Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Whew, or should I belt out a Ric Flair “WOOOOOOOOO” instead after this victory? Either way – either whew or woo will do!
I won’t lie – with just under two minutes remaining during Game Three, I thought that the headline around Rangerstown, USA was going to be about the Blueshirts blowing another game of this series.
Fortunately, despite another miss on a vacated net (a hockey net akin to a soccer net to boot), that would’ve won the game for the Rangers (Chris Kreider); Tyler Motte was soon able to score an empty net goal, following a soft backhanded shot from out of his own zone.
Now up 3-1, and with 1:23 remaining – the Rangers held on.
Whew and WOOOOOO!
That stated – the series still remains in Carolina’s favor, as the Canes now lead the best of seven set 2-1.
Should the Rangers take Game Four of this series, which is scheduled for Tuesday night at M$G – then this series will be tied and a best-of-three series will emerge.
And yep – the Rangers will have to win at least one game in Raleigh in order to move on to the Conference Final.
However, I’m getting ahead of myself, as tonight’s blog is all about savoring Sunday’s victory.
As noted during my opening remarks – come crunch time, I thought that the Rangers were going to blow it.
With the game now over, I can say this – I’ve never been happier to be wrong!
I felt this way, only because we all saw what happened during Games One and Two, with the first game of this series really being the heart-breaker of all heart-breakers.
That said, I also said this on Sunday afternoon, while Game Three was going on:
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) May 22, 2022
As noted about 786786789689678678967896 times before on this site – I hate afternoon games.
In my opinion, both football and baseball are great Sunday afternoon sports. Hockey is not.
Furthermore, or at least when it comes to the NYC local teams – prior to the pandemic, M$G was known for their white collar corporate crowd, a “suit” crowd that usually took up space in the lower bowl of the Garden.
Since the two NFL teams primarily play on Sundays, and since the baseball teams play every day of the week – both the Knicks and the Rangers, the only two teams that play in Manhattan, and the two franchises most closest to Wall Street – Dolan’s teams usually feature more high income fans sitting in the best seats of the house when compared to the other teams of the metropolitan area.
After all, M$G has a “Celebrity Row.” The other venues across town do not.
However, and as previously discussed at length on this site; ever since the pandemic, we’re seeing less-and-less white collar/suit types at M$G. Between working from home and not having clients to entertain – the blue collar crowd has taken back M$G a bit.
With this game taking place on a non-work day, a Sunday; a lot of the lower bowl at M$G today was indeed littered with white collars – but not white collared suits.
Instead, the white collars that we saw were the cheap t-shirts that the Rangers gave out for free to those in-attendance.
Rather than giving out free dark colored t-shirts, as is customary (usually blue, sometimes black); these white shirts that adorned the empty seats at M$G really popped out on television. These pearly white shirts, like a smile out of the fake-toothed Mike Francesa – only brought attention to the empty seats.
And based from the people that I talked to that attended this game – this was the lightest crowd at M$G from this 2022 playoff run.
I think you can somewhat blame the lighter-than-usual attendance on the 3:30PM Sunday puck drop. However, it’s not only about the super-rich corporate types that can afford these elite seats either.
As noted before, M$G (and every live entertainment entity for that matter) have exponentially jacked up the face value of their tickets, in their attempts to snuff out the secondary market – a secondary market that once was making more of a profit on these premier events than these entities themselves.
(For more on this, check out this blog, as I addressed this topic in-depth on April 20th: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/42022/ )
Perhaps if the Rangers, and not the Canes, were up 2-0 in this series; then maybe the demand would’ve been there for this supply of expensive and insanely priced tickets.
However, it were the Canes that were up 2-0 when entering Sunday’s game, and in turn – the demand wasn’t there, or at the very least – a demand of over $500 for the worst seat in the house.
While I wouldn’t say that the crowd at M$G was “dead” today (as I thought they were actually louder today than at some points during the Pittsburgh series); this much is also true – even with many “Blue Collar” fans off of work on Sunday – these fans decided to stay home rather than attend this game.
And really, how can you blame them?
Right now, the Rangers are asking for your mortgage/rent payment and a kidney for playoff tickets.
And that concludes this rant on the meek attendance!
Let’s get back into this Game Three victory.
Unlike the first two games of this series; while still a defensive game, there was much more of an emphasis on offense during Game Three.
And while three Ranger goals doesn’t sound like a lot (especially since one was of the empty net variety) – that’s still triple the amount of goals that the Blueshirts had previously scored during the first pair of games of this series.
After surviving a barrage of Carolina shots on goal during the early stages of the first period, where at one point, the SOG statistic read as 13-2, and in favor of the road team; the Rangers received a power-play and soon thereafter – finally scored their first power-play goal of the series.
Mika Zibanejad, who I thought had an up-and-down game (more on that during the GAME REVIEW); put the Rangers up 1-0 after his much needed power-play tally.
Zibanejad would then pick up his second point of the game during the middle stanza, an assist; following what was pretty much an individual effort out of Chris Kreider.
Now up 2-0, the Rangers had to keep their foot on the pedal. For the most part, they did – although CZAR IGOR would allow a soft goal to Nino Niederreiter, on the right winger’s weak backhanded try.
Sometimes, that’s what happens.
Every once in a while, you’ll have a star goalie stop every tough shot imaginable, only to brain-fart on something easy.
That said, if it wasn’t for CZAR IGOR – the Rangers wouldn’t have even had the lead at this point of the game anyway.
The two teams, who have essentially been playing one-goal games throughout this series, were now back to a one-goal difference.
It wouldn’t be easy for the Rangers, but to their credit – they survived.
After killing off numerous penalties, and as the clock went tick-tick-tick; Antti Raanta, who is having an amazing playoffs, was pulled with 2:29 remaining in regulation.
Chris Kreider, aka CK52, and who is now only four goals shy of the franchise record for most playoff goals (Rod Gilbert, with 34 goals, remains as the franchise leader); had a chance to put a bow on this game.
However, and despite only being five feet away from a clear-as-day empty net – Kreider hit the post when trying to put himself a hat trick away from Gilbert’s record.
This is when my stomach was doing back-flips.
However, quickly thereafter, Motte scored his empty-netter while CZAR IGOR fanned the flames.
3-1, GOOD GUYS.
Somewhat of an equal importance? The Hurricanes haven’t won a road game during these 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Should that streak continue, we’re talking about a “Best-of-Three” series come 9:45PM Tuesday night.
But yes, and as Gallant has stated about 7896967896786796 zillion times since accepting Drury’s offer – “ONE GAME AT A TIME!”
At this time, let’s get into all of the pregame news and interviews, and then into the main event – the GAME REVIEW.
On Saturday, following the Rangers’ optional practice, head coach Gerard Gallant spoke to the media.
Here was Saturday’s “TURK TALK”:
As noted in this space during these playoffs – “talk is cheap.”
Gallant said what you’d expect him to say – being down 0-2 isn’t great, “one game at a time,” the importance of protecting home ice, desiring more offense out of his top six, his wishes to see more faceoff wins, his team has been resilient all season, and etc.
A day later, on Sunday, I received this information from one of my buddies in the construction industry – the Hurricanes’ hotel is located near 1 Madison Ave, where the job site worked over the weekend.
In other words, unless the hotel has sound-proof windows/walls (I can’t confirm this part); then that means the Canes heard nothing but jackhammers, excavators chipping rock and other loud noises starting at 7AM Sunday morning.
Maybe this is yours truly looking for an edge here, but going into this game, I was hoping that the beauty sleep of the Hurricanes was interrupted, and in turn, would come out flat for the 3:30PM puck drop.
And after today’s game, I hope my buddy’s job site is rip-roaring on Tuesday morning.
In other news from Sunday, Gallant spoke to the media for one minute:
Since Gallant spoke at length on Saturday, there weren’t many pregame news and notes out of him – aside from the fact that he said that he was considering shaking up his lines.
And that’s what he did.
Here’s what “The Turk” ultimately went with for this “Nick Fotiu” tribute game:
(OF NOTE: once the third period began, Gallant went back to his Game One and Two lines, which includes reuniting the third line of Lafreniere/Chytil/Kakko.)
FIRST LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Chytil
SECOND LINE: Panarin/Strome/Lafreniere
THIRD LINE: Vatrano/Copp/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:
At 3PM, I tuned into the M$GN for their pregame coverage.
Henrik Lundqvist, back from Sweden, returned in-studio, where he immediately stated that the Rangers’ power-play and offense needed to get going. I guess that’s why he gets paid the big bucks!
Sieve Vagistat, along for the ride, came to the same conclusion, where the pair of former Ranger goalies both said that they had a good feeling about Game Three.
For what it’s worth, everyone has a good feeling going into every game – even if there are some nerves and high-powered gas along with it.
Once Dave Maloney received face-time, he too brought up the Rangers’ scoring woes. He also said that he expected the crowd to juice up the Blueshirts, but as you’d imagine – he didn’t bring up all of the empty seats.
After Maloney praised Carolina and reminded us that Brendan Smith has torched the Rangers during this series; Sieve Vagistat presented one of his homemade arts-and-crafts charts. To his credit, he later brought up a pertinent stat – Raanta had only give up two rebounds during this series, which implied that the Rangers weren’t shooting enough.
Another real stat, a stat that was presented by John Giannone? The fact that the Canes blocked more shots during Game Two than Raanta had recorded saves.
As Lundqvist reminded us about another Ranger killer in Carolina white, the disgusting “Sebastian Asshole” (nickname credit: Roc of “2 Guys, 1 Cup”); I was shocked when Sieve Vagistat agreed with me, when discussing the topic of Gallant’s lines.
As I always say on this site – I really don’t care about the lines, or at the very least – not in the way that some of this fan base irrationally do.
After all, you can always change your lines in-game. You’re not married to these lines.
Vagistat, who admittedly, has done his best work of the season during these playoffs (which is probably because we’re not buried by analytics whenever Lundqvist is around); said he was fine with Gallant’s lines and how “The Turk” could change them when needed.
And that’s what happened during the third period.
In a funny moment at the “BUD LIGHT BAR,” a watering hole where no one ever drinks at; M$GN aired a clip of Raanta praising Lundqvist. Lundqvist remarked that he always had great back-up goalies during his tenure with the Rangers. I thought this was funny, only because he was sitting next to the worst back-up goalie of his era, in Sieve Vagistat.
(There’s no way you can convince me that Kevin Weekes, Marty Biron, Cam Talbot, Antti Raanta, Alexandar Georgiev and Igor Shestyorkin were worse than Vally. If you really want to make a stink, and argue for some of the lesser-known/rarely used back-ups, such as Chad Johnson, Alex Auld, Ondrej Pavelec, etc – be my guest. But of the full-time back-ups – Vally was the worst of the lot – a fact, not an opinion.)
Come 3:30PM, I flipped the channel to ESPN, where both Kevin Weekes and Ryan Callahan (who both would be great on an M$G panel with Lundqvist), predicted the Rangers to win this game.
In other words – they are the anti-TNT! (And yes, “Biz” is just a WWF heel looking for a reaction. Why some fans give it to him, I do not know.)
After our customary clip of Ryan Reaves belting out “SHESTY, RELEASE US,” I thought the following: while I know that Raanta isn’t truly a back-up, we’ve rarely heard the two words of “Frederik Andersen” during these broadcasts.
After talking about third string and back-up goalies during the first-round; it just goes to show you how strong Raanta has been – as no one is clamoring for Andersen at the moment.
And for what it’s worth, and despite Raanta’s loss – this Carolina loss had nothing to do with #32 today.
GAME REVIEW time.
As a whole, Game Three, aside from the final score, saw a lot of the same from Games One and Two.
While the final faceoff stat reads as 36-27, in favor of Carolina (a 42.9% faceoff percentage for the Rangers, as they are currently the worst team of these playoffs in this department); it at least felt like the Canes had won 90% of their draws today.
And while I don’t have the zone faceoff stats in front of me – I wouldn’t be surprised to read that the Canes, in fact, did win 90% of these end zone draws.
At one point, it got so bad during this game, that the Canes won three defensive draws in a row, and four seconds following each of these victories – Igor came up with a clutch save on each occasion.
I don’t know how you can coach faceoffs, but somehow and someway, the Rangers will have to find a way to improve their success rate at the dots.
The Kakko/Copp/Vatrano line, along with Miller and Trouba, started the game, where promptly after puck drop – the Rangers lost their first faceoff of the game.
Just 25 seconds later, the Rangers got the puck back, where Copp then shot wide.
Then, at the 1:07 mark, Ryan Lindgren was boxed for a crosscheck, an infraction committed on Seth Jarvis.
I call it as it is (and just like when I said during Game Two that I didn’t think that DeAngelo slashed Trouba) – this was a soft and phantom call.
While there was contact, this wasn’t a clear two-handed offense, and furthermore – nowhere as bad as what we’d later see out of Andrei Svechnikov.
The Rangers’ penalty kill crew did a pretty good job here, but they got a break too, as Svechnikov rang one off of the post, and with just 33 seconds remaining on the Canes’ man-advantage.
As the abundance of empty seats were woefully apparent; the Rangers got their kill.
Also apparent is the ailing Artemi Panarin, who made his first of many turnovers at the 4:30 mark.
Up next were three consecutive d-zone faceoff losses for the Rangers, where CZAR IGOR stopped Game One hero Ian Cole, Brady Skjei and Jordan Staal, and all in succession.
Then, when the Rangers finally won a d-zone draw, they couldn’t get the puck out.
Come 13:31 remaining, CZAR IGOR had already amassed seven saves. Raanta only had one on his ledger.
A minute later, the Canes, back to blocking shots, deflected a Trouba try. On the other end, Igor would stone Seth Jarvis.
Now down to 11:15 remaining; once again, CZAR IGOR came up with a pair of saves, when he stopped both Trocheck and Cole.
And speaking of Mr. Trocheck – while he has no goals in this series – it feels like he’s about to break out. It just feels like he’s always crashing the net and right there.
Also at the time? The Canes were out-shooting the Rangers 12-2, as this was the first period of this series where Carolina hit the double-digit mark in SOG during twenty minutes of action.
With 10:41 remaining, the Canes opted to ice the puck rather than working it out.
As I thought, and as the ESPN broadcasters brought up – the Rangers can’t win a faceoff. It was safer to ice the puck and win a d-zone draw, rather than allowing the Rangers to put forth any sort of an offensive attack.
A minute later, Trouba broke up a Canes’ one-timer that had goal written all over it.
As Filip Chytil tried to go to the net during a delayed penalty attack; Carolina finally touched up.
With 9:20 to go, Skjei was officially boxed for holding Zibanejad.
64 seconds later, this happened:
A POWER PLAY GOAL FROM MIKA ZIBANEJAD TO START US OFF!!!!!pic.twitter.com/p1KKsMQFIz
— Rangers Videos (@SNYRangers) May 22, 2022
1-0, GOOD GUYS, as Zibanejad buried a pass from Panarin right into the back of Raanta’s net!
As you’d imagine, this was a much needed goal for Mika and bigger than that – a much needed Rangers’ lead.
And it didn’t look pretty either; as prior to #93’s opening goal, Carolina had cleared the puck three times during the first thirty seconds of their kill, while both Mika and Kreider went wide on their initial attempts.
Ironically, these two FAT CATS of the top line would score in this game.
Now up 1-0 and with 8:06 to go; Miller broke up a Carolina chance in the slot while Vatrano said no to DeAngelo.
With 6:56 remaining, and in one of his best saves yet; CZAR IGOR said “NYET” to Kotkaniemi, where from his belly and with his head facing his own net; #31 made the denial.
Immediately, thunderous chants of “IGOR, IGOR, IGOR” bounced off of the iconic M$G ceiling.
A minute or so later; Jesper Fast leveled Justin Braun with a hit, but the puck squirted out to Zibanejad. Up next was perhaps Raanta’s best save of the game, when he denied Mika on his mini breakaway.
With 4:48 to go, and after Carolina got away with a high-sticking while Igor got away with an icing; Raanta stopped Kreider.
Down to 2:20 remaining, CZAR IGOR logged his 17th save of the period. After that, Raanta made a good save on Lafreniere, while Panarin turned over the puck again.
Now down to sixty seconds or less; the second line crashed Raanta. Immediately, Martin Necas went after Strome, and with his young child in the building, #16 in Rangers’ blue exchanged a few four-letter words with Mr. Necas.
With just 1.2 seconds left on the clock, the first line then crashed Raanta, where this time, both Mika and Kreider were sniffing for a goal.
DESPITE SVECHNIKOV BLATANTLY CROSS CHECKING KREIDER FROM BEHIND IN FRONT OF AN OFFICIAL – no call was made.
I get “PLAYOFF HOCKEY,” but if you’re going to box Lindgren for farting near Jarvis – then you have to call this.
And I say that as someone who thinks that the officiating has been fine during this series. (Then again, it couldn’t be any worse when compared to the series with Pittsburgh!)
Here’s what I said in real-time, following the conclusion of the first period:
1-0, GOOD GUYS, after 20. 1P Thoughts:
— So happy with the PPG/lead, but yeah – not enough. Jam it down their throats.
— SOG 18-13, FO’s 14-7 CAR – #NYR has to slow CAR down some.
— Not sure about these lines.
— Another goalie’s duel.
— NYR perfect on special teams.
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) May 22, 2022
Prior to puck drop, and during the intermission, we were told that the Tampa Bay Lightning had defeated the Florida Panthers 5-1, which now means that the reigning and defending two-time Cup champs have a commanding 3-0 series lead – in a “Battle of Florida” that’s been anything but that.
And while I don’t want to look too far ahead – yeah, should the Rangers come back and knock off Carolina (and begrudgingly – if Carolina should win too) – either team will see a well-rested and dominant Tampa Bay Lightning during the Eastern Conference Final.
Of course, we can worry about that once we get there. There are currently more pressing matters going on at the moment!
After the Canes won the first draw of the period (yawn); the Rangers got the puck back, where Raanta stoned Chytil ninety seconds in, and then just twenty seconds after being stopped – #72 went wide after being set up by Mika.
As Igor continued his strong game in net, where he stopped “OH JOE, JOE PESCI, JOE!” with 17:30 remaining; up next were two Panarin flubs.
On the first flub, and during a Rangers’ 3 x 2 odd-man rush; Panarin made one of his patented dumbass cross ice passes to nowhere – a turnover. On the second flub, Panarin was stripped by Bobby Orr himself – Brendan Smith.
Following the Doug Harvey of our generation pick-pocketing “The Breadman;” the Canes then charged at CZAR IGOR, where #31 denied Max Domi with 16:48 remaining.
However, the Rangers received a HUGE break here, as Igor left this rebound right near the goal line. K’Andre Miller sprawled for the puck but couldn’t get there. Thankfully, Kevin Rooney did – and a crisis was averted.
After more faceoff losses out of the Blueshirts; Chris Kreider then took sole possession of second-place in most playoff goals scored in all of franchise history:
CHRIS KREIDER MAKES IT 2-0!
— Rangers Videos (@SNYRangers) May 22, 2022
In the best looking goal of the game, and with 14:05 to go; Kreider went to Gretzky’s office, where ironically, both Wayne and wife Janet were in the building today.
Kreider, now being chased around by DeAngelo; the newly re-nicknamed “CK30” was able to break #77’s stick during a puck battle behind the net.
Now with the puck on his blade; Kreider drifted to the left circle, and bada-bing, bada-boom, Kreider shook the room!
2-0, GOOD GUYS, as Kreider ripped a shot past a stick-less DeAngelo, and during the process – went top cheddar cheese on Raanta!
No joke, outside of the Rangers’ goal song, the other sound that you heard at this time? A huge sigh of relief. That relief would be short-lived.
With 12:15 to go, we had more Finn on Finn violence, following a spectacular Raanta save on Kakko.
Just thirty seconds later, and with 11:42 to go; CZAR IGOR arguably gave up the worst goal of his career.
On this play, Nino Niederreiter flung a harmless backhanded shot towards CZAR IGOR – a shot that #31 stops 999/1000 times. This was the one time where it went in.
This crappy backhanded shot, from the circle to the left of Igor, got a piece of the Rangers’ netminder and somehow trickled in.
And give M$G credit here. Right away, the crowd jumped to their feet and belted out “IGOR! IGOR! IGOR!”
They knew the obvious – without Igor, the Rangers would’ve been blown out of the water, especially after that first period.
And they knew this too – this would be the first and last goal of the game afforded to the Hurricanes.
Now at the half-way point of the game, and with the hatred for DeAngelo intensifying (#77 was ferociously booed whenever he touched the puck); Igor stopped a good looking shot out of TDA himself, and with 8:23 to go.
Right after the save, the Rangers lost two more faceoffs, which then led to two more saves for Igor too.
With 6:55 remaining, CZAR IGOR had already matched his jersey number in saves, with 31.
After getting away with two earlier infractions; with 5:54 to go, Svechnikov was boxed for interfering with Adam Fox.
The Rangers’ power-play couldn’t get going here, where at one point, Fox took a hit and had to immediately change for Trouba. However, Fox would be right back, as he paid homage to his partner Ryan Lindgren, and then took a shift with the PP2 unit.
Now back to full strength; Svechnikov, now out of the box, had a one-vs-one try with the CZAR.
Then, with 2:07 to go, Necas shot a puck from deep. Braun deflected it. Igor stopped it. This play was much more asshole puckering than the way that I’m describing it, as CZAR IGOR prevented the Canes from scoring another deflection/fluke goal.
After the Rangers’ 78967867896789685675675675685768 faceoff loss of the game; I was wondering – could Rangers’ owner James Dolan convince an in-the-house Wayne Gretzky to sign a one-day contract, where he could solely take faceoffs and then change?
With 26.8 ticks remaining, Lafreniere took a dumb penalty, when he high-sticked Staal in the Canes’ d-zone.
I’m not getting on Lafreniere here – he’s been great during these playoffs. However, this was a bad penalty to take, not only because it was an o-zone infraction, but because of the time left on the clock too.
The Rangers would kill off the first 26.8 seconds of this Lafreniere penalty.
Here’s what I said after the second period:
2-1, GOOD GUYS after 40. 2P Thoughts:
— The Igor Show, even with the bad goal allowed.
— Nice to see Kreider score a goal scorer’s goal.
— SOG 35-23, FO’s 25-16 CAR (FO number seems worse, o-zone draws must be 95% for Canes)
— Panarin is a turnover machine
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) May 22, 2022
During the intermission, rather than talking to Brad Park himself, aka Brendan Smith (who also had an assist in this game – his third of these playoffs), ESPN’s Emily Kaplan interviewed Tony DeAngelo instead.
Give Kaplan credit, as she asked the big ball question of, “what’s it like being booed?”
DeAngelo’s response? “I couldn’t care less. They can do whatever the hell they want.”
I’m not going into the DeAngelo story for the 8767867896789678967896786789th time on this site again; but I do want to bring up what I first said during my series preview:
When it comes to this series, DeAngelo, who currently leads the Canes in points during the playoffs (one goal and seven assists for eight points overall), I do hope that Ranger fans stay on him.
Of course, I also hope that Ranger fans get loud and go after everyone, including Frederik Andersen while in net!
As Brad Marchand, perhaps the league’s best agitator of the past ten years, showed us during round one – it’s still easy to get to DeAngelo – even if DeAngelo, like a 1980s WWF heel pro wrestler, enjoys the on ice heat.
DeAngelo, who plays with his heart on his sleeve, will always be someone that I’d want on my hockey team for one reason only – he always lets you know that he cares. You never see him take a shift off. As a result, he’s also prone to going nuts when things don’t go his way – just as we saw in the series with Boston.
Love him, hate him or if you’re just indifferent about him, this much is known – he’s playing at a high level right now and he is a crucial piece of the Canes’ power-play too. However, he can be rattled, and I’m sure M$G will have their voices heard!
I guess my only point here is this – boo the hell out of DeAngelo, but go after everyone else too!
As we’d soon see – the Rangers, and the Garden Faithful, were able to rattle DeAngelo today. Keep it up!
(And for the love of the hockey gods – go after Raanta too! I don’t know about you, but I could use a cruise-control Ranger blow-out victory on Tuesday night. These games are taking years off of my liver!)
The Rangers, who opened up this period on the kill, would survive, where CZAR IGOR made four stops in total.
Four minutes into the period, CZAR IGOR was up to save number 40, but it felt like it was save number 100.
With 14:40 remaining, Braun had a chance to put the Rangers up by two, but Raanta made his best save yet.
Raanta would then make two saves better than this one on Braun just 28 seconds later, where he first stopped Reaves, and then got a minuscule piece of his shaft (not that one sicko) on a Motte rebound.
These three rapid-fire saves kept the Canes alive.
As noted, with the Ranger lines back to what they were while in Carolina; Igor made his 41st save, a denial on Svechnikov.
Then, with 11:29 to go, Raanta did it again, where he made a FABULOUS save on a Chytil-to-Kakko one-timer. Not much else Kakko could’ve done here, as Raanta was simply lights out.
With 10:40 to go, the shit brewing in your stomach was sucked up to your throat, as Lorentz had a mini breakaway. On this one-on-one chance to tie the game, he caught a bad case of “Rangeritis” and shot wide.
Up next were a torturous 10:40, as the Canes kept getting to Igor, but either #31 made the save or a Ranger got back just in time to break up a scoring opportunity.
Now down to 6:03 remaining in regulation; the Rangers would be tested again, as Motte was nailed for slashing Joe Pesci – a legit call.
The Rangers’ penalty kill proved true again.
Igor only had to make one save here, while Copp, Mika, Kreider and Miller all came up with huge clears and maintained the Rangers’ razor-thin lead.
Back to full strength, Raanta made another big boy save, where he prevented a freshly baked Breadman goal and with 3:44 to go.
Now down to 2:29 remaining, and after a stoppage; Brind’Amour took his time out, pulled Raanta and drew up a 6 x 5 scoring attack.
Just 22 seconds later, Kreider, from five feet away and with no one around him – missed an open net, when he hit the post.
As I said at the top of this, at this point in the game – my stomach felt like I had ingested lit firecrackers.
I had that huge sinking feeling, where I thought that I’d be talking about Kreider’s miss, that fluke goal that Igor gave up, and what could’ve been.
Thankfully – that was just a feeling – and NOT reality!
Down to 1:23 remaining, Tyler Motte flipped a puck out of his zone, the Rangers got what felt like their first fortunate bounce of this series – and the puck, as if it were in slow-motion, found the empty net.
3-1, GOOD GUYS!
But wait, K-Mart shoppers, there’s more!
As the happy porno music at M$G played, which always signifies a Rangers’ win; Max Domi attacked Ryan Lindgren. Right after this, Tony DeAngelo got into a war of words with Gerard Gallant, where “The Turk” promptly told DeAngelo to “Shut the Father Fink Up!”
And have you seen Gallant’s guns these days? Need a reminder? Here you go:
Here’s the end of the game:
— David 🔹 (@DaveyUpper) May 22, 2022
Here’s Gallant’s post-game press conference, where he gave DeAngelo a warning:
DeAngelo is messing around with the wrong guy, a Double G who is an Original G. himself!
Need I remind you about Gallant’s playing career, a ten-year tenure full of fighting majors and ten Gordie Howe Hat Tricks?
Watch Gallant’s press conference linked above with your own two eyes, but the most telling quote? This one:
“If they want to play like that, we’ve got the guys that can match that.”
That being said – unless it’s truly warranted, I don’t want to see the Rangers making DeAngelo their focus come Game Four. He’s been a non-factor in this series thus far.
The Rangers have the blueprint to beat the Canes.
Due to bad breaks and bounces (Kakko miss, ugh), this series could very easily be 3-0, and in favor of the Rangers. Instead, the Rangers are still in a hole – but they’ve been the better team for the larger part of this series.
Simply stated – to allow DeAngelo to get into their heads would be a mistake.
The Rangers have to keep on doing what they’re doing, but yeah – if DeAngelo wants to get wise next game, Gallant should be barking, “REAVES, GET THE TABLES!”
On Sunday night, following Game Three, our pals at “The Blueshirt Underground Show” returned with a new episode.
You can catch their post-game reaction here:
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:
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 $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:
Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:
NYR/CAR R2G2 5/20 Review: Déjà Poo! Faceoffs, Special Teams & Nothing From Top Six Doom Blueshirts; One Goal in Six Periods Won’t Cut It Either, Motte Best Skater, Brendan “Bobby Orr” Smith, Gallant, Keeping the Faith & More
NYR/CAR R2G1 5/18 Review: Rangers’ “Young Guns” Come To Play; “Fat Cats” MIA, Blueshirts Give Away a Gift-Wrapped Win; Raanta Wins Battle of Finns, Heartbreaking Defeat; Must Get Split, Blais, Gallant, ESPN/M$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
If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:
Up next: Game Four, Tuesday night at M$G. Puck drop is scheduled for 7PM.
As always here, thanks for reading and…
LET’S GO RANGERS!