t know who has been worse during this series – Mika Zibanejad, who can’t win a faceoff to save his life, or the obviously injured Artemi Panarin, a #10 who didn’t record a shot on goal during Game Two. Photo Credit: NYR

I hate to sound so down. I really do. But yeah – “UGH.”

For the second consecutive game of this series, the Rangers played a one-goal affair (the final score reads as 2-0, but the second goal was scored with less than two seconds remaining – an empty netter for who else – Sebastian Aho), where once again, and just like their power-play – they came up empty handed.

This also tells you that the Rangers were right there in both games – but as you already know – the Canes came up big during crunch time on each occasion.

If you’re an optimist, a “glass half-full” fan like yours truly; I guess I should say this – the Hurricanes haven’t won a road game during these 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

As a Ranger fan – that fact is our last hope. The Rangers must protect home ice.

Of course, the Rangers, now 1-5 on the road themselves; Gallant’s Gang will now have to win their next four out of five games, where in addition to that fact – they’ll also have to win at least one of these games in Raleigh.

If they don’t, then it’s night-night for New York.

During my Game One recap/review, I said this – “you don’t want to be thinking about that Kakko brutal miss on a vacated net all summer.”

Unfortunately, we’re now half-way there – assuming things stay the same during this series.

What could’ve been a 1-0 series lead for the Rangers, a guaranteed split for the Blueshirts, is now an 0-2 hole.

And if you’re looking for culprits after this game – look no further than to the FAT CATS of this team.


Nothing against fourth-liner Tyler Motte; but if #64 is your best skater (as he was tonight) – then you have a huge Father Finkin’ problem on your hands. Photo Credit: Getty Images

The only real difference between Game One and Game Two, is that during this second game – the Rangers never blew a lead. CELEBRATION TIME, COME ON!

Of course, the Rangers never scored a goal during Game Two either – which in turn, means that former Ranger back-up, Antti Raanta, is now 2-0 in this series – and with a GAA of half a goal per game.

UGH!

As you may have figured out yourself – one goal in over six periods of action isn’t going to cut it.

One more time – UGH!

And while you do have to tip your cap to both Raanta and the Canes’ defense; at the same time – the Rangers have had so many chances to score goals. They didn’t and that’s why they are now down 0-2 in this series.

Arguably, and despite Kakko’s miss, Lafreniere’s post, and the saves that Raanta made on Chytil during Game One – the Rangers had even more scoring chances during Game Two.

If you played the “blame game” after Game One, and finger-pointed at Kaako (that wasn’t my agenda, and as stated during my Game One review); then after Friday night – Ryan Strome should currently be the focus of your anger.

Strome could’ve had a hat trick during the first period of this game. He just could never hit the target.

Ugh.

But just like Kakko during Game One – it’s not all on Ryan Strome either.

The Rangers had four power-plays in this game, including a four-minute double-minor power-play on Friday night, where during their four consecutive minutes of a man-advantage – they didn’t register one shot on goal.

That’s not solely on Strome. That’s on the entire team.

Making matters worse, wasn’t the fact that Kevin Rooney took his own two-minute minor during these four minutes.

Instead, it was just prior to Rooney’s infraction, where the Rangers, after allowing so many Carolina short-handed chances during all of their power-plays, were finally burnt – where yep, you guessed it, Bobby Orr himself, freakin’ former Ranger Brendan Smith, scored a short-handed goal.

Smith, not offered a new contract during this past off-season from general manager Chris Drury (the Rangers wanted the Swedish Patrik Nemeth to babysit “SUPERSTAR” Nils Lundkvist instead – and in a topic that I’ve discussed about 8067867896786789689 times on this site before); wound up scoring the game winning goal of Game Two.

Let that sink in.

Again – Ugh.

Of the former Rangers, it wasn’t the offensively gifted Tony DeAngelo who burnt the Rangers. It wasn’t Brady Skjei either. And it wasn’t even forward Jesper Fast who haunted the Rangers.

Instead, it was the marksman known as Brendan Smith.

Ugh.


Former Ranger Brendan Smith, who had an up-and-down tenure in New York, has been treated as hockey royalty during these ESPN broadcasts. And how can you blame ESPN? As he was during his final years in New York, Smith has emerged as a team leader in Carolina – and despite no letter on the front of his jersey. Maybe the Rangers need Vinni Lettieri back to beat up on Smith?

Yes, we can all cry into our beverages about Brendan Smith’s short-handed tally holding up as the game winning goal of Game Two; but at the same time – it was the only goal scored by either team during the first 59:58 of this game.

A worthless Aho empty netter, which was scored with less than two seconds remaining, was just a way to boost his own individual stats.

The lede of this loss was that the Rangers’ top six of forwards were sadly, and once again – invisible.

I get no joy in saying that, but the facts are the facts.

A worse fact? Brendan Smith’s one short-handed goal accounts for more than the Rangers’ top six have combined for during these two games in Raleigh.

Ugh.

Somehow, Mika Zibanejad finished tonight’s game with a faceoff winning percentage of 45.5%, as a result of winning ten out of his twenty-two faceoffs.

I don’t know, maybe the NHL statisticians felt bad for him, because, and I’m not joking here – it felt like he only won 20% of his draws.

In fact, and I’m too angry, demoralized and upset to look this up – but I think Mika won most of his draws during the final 2:44 of this game, when the Rangers had employed their 6 x 5 extra skater attack.

However, I can tell you, that after one period, Zibanejad had only won two of ten faceoffs, for that paltry number of 20%.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Zibanejad also finished with a -2 in the plus/minus stat – the game’s low.

The other half of the Rangers’ one-two punch?

Artemi Panarin, who seems like he’s trying to set a record for most turnovers registered during a playoff series – the $11.6M man didn’t even register one shot on goal.

Team leader Chris Kreider, the unofficial captain of this team? He didn’t register a shot on goal either.

Another team leader, Jacob Trouba, was a bit better than he was during Game One – but that doesn’t say much.

Once again, Trouba treated the puck as if it were a hand grenade, where more times than not, he couldn’t clear pucks. This allowed Carolina to elongate their attacks.

The Rangers’ much heralded third line wasn’t as good as they were during Game One, but again, that’s not on them either.

Tonight, the Rangers’ best line was their veteran fourth line, their checking line. I thought that Reaves and Rooney played well, but without a shadow of a doubt – Tyler Motte was the best skater for the Rangers.

You know the drill, and what I’m going to say next – “while it’s great for Tyler Motte when he’s the best Ranger skater on the ice – that’s not great for the team itself.”


Here’s a picture of yours truly with Ryan Strome, which I’m including here to let you know this – I AM A FAN OF HIS. That said, I can’t remember a Ranger that’s missed more empty nets than him – and that includes Kakko!

I know that the box score and the final stats of this game may suggest one thing; but as an eye-test fan, there’s no doubt it – the Rangers blew it. Again.

Ugh.

Just like the first period of Game One – the Rangers had multiple chances to race out to a multi-goal lead during the first twenty minutes of Game Two. They whiffed on every opportunity.

While you can’t knock Carolina; it’s also my opinion that they haven’t been that great.

The Rangers are playing them tough – especially defensively. However, it’s Carolina, and not New York, who is coming up big in crunch time.

In addition – I wouldn’t even consider the Canes’ goal scoring plays as the end result of “puck luck” either.

And while both Raanta and CZAR IGOR have been good during these two games – #32, formerly in blue, and now in Carolina red-and-black – owes the Rangers a huge THANK YOU.

Due to all of their misses and weak challenges at net; Raanta now looks like the second coming of a 2011 Tim Thomas right now.

Frederik Anderson who?

Ugh.

Worse than that for the Rangers? Technically, Rantaa is Carolina’s “back-up.” Once again, the Rangers are allowing a back-up goalie to have his own Cinderella story.

At this rate, both Panarin and Mika should just put glass slippers on Raanta and call it a day.


If the Rangers were just horrible, and completely outmatched by Carolina – then I could accept that. However, the Rangers could very easily be up 2-0 in this series now; but due to their inability to score goals on numerous opportunities, it’s them, and not Carolina, that’s now in 0-2 hole. That’s why I’m disappointed. Getting smacked around by a better team is one thing – to lose like this is another.

At this time, let’s get into all of the pregame news and interviews, and then into the main event – the GAME REVIEW.


On Thursday, Rangers’ head coach Gerard Gallant was named as one of the three finalists for the Jack Adams Award.

Similar to CZAR IGOR, both a nominee for the 2022 Vezina and Hart trophies – the league has also taken notice of Gerard Gallant.

On Thursday, Gallant, along with Andrew Brunette (Florida) and Darryl Sutter (Calgary), was named as a finalist for the Jack Adams Award.

This nomination, Gallant’s third (he won it in 2018 with Vegas), is also his third with three different franchises.

Previously, he was also nominated for the award in 2016 (Florida).

Should Gallant win the award in 2022, he’ll become the first Rangers’ head coach in all of franchise history to ever win it.

(FYI: the Jack Adams Award was first awarded in 1974. Had their been a “Coach of the Year” award prior to 1974, it’s very likely that former Ranger head coaches such as Lester Patrick, Frank Boucher and Emile “The Cat” Francis would have won it.)

For what it’s worth, Calgary’s Sutter is championing for Gallant to win the award.

And yes, this is a “homer” opinion – but Gallant should WIN it.

After all, both Calgary and Florida had high expectations going into this season. While yes, personally, I had high expectations for the Rangers this season – many did not.

Gallant’s 2021-22 Rangers’ squad had one of the best regular seasons in all of franchise history.

After the most drama-filled season in all of franchise history, the 56-game 2021 season; Gallant HAS to win it.

He, along with Team President/General Manager, Chris Drury – both of these men have completely changed the culture in New York.

Here is how the Rangers covered the news, courtesy of https://www.nhl.com/rangers/news/gerard-gallant-named-finalist-for-jack-adams-award/c-334192822?icmp=int_web_nyr_news_rightrail:

New York Rangers Head Coach Gerard Gallant has been named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, an award presented annually “to the coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.” The winners of the 2022 NHL Awards will be revealed during the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final, with exact dates, format and times to be announced.

Gallant, 58, is a Jack Adams finalist for the third time in his career, winning the award with Vegas in 2017-18 and earning a Top-3 finish in 2015-16 with Florida. Gallant is the 15th coach, since the award was first presented in 1973-74, to be named a finalist for Jack Adams in three-or-more seasons. He becomes the ninth coach to be named a finalist for three or more different teams, joining John Tortorella, Scotty Bowman, Alain Vigneault, Pat Burns, Barry Trotz, Pat Quinn, Joel Quenneville, and Brian Sutter.

Gallant joins Alain Vigneault (2014-15), John Tortorella (2011-12), Tom Renney (2005-06), Roger Neilson (1989-90, 1991-92), and Fred Shero (1978-79) as the only Rangers coaches to be a finalist for the award. No Rangers coach has ever won the Jack Adams Award.

In his first season at the helm with the Blueshirts, Gallant led the Rangers to a 52-24-6 mark for 110 points. Their 52 wins were tied for the second most in team history and their 110 points were the third most in a single season in franchise history.

With the 50-plus wins, Gallant became the second head coach in NHL history to record 50-plus wins in their first season with multiple franchises (also 51 w/ VGK in 2017-18), joining Mike Keenan (53 w/ PHI in 1984-85, 52 w/NYR in 1993-94).

With Gallant behind the bench, multiple Rangers brought their games to new heights. Of the 25 active skaters at the end of the regular season, 18 recorded or tied their career highs in either goals, assists, or points. Eight skaters notched career-highs in all three categories. In addition, the 2021-22 Rangers were the 10th team in NHL history, and first since Pittsburgh in 2011-12, to finish with at least 50 wins, at least 100 points, and had a 50-goal scorer, a 90-point scorer, and a goalie with at least 36 wins.

Other finalists for the award are Florida’s Andrew Brunette and Calgary’s Darryl Sutter.


Following this announcement, and following the Rangers’ practice from Thursday too, Gallant spoke to the media:


When talking about the nomination, Gallant said the following verbatim:

“It’s an honor. Obviously being out the last two years and coming back with the New York team, the team has been excellent this year, a young team, it’s an honor to be in that group. When you think about it, you look at the top ten teams and there are a lot of good coaches there. For me, any of the ten could have been nominated and had a chance to win the award. A lot of coaches did a great job this year and, like I said, it’s an honor.”


A day later, on Friday, and following the Rangers’ pregame skate; Gallant spoke to the media again:


Truthfully, not much came out of these press conferences.

As noted previously on this site during playoff time – “talk is cheap.”

That’s also the case at this present moment.

When it comes to what was said, it was the obvious – Gallant was disappointed with the tough Game One loss, but brought up how his team has rebounded from adversity all season. Gallant also hit his go-to line of “one game at a time.”

And as you’d also expect – Gallant was very complimentary of the Lafreniere/Chytil/Kakko line. Who isn’t?


Third line, Lottery line, Kids line, whatever – I’ll go with the NEW WORLD ORDER LINE! Much like the late 1990s pro wrestling faction – “they are taking over!” Sadly, the top six are not.

Here’s what “The Turk” ultimately went with for this “Mike Rogers” tribute game:

FIRST LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Vatrano

SECOND LINE: Panarin/Strome/Copp

THIRD LINE: Lafreniere/Chytil/Kakko

FOURTH LINE: Motte/Rooney/Reaves

Defensively, we had this:

FIRST D-PAIR: Miller/Trouba

SECOND D-PAIR: Lindgren/Fox

THIRD D-PAIR: Braun/Schneider

And in net, CZAR IGOR.


BOX SCORE time.

The following information and graphics come from the new world-wide leader in NHL coverage, ESPN.com:

SCORING:

PENALTIES:

TEAM STATS:

GOALIES:

CAR
SA
GA
SV
SV%
ESSV
PPSV
SHSV
SOSA
SOS
TOI
PIM
21 0 21 1.000 19 0 2 0 0 59:48 0

 

NYR
SA
GA
SV
SV%
ESSV
PPSV
SHSV
SOSA
SOS
TOI
PIM
21 1 20 .952 14 1 5 0 0 57:18 0

This much is true – CZAR IGOR has been much better during this series than he was during the series with Pittsburgh. While he’s never said “give me two goals and I got this;” at the same time, the Rangers would have to score two goals to even make this quote, first attributed to Henrik Lundqvist, applicable. For Father Fink’s sake – the Rangers haven’t even scored two goals in the series! Photo Credit: Hank I.

At 7:30PM, I tuned into the M$GN pregame show.

This is also the point of these blogs where I do my Sieve Vagistat related comedy; but needless to say – I’m too miserable to do that right now.

In addition, and without a third person in the studio tonight (no Henrik Lundqvist or Marty Biron tonight) – I thought Vagistat was pretty spot-on anyway – that is, until he released his opinions of this game during the first intermission.

(During the intermission, he said that he thought that the Rangers were playing well. He must be on the pot.)

During the pregame show, I also thought that Vagistat said what we all were thinking – Gallant should give the third line more ice time, and if “The Turk” had to – start the third line too.

(Both coaches, Gallant and Brind’Amour, relied on their fourth lines to open up these periods. And again, and for the second game in a row – the fourth line wasn’t the Rangers’ problem tonight.)

After a brief spot with Dave Maloney, where the former captain said that Artemi Panarin needed to trust his game (so much for that); Vagistat broke down the Rangers’ powerless play.

Once again, I thought that the analytical one was spot-on.

As noted before on this site – I have two televisions in my man-cave.

With my good chums “TEN O’CLOCK TOMMY” and “EDDIE WHISTLES” on my couch; we also had ESPN on during 7:30PM-8:00PM, where nary a pregame show was to be found.

Come 8PM, game-time, ESPN ceased their WNBA segments and went to Raleigh, North Carolina.

You’d think that ESPN would have a pregame show for their NHL rights package; but just like expecting the Rangers to score on the power-play – you’d be wrong.

GAME REVIEW time, ugh.


Despite it all, I still believe – Rangers in six!

FIRST PERIOD:

Just like Game One – the Rangers had numerous opportunities to put their feet on Carolina’s throats. Instead, come the end of the game – it were the Rangers who were gasping for air.

After what felt like one of Mika’s 789678696796867896 faceoff losses; Trouba, once again, had trouble getting a puck out of the Rangers’ zone.

Following a Motte blocked shot; CZAR IGOR was called upon to make his first save of the game, and at just the 30 second mark, when he successfully stopped Lorentz.

A minute later, Strome had an empty net afforded to him. He missed, as his attempt at trying to deflect a puck off of the skate of a Carolina defenseman didn’t turn out the way that he wanted. Had it, the Rangers would’ve been up 1-0 at just the ninety second mark of the game.

As ESPN gushed over Lafreniere, Chytil and Kakko; this much was also apparent at the three minute mark – the Rangers are deathly allergic to winning faceoffs, akin to Macaulay Caulkin’s character in “My Girl,” when he was killed as the result of his severe bee allergy.

After a Game One that only featured one light scrum, a scrum which took place at the end of regulation; during Game Two, we had back-to-back scrums, where both times, Carolina’s Superman, aka Brendan Smith, was involved in both.

At the 3:19 mark, both Rooney and Bobby Orr Smith were boxed for off-setting penalties.

Following a Panarin turnover and then a miss; Lindgren came close to putting the Rangers on the board. Raanta did his job during these two minutes of foreplay.

As the Rangers did their best to set a franchise low in faceoff wins; it was reported by ESPN that the Rangers had the worst faceoff stats among every playoff team during these 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs; where in addition – only the Rangers had a faceoff winning percentage stat of under 40%. (At the time, the Rangers winning percentage was 34%.)

Needless to say – the Rangers most certainly miss Barclay Goodrow, a player that is very successful when it comes to zone faceoffs.

Once returned to full-strength, we wouldn’t get much of five vs five hockey for long; as after a Smith hit on Chytil – Lafreniere then challenged his former teammate.

However, at the 6:19 mark, it was Chytil, and not Lafreniere, that soon joined Smith in the box for off-setting penalties.

During another failed scoring opportunity; at the 7:30 mark, Aho high-sticked Trouba. This meant that the Rangers would have a 4 x 3 power-play for 49 seconds, and if they couldn’t score on it – then they’d have a 5 x 4 power-play for 1:11.

After what felt like 9086786786789678967896896 passes to nowhere, and only one SOG too; with 10:29 remaining, we returned to full-strength. The Rangers’ power-play was now 0-1.

Following Schneider breaking up a Svechnikov breakaway; Trouba iced the puck – where it felt like he iced the puck more times than whenever he was trying to get the puck out of the d-zone.

With under nine minutes remaining, Lindgren, who can’t get a break these days, took a puck to the eye. He’d then go to the locker room for repairs, but would eventually return nearly five minutes later. WARRIOR. HOCKEY PLAYER. TRUE BLUE.

Once the clock read 7:52 remaining – Strome failed again.

Despite being all alone with Raanta while in the slot; somehow, Strome shot a puck right into DeAngelo’s asshole.

TDA received a +1 in the blocked shot statistic during this, but at the time – he had no clue that he had unintentionally blocked this easy scoring chance from his buddy.

Ugh.

For whatever reason, the officials also banged DeAngelo with a slashing call during this play.

I call it as it is – DeAngelo did nothing wrong here. This was a phantom penalty. Rod Brind’Amour would later go on to say as much. He was correct.

After Strome’s second failure to score; the Rangers were now back on the power-play.

After two Panarin turnovers, where each time, CZAR IGOR had to come up with an odd-man rush denial afterwards; Raanta then stopped a harmless Trouba shot and with just sixteen seconds remaining on the Canes’ PK.

Sadly – despite a four-minute power-play to come – this was Raanta’s final short-handed save of the game.

Also of note – this would be the last Rangers’ SOG for the next ten minutes – time which also spilled into the second period.

Now back to full-strength, and after another zone faceoff loss; with 5:51 remaining, Teravainen rang one off of the post. A Rangers’ break? Maybe – but they’d never break Raanta either.

With 4:34 to go, Kakko made four moves; and while keeping the puck on a string – then tried to set up Lafreniere. No go.

As you were just hoping that the Canes would come down with monkeypox or something akin to it; Mika tried to split four defenders with 2:50 to go – another Ranger turnover.

Now down to 1:47 remaining, Igor tried a homerun pass, a turnover, but he bailed himself out with a save right after it.

As we hit ninety seconds remaining, we were told that Mika had only won two of his ten faceoffs. Not good.

Then, with 34 seconds remaining, CZAR IGOR made one of his best saves yet, when he stoned rookie sensation Seth Jarvis.

After one period, we remained scoreless, where I said the following on the Tweeter machine at the time:


I know that many Ranger fans want Gallant to shake-up his lines whenever the Rangers can’t score a goal, but I don’t think you can blame the coach. He can only do so much. It’s up to the top six to deliver – and like a mailman on a Sunday – they aren’t doing so. Photo Credit: NYR

SECOND PERIOD:

It was around this time where ESPN really went after the Rangers for all of their missed scoring chances, lack of production from the top six, and their faceoff woes.

Also of note?

Despite both Ray Ferraro and Sean McDonough screaming about CZAR IGOR having a shutout during Game One – not one peep out of these two jackasses about Raanta’s shutout tonight at all.

While I’m not saying that the announcers have the ability to jinx and/or mush shutouts (but I do think it’s poor form whenever it’s brought up) – just like the Rangers during Round Two – there is no consistency out of these announcers either.

After all – why mention CZAR IGOR’s shutout, but not one mention of what Raanta was doing tonight? Hmmmm! CONSPIRACY!

Ugh.

As ESPN was ripping Panarin, Mika and Kreider freshly new assholes (the top three skaters hadn’t had a SOG during this time, and Mika couldn’t win a faceoff to save his life either); at just the 44 second mark, Igor came up with a big save on Jesper Fast.

Up next, we saw Panarin have all day to shoot, but he was hesitant to do so. Turnover. Then, on the next Rangers’ possession – Fox turned over the puck too.

Carolina, who spent the first six or seven minutes of this middle stanza in the Rangers’ d-zone, then watched CZAR IGOR come up with his tenth save of the game at the five minute mark.

With 13:41 to go, Kreider took his first of two slashing penalties during this period, after his poorly-timed slash on Slavin.

After winning another faceoff; Carolina received a great scoring opportunity at #31, where CZAR IGOR then stopped Teravainen’s GOOD LOOK.

Following another Rangers’ d-zone loss, I was left wondering this – if Craig MacTavish is too old to take a faceoff and then change; then perhaps CZAR IGOR should start taking faceoffs? The Rangers were absolutely futile tonight at the dot – no matter what the final statistics may read.

Once returned to full strength and now approaching the mid-mark of the game/period; we saw more faceoff losses out of Mika and more freshly baked turnovers out of “The Breadman” – where whether it’s injury-related or not – he’s been stale and moldy during regulation time in each of these nine playoff games.

And let’s face it – his Game Seven overtime game winning goal was fluky.

After Braun broke up a one-timer; Mika finally won a faceoff – an event that was as rare as seeing Haley’s Comet.

However, whenever the Rangers actually came up with a faceoff win – they’d then turn the puck over or just have insane problems when trying to get the puck into Carolina’s zone.

Down to 8:22 remaining, Raanta, who must’ve been bored out of his mind at this point; came up with a big time save on Mika.

With 6:59 remaining, we had the turning point of the game, when Brady Skjei high-sticked Lafreniere, where #76 drew blood at the bridge of #13’s nose.

The Rangers, gifted with a four-minute power-play here – DID JACK SHIT.

Not only did they not register a SOG, but this is when Brendan Smith, after a perfect feed from Sebastion Asshole (nickname credit: Roc from “2 Guys, 1 Cup), scored his short-handed goal – and with 4:06 left in the period.

1-0, bad guys.

Not to be outdone, Rooney then boarded Game One hero Ian Cole.

In turn, the Rangers’ abysmal shot-less power-play was over, and Carolina would soon receive a man-advantage for the next 1:37.

It gets worse.

Not even a minute into Carolina’s power-play, Kreider slashed Trocheck.

Now with 2:30 to go, the Canes had a 5 x 3 power-play for 1:10, followed up by a 5 x 4 power-play for fifty seconds.

CZAR IGOR came up with a few big saves here, including a monstrous and thunderous swooping windmill glove save on DeAngelo.

To the Rangers’ credit – they killed off both penalties and would escape the second period down only by one goal.

Here’s what I said at the time:


I’m a fan of Raanta, he’s a good guy, he plays well, and blah-blah-blah – but come on – you can’t shoot at this guy, much less score on him? Photo Credit: Hurricanes

THIRD PERIOD:

This final frame, much like this game itself – was pathetic.

Of note? During these two games in Raleigh – the Carolina crowd hasn’t even bothered to troll Igor.

That’s how confident they are in their team, and how much they don’t even consider the likely Vezina winner as a factor.

As Gallant made light adjustments to his line-up, none of them would pay off.

The third period was more of the same – turnover, turnover, turnover, pass, pass, pass, no shot on goal, lose a faceoff or ten, and tick-tick-tick on the clock.

To fast-forward this misery; with 2:44 remaining – Gallant pulled Igor.

At the time, I thought that this was a ballsy move, especially since the Rangers couldn’t win a faceoff.

Once pulling Igor, the Rangers lost another o-zone faceoff, where Ian Cole then came close of putting the game away on his long-distance empty net try.

After Cole’s near-miss; the Rangers would have some chances, but really never came close to getting into Raanta’s paint.

During the final ten seconds, the Rangers dicked around in their own zone, and for the Carolina cherry-on-top – Aho scored his empty netter with just 1.8 seconds left.

2-0 bad guys, 2-0 your final, 2-0 series lead for Carolina.

Horrendous.


Here’s Gallant after the game, a head coach who had a more positive takeaway of this game than me.

(Of course, he has to be this way – as there’s no use in burying his top players at this juncture):


What’s left to say?

The Rangers could very easily be up 2-0 right now – but their inability to score goals, and with a ghost top six on the ice – they are now in an 0-2 hole.

The Blueshirts now have the unenviable task of trying to win four out of their next five games.

Again, I go back to this – if they weren’t on Carolina’s level, that would be one thing. That isn’t the case here.

What is the case is that they are losing one-goal games because of their MIA top six and power-play.

Rather than just accepting the inevitable, you’re left thinking “WHAT IF?” And there are many “WHAT IF” questions after these two games.

Ugh.

PLUGS TIME.


On Thursday evening, Ron Duguay and company returned with a new episode of “Up in the Blue Seats.” To listen to the program, click the link below:


The hardcover version of my book, available now at Amazon.com

My first plug of tonight’s blog – the mandatory plug for my book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden”.

As mentioned previously, the book is now available in hardcover, in paperback and in Kindle formats. To purchase a copy of the book, visit this link:

https://www.amazon.com/Rangers-Rafters-Madison-Square-Garden-ebook/dp/B09CM5N2WD

For those still looking for signed paperback versions of the book, I have re-ordered more copies. I now have a few signed copies for sale at $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:

Order “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden” Book Today


Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:

NYR/CAR R2G1 5/18 Review: Rangers’ “Young Guns” Come To Play; “Fat Cats” MIA, Blueshirts Give Away a Gift-Wrapped Win; Raanta Wins Battle of Finns, Heartbreaking Defeat; Must Get Split, Blais, Gallant, ESPN/M$GN & More


Complete New York Rangers vs Carolina Hurricanes Series Preview; Canes Following NHL Blueprint for Success; NYR Looking To Tear It Up, DeAngelo #1 “Jerk,” But Don’t Forget About the Lafreniere Angle; NYR/CAR History, NHL Round Two Predictions, Gallant, HC’s & More


NYR/PIT R1G7 5/15 Review: The Comeback Kids Do It Again! Rangers Eliminate Penguins in a Game 7 OT Thriller; Defeat The Officials Too, Panarin Saves Best for Last, CZAR IGOR Sets Another Franchise Record; #31 Era is NOW, Gallant, No Quit in NY; No Pitt in NY Either, Full Game Review, Early Look at NYR v Canes & More


If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:


At near forty years old – I hate to be so emotionally invested in games played between millionaires. However, I can’t help it. Let’s hope for a better result on Sunday. Photo Credit: @MokaChocaLatte

Up next: Game Three, Sunday afternoon at M$G with a puck drop of 3:30PM.

Another shit-show like these first two games – then I’ll throw in the towel.

I say this with all of my might – Keep the Faith.

As always here, thanks for reading and…

LET’S GO RANGERS!

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

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