NYR/FLA ECF Game 2 Review: A “New & Improved” “Lavy’s Lot” Knots Series Up In OT; Goodrow Sends Garden Home Happy, Lavy’s Many Gambles All Pay Off, REMPEMANIA Defies All Critics; Backs Up All Of His Supporters Too, Vesey’s Week-to-Week Injury Perhaps Delays The End of Kakko – Or The Return of Wheeler, Power-Play Woes, CZAR IGOR Master Class; Bob Ain’t Bad Either, Maloney Does It Again, Eye Test > Analytics, Hartford Taxi-Squad Called-Up & More

During Friday night’s Game 2 of the 2024 Eastern Conference Final – and a lot – and I mean A LOT – had occurred prior to Barclay Goodrow’s overtime game-winner which was scored at the 74:01 mark of the contest. And while we’ll talk about everything that took place prior to Goody saying “GOODBYE” below; at the end of the day, the only thing that will ever be remembered from this game, and as the days, months and years move on, is how the alternate captain, Mr. FTW (and F your ANALytics too), Goodrow himself, put the Panthers to bed – and to a much lesser extent – Lavy’s line-up decisions too.

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Nine down, seven to go, for your now 9-3 in the postseason 2023-24 New York Rangers.

And following the results of the Blueshirts’ 2-1 overtime victory in Game 2, “Lavy’s Lot” have now evened up their best-of-seven series with the Panthers at one win a piece, where in turn, Sunday’s matinee, Game 3, begins what essentially has now become a best-of-five set.


Some of the crew that attended my local watering hole’s Rangers’ watch party on Friday night (poor TEN O’CLOCK TOMMY had to race home after the third period, as he had to go to work at 4AM Saturday morning), where the man in the turquoise shirt, my dad, is now 12-0 at the pub whenever watching the Rangers this season. Yours truly? I improved to 12-1!

As you may have already detected, I’m writing this Game 2 review blog way after the fact – nearly 24-hours following Goodrow’s game-winner in overtime.

That admission should tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed myself on Friday night – and due to the late puck drop (8PM), overtime, and of course, some “celebration pops with Pops” too – I didn’t want to start-and-rush through a blog at around 2AM Saturday morning!

But I’m here now – and even if this tome will perhaps be dated by the time that you get to it!

However, it’s all about the sake of posterity – and where there was no way that I could just take off following all of the news from a “Frenzy Friday!”

I also give you this disclaimer because I’ll be jumping around a bit many times over in this manifesto – and since I’m writing this so late – then I’m also able to include some news ahead of Sunday’s Game 3 too.

But I will say, and as both my previous blogs written on this site and my tweets over at https://x.com/NYCTheMiC will tell you – none of my opinions entering Game 2, thoughts that will soon be shared below, are being written from a “hindsight is 20/20 perspective.”

After all, and perhaps outside of the guys from “The Blueshirt Underground Show,” and I can’t think of anyone else that’s been beating the REMPE drum as early, as often and as loudly as yours truly has – and as I’m still doing!

(Also joining in on such pro-Rempe percussion and discussion? Some of the top names in Rangers’ history, including Mark Messier, Wayne Gretzky and Henrik Lundqvist.)

Furthermore, who was the first person to declare Kaapo Kakko a “bust” – and then give him the “Feckless Finn” moniker too?

(Heck, I even wrote a whole blog comparing Kakko to former Ranger Rico Fata!)

And in another disgusting self-pat on the back (the “Barry Horowitz”) – who’s been telling you from day one on this site how the EYE TEST always trumps these ridiculous ANALytical charts – and as Goodrow, among others, proved to us once again on Friday night.

With my own victory lap now jettisoned to the side, let’s now get into everything from Friday – and what a frantic and newsworthy Friday it was.

While, people, both fans and the media alike, were promoting this “TRADE GOODROW” talk/nonsense all-season; over here and yours truly kept on debunking such junk. If I’ve said it once on this site, then I’ve said it a million times – “GOODROW’S GREATEST VALUE WILL BE SHOWN IN THE PLAYOFFS” – and as we saw yet again in Game 2. Photo Credit: Puck Empire

Following the events of Game 1 (https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/52224/ ), where the Rangers played one of their worst games of this postseason, while also receiving no “puck luck” whatsoever either, and for the first time in these playoffs – and Lavy’s Lot found themselves trailing in a series.

As noted many times over on this site during this 2023-24 campaign – everything being shared here are just opinions – as I’m not criticizing the coaching of the Hall of Fame bound Blueshirts’ bench boss, Peter Laviolette – and an x’s and o’s man who just led the team into the best regular season finish in franchise history.

This is my way of saying, a reminder if you will, that I thought that Matt Rempe should’ve started in Game 1 – and where now, and even following the result of Game 2 – I’d be lying to you if I didn’t think about what would’ve happened had that been that case – as perhaps the Rangers would be up 2-0 in the series prior to the two games to be played in Sunrise, FL.

That said, we can only talk about “Rangers Reality” – and not do the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” stuff – as such talk is moot.

(But if the Rangers don’t win this series? Then yeah, at that time, and only in such an unfortunate scenario, can we do the “what if ” line of questioning.)

With Rempe back in the line-up for what wasn’t a MUST WIN game, but as close as you could get to it – and everything previously written on this site proved true in Game 2.

Unlike a Game 1 that felt like it was played in front of mourners, the crowd in-attendance at Game 2 was as loud as a methed-up and cocaine-fueled orgy – and where yep, you know it – the surname of #73 in Rangers’ blue was belted out all night.


I’ve yet to hear “KA-KKO!”, “WENN-BERG!”, nor “CHY-TIL!” either, being chanted at Madison $quare Garden.

Not once.

In addition, I have yet to seen one member of the Rangers’ alumni, including Mark Messier, Wayne Gretzky, Henrik Lundqvist, Ron Duguay, Nicky Fotiu, Sean Avery and many others, all state that Lavy needs to play any of the European names listed above – and as they all defiantly proclaimed and declared how Rempe HAD TO play prior to the first puck drop of Game 2.

Just sayin’!

And while Rempe, and much like his size, was a big story, if not the biggest story heading into Game 2; of course, he wasn’t the whole story either.

As they’ve done many times before, including in the first Rangers’ game of these 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs (against Washington) and both Barclay Goodrow and CZAR IGOR stood tall. Photo Credit: NYR

While I wasn’t as down on the Rangers as many others were after the 3-0 Game 1 loss; at the same time, I was keenly aware of what the ramifications were too.

After all, another loss, a Game 2 defeat, would have put the Blueshirts in an 0-2 hole – and while the crowd in Sunrise should be Ranger-friendly for both Games 3 and 4 – but obviously – that’s a position that no team wants to find themselves in.

As noted in my Game 1 review – I don’t think a lack of effort was ever the Rangers’ issue in that loss, as really, I thought it was really about Florida, a strong hockey club themselves, being able to stifle the Blueshirts – while also receiving every ounce of puck luck imaginable.

That said, and from the “No Shit Sherlock” department – I thought that the Rangers looked much better in Game 2 – but there was still a lot more left to be desired – and even in spite of the final 2-1 score.

The biggest Blueshirts’ blemish from Friday night, and a sore spot that ultimately required Goodrow’s overtime heroics too, was an 0-4 power-play – as once again – and despite what the black-and-white numbers tell you (that’s why I’m here to color them up) – these man-up attempts are pretty much all or nothing.

In other words, either the Rangers rip off two or three power-play goals within a sixty-minute time-span – or they do their “O-fer” act – where in Game 2 – the abysmal power-play went 0-4.

And while I understand that the Cats aren’t shabby on the penalty kill and deserve some credit too; even so – then for the life of me – then I still can’t explain why both Alex Wennberg and Filip Chytil remain on the PP2 unit – as I’ve seen nuns do more scoring than these two.

(But at least Kaapo Kakko was removed from this unit – but more about this story once we get there!)

I think what’s hurting the Rangers’ PP1 unit the most right now (I believe they are now sixteen straight power-plays without a goal) is the fact that the quarterback of this quintet, Adam Fox, is obviously playing through some sort of a knee injury – as this injury, as first sustained following a dirty hit from Carolina’s Sebastion Aho in the regular season, was re-aggravated when Washington’s Nick Jensen hit him in the same spot during the first-round.

I’m now also wondering if Mika Zibanejad is playing through an ailment too – as following a torrid start to these playoffs – he’s somewhat cooled down – and the hit that he took from Ryan Lomberg in Game 2 didn’t help matters either.

But none of this explains the current predicament of Artemi Panarin, who doesn’t look hurt at all, and I’m just saying this to say it – as the Rangers’ MVP, whose regular season success carried over into the first-round of the playoffs – is presently tied with a fourth-liner who gets no power-play time at all, Barclay Goodrow, in goals (4).

In another example of one of my most famous expressions, “SPECIAL TEAMS SWING GAMES” – and that’s what happened in Game 2 – or at least that’s why this match went to the bonus time period.

With that said, and funny enough too – it was both Panarin (secondary) and Fox (primary) who assisted on the first goal of the game, another score from the GAG LINE 2.0, as Fox perfectly set-up Trocheck on a tee for a tap-in 1-0, GOOD GUYS, goal, and at just the 4:12 mark of the first frame.

But the Rangers would never score again until Goodrow did some seventy-minutes in game-time later – and that includes during the Blueshirts’ first power-play, which was earned immediately after Trocheck’s goal, as it was the other Matt of this series, Matt Tkachuk, and not Matt Rempe, who took a stupid roughing penalty out of frustration.

Up 1-0, and the Blueshirts failed on two power-plays prior to Florida scoring a man-up goal of their own, a dubious power-play garnered (more about this in the GAME REVIEW), and as new “Ranger Killer,” Carter Verhaeghe, scored at the 18:09 mark of these opening twenty-minutes.

And while it would take the Rangers nearly seventy-minutes to score their second goal of the game – this fugazi Florida PPG was their lone goal scored from Game 2 – and you can thank CZAR IGOR (26 saves – and a flawless 24/24 at even-strength) for that.

That said, and to reiterate, the Rangers’ special teams, one of their biggest strengths and where perhaps their penalty kill is their biggest strength, went 0-4 on the power-play and 1-2 on the PK.

While the PK can’t remain perfect forever, all the Rangers needed was just one power-play goal – but then again – this team does have a flair for the dramatics too!

Now tied at 1-1 – the rest of regulation was heart-attack hockey – and with many “oh shit” moments sandwiched in-between too.

There was also an injury sustained as well – and where it’s not looking very good for Jimmy Vesey right now (more below – but for now – I’m being told that #26 was spotted wearing a sling as he exited M$G after the game).

As triple-zeroes flashed at the end of the third period – overtime was needed – and where for the Rangers – a win was much needed too.

After an initial flurry in extra time, and a great chance squandered by Chytil too – and as we neared five-minutes remaining – then you thought that a fifth period would be needed.

Not so fast.

Laviolette, who put himself into a “hero or zero” situation, where had the Rangers lost, then he would’ve took the brunt of it, but now, with the win, he comes out looking like a genius; decided to exclusively use Goodrow for every defensive zone draw.

While Trocheck was the team’s best center at the dots in the regular season, he was “only” .500 in Game 2 (7 of 14).


The two-time Stanley Cup champ was 9-3 when he lined up for another d-zone faceoff at about the 13:50 mark of overtime.

About eleven-seconds later, and following his tenth (and ultimately final) faceoff victory – and there was Goodrow, following passes from both Trouba (secondary) and Trocheck (primary) for an absolute snipe of a rip-job past the 2024 Vezina Trophy Finalist, the Panthers’ Sergei Bobrovsky.

Talk about being rewarded!

And talk about another reason why ANALytics, usually pushed by millennials and losers looking to cling onto a job in hockey like Sieve Vagistat, are completely worthless!

No chart can measure heart, passion, the drive to win, the human element, “puck luck,” etc.

And no graph can accurately assess nor capture a player like Goodrow (and Rempe too) – which is why such folk are always so quick to put them down – and where even worse than that – these same schmucks were pushing their same retarded rhetoric even AFTER the win.


Also sad these days?

Kaapo Kakko, which brings us to a very newsworthy pregame news & notes segment.

As many other top-name coaches do, and no matter what the sport – and Laviolette pretty much took all of the negativity from Game 1 off of his team and put it upon his own shoulders. Rather than having both media and fans question players, instead, Lavy’s line-up decisions became the main story while entering the second match of this ECF series. And yep – such plans proved fruitful!

Following the Game 1 loss from Wednesday night, and come Thursday – the team had the day off.

I should also add here, and with the Rangers idle as I write the words on Saturday, that the team was off today too – and where I expect that this will remain the case throughout this alternating-day series – as rest is most certainly required following these grueling battles of life-or-death playoff hockey.

As you’d expect, and I’m not exempt from this either – and every resident of Rangerstown, USA had their opinions on what the Rangers should do for Game 2 – and here were mine that I first shared on Thursday:

Granted, while I knew that my PROPOZED LINEZ would never see the light of day, as many drastic changes were most likely not to take place; but if I was adamant about anything – then it was the inclusion of Rempe in Game 2 – and as it eventually came to be – and where also – he MUST play in Game 3 too!

As noted in my tweet above, I was championing scratches of Kakko, Chytil and Wennberg.

And while I know that such remarks suggests an “ANTI-EURO” bias, and as many proclaimed too – it’s really not that.

I just feel that the North Americans, including Rempe (Canadian), Wheeler (American) and Brodzinski (American), have more to offer than these three – “A Finn, a Czech and a Swede” – and what a title for a new series on Netflix too!

Plus, and what was omitted in these false allegations bestowed upon me, was the fact that I was suggesting that Adam Edstrom, a Swede, make his 2024 postseason debut.

Ditto a healthy scratch of Jack Roslovic, a fellow red-white-and-bluer of mine!

Ah, but why let the truth get in the way of a good story – am I right?

That all said, and when talking about Kakko, Chytil and Wennberg – then of this terrible trio – then I thought that Kakko would be the least likeliest player to be scratched.

And while I welcomed it – I was absolutely shocked when Laviolette made Kakko his Game 1 scapegoat – and as a result – sent him straight to the press box for Game 2.

Many fans, and if not all media members too, bawled their eyes out when Gerard Gallant, “THE TURK,” made Kakko a healthy scratch (in favor of Dryden Hunt) during Game 6 of the 2022 Eastern Conference Final. Furthermore, and really, outside of yours truly and a handful of others – then every fan and media member wanted Gallant to get the boot after the 2023 playoff loss to the Devils – and where following it, then, and only then, did these people say that Gallant never made adjustments. Funny how things play out, no? Photo Credit: NYR

Kakko, “The Feckless Finn,” and a player that I believe is more ME-FIRST than TEAM-FIRST too (as previously and meticulously explained before on this site – whenever Kakko does interviews, then he’s always talking about himself, saying how he needs more playing time, demanding PP1 chances, etc – and while never earning such things – and despite receiving plenty of opportunities to boot), can’t be feeling too good right now.

And while perhaps Vesey’s injury sustained on Friday night may re-open the door for another potential and recurring Kakko redemption story of many (and which then goes nowhere) – but at this juncture – I could also see Blake Wheeler, a savvy veteran, getting the call in Game 3 in the event that Vesey can’t go. (CHECK UPDATE BELOW.)

Of course, Kakko’s scratch from Friday night could be used as motivation – but as alluded to – we’ve been down this path many times before – and with no results at the end of the road either.

In what’s a first in Rangers’ history, and the Feckless Finn has become the first regular roster player to be scratched solely due to lack of performance issues by two different head coaches in two different Eastern Conference Finals.

In other words, if you were one of these mopes crying about Gerard Gallant’s decision to scratch Kakko two-years ago, then are you flip-flopping today when “The Turk’s” successor, Peter Laviolette, did the same?

While time will determine this future, and perhaps as soon as Saturday’s Game 3, where this will all go – but Kakko, a restricted free agent this summer, is most likely out the door.

And if Kakko doesn’t fill-in for the injured Vesey in Game 3 – then I think that door will be slammed behind him too.

Furthermore, while Rangers’ GM Chris Drury just said earlier this week that Lavy has the final call on all line-up decisions – at the same time – then I’m sure that Lavy had to run this idea by his boss first before employing it.

I know that all of the REMPEMANIA love can get redundant, but think about this – and then we’ll move on:

Rempe has shown us that he’s coachable and does listen to what Laviolette tells him – and I don’t need to list every example of this being the case for you – as by now – you should know it.


Whether he’s stubborn, can’t do what’s required or if he just flat-out refuses – but whatever the case – he just doesn’t perform nor live up to the asks of his head coaches.

And yeah, and for the 98679867896798679869th time on this site this season – and then I promise for real that we’ll move on from this discourse too:

Whenever you watch Kakko and Cuylle play in the same game, and now, often on the same line as well, then if you didn’t any better – then you’d think that it was Cuylle that was formerly a second-overall pick – and how Kakko was formerly a second-round pick.

Spoiler, but let’s face it, this isn’t a spoiler: I’d play Wheeler in Game 3 if Vesey can’t go. It’s just my thinking that Wheeler, the long-time veteran without a Stanley Cup on his resume, will come out chomping at the bit and go balls-to-the-wall should he make his Rangers’ playoff debut. Photo Credit: ESPN

Following a news-less Thursday, and come Friday morning, the Rangers held a pregame skate.

The biggest news from the skate, and as lightly brushed upon above, was the fact that Laviolette wouldn’t reveal his lines.

While it was suggested that Chytil was going to play with the BFF, Kakko scratched, Rempe returned and Roslovic to the third line; at the same time, Laviolette ran out a myriad of lines, as a way not to show his hand.

Here were Laviolette’s final remarks prior to Game 2:

Laviolette, while willing to have patience with Chytil when he said, “We’ve had a player who’s missed a substantial amount of time. He has come back and worked hard to try to get back up to speed. With that, there’s got to be some reps and there’s got to be some opportunity;” the head coach didn’t feel the same about Kakko – but when speaking about the Feckless Finn – he was also quick not to solely throw #24 under the bus – even if that’s what ultimately happened – as he also made mention of the lack of offensive productivity from Wennberg too:

“I’d like to see Kaapo generate more production, but I’d also like to see Wennberg generate more production. I don’t know if you isolate one, but I think as a line you look for them to generate more.”

If anything amused me from these quotes, then it was how every member of the birdbrain beat tried to defend Kakko for having “AMAZING ANALYTICAL NUMBERS.”

Sadly, these braying jackasses will never learn.

EYE TEST (and heart) > ANALytics!

The one media member that doesn’t deserve any scorn, and really, the only one who asks questions that you’d like the answers to as well, is Jonny Lazarus – and as he once again did here:

As you can see here, Lazarus asked Laviolette about Messier, Gretzky and Lundqvist – and how all three of these Hall of Famers said how Rempe had to play in Game 2.

And Lavy, and as you’d expect, while speaking highly of these three, also said that he doesn’t let anyone impact his line-up decisions – as it’s he, and only him, that makes these calls for these 2023-24 Blueshirts.

And to just temporarily fast-forward ahead?

Here’s what Rempe, who led the game in hits (9 hits in a playoff career high 10:03 – and where not only did he play in both the third period and in overtime – but for good measure – went 1-0 at the dots too), said about all of the support – from not only the Rangers’ alumni – but from Blueshirt backers too:

Lavy’s Kakko kick in the pants – and Rempe’s inclusion too – worked for the Rangers – and we’ll see where this all goes as this series progresses.

Here was Laviolette’s line-up for the twelfth playoff game of the postseason – and the 94th-overall game of 2023-24:

FIRST LINE: Panarin/Trocheck/Lafreniere

SECOND LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Chytil

THIRD LINE: Cuylle/Wennberg/Roslovic

FOURTH LINE: Vesey/Goodrow/Rempe

FIRST PAIR: Lindgren/Fox

SECOND PAIR: Miller/Trouba

THIRD PAIR: Gustafsson/Schneider


BACK-UP: Quick

“Black Aces” and Scratches: Domingue, Edstrom, Jones, Kakko, Ruhwedel and Wheeler


The following graphics and information come from ESPN.com:





30 2 28 .933 21 6 1 0 0 74:01 0


27 1 26 .963 24 1 1 0 0 73:48 0


The two heroes from Game 2, Goodrow and CZAR IGOR. Photo Credit: NYR

Prior to our usual GAME REVIEW segment, two things:

One, and as I’ve said for now the 94th time this season – at the end of the day, the biggest keys to Rangers’ success are their big-buck players, the special teams, and of course, the goaltender too.

Everything else, while both necessary and important, is secondary – and that includes both of the team’s bottom-sixers too – Rempe and Kakko.

But as you all know by now – Rempe is just a freakin’ unicorn – as there’s really no other player in hockey history to compare him to.

Again, no one maximizes their minutes in the fashion that Rempe does – nor gets a crowd (and his team too) jacked-up in the way that he does either.

Furthermore, he’s arguably the most polarizing player in the the league today, as for EYE TEST and OLD SCHOOL fans like myself – you love him – and demand that he plays. For young and analytical fans – they want no part of him – as their bullshit charts can’t assess him.

Two, since I’m posting this blog way after the fact, and where furthermore, I didn’t take a copious amount of notes as I decided to consume copious amounts of alcohol at my bar’s viewing party instead – I’ll just stick to the highlights below.

And really, and as I’ve been doing throughout these playoffs – it’s really about watching these games with my family and friends and enjoying these moments with them – rather than turning this hobby into a profession – and much less act in a professional manner either!

This is also my way of saying that it’s about the feelings that these games give you, roller-coaster rides that will make you sick to your stomach throughout – but by the end of it – the ride was worth it – and as it was after Goodrow lit the best red lamp of the season – and a lamp that will only be surpassed by whatever future game winning goals lie ahead!

While the individual plays themselves are 1000% of the story – it’s how the team plays as a group, their make-up, that’s the best story of all.

Enough jibber-jabber!


Perhaps lost in all of the hysteria of REMPEMANIA, GOODY GOT IT and CZAR IGOR? How Vincent Trocheck, a multiple-time hero already in these playoffs, was part of both Ranger goals scored in Game 2. Needless to say, and the center of the GAG LINE 2.0 has been an absolute revelation this season. Photo Credit: NHL


As noted, Rempe’s appearance in Lavy’s Line-Up was the biggest thread throughout ESPN’s broadcast – as he was all that they could talk about.

But can you blame the self-proclaimed “world-wide leader?”

After all, there’s not a player in this league, and that includes the likes of Connor McDavid, Matt Tkachuk, Auston Matthews, etc, that draws television ratings and social media views in the way that the Rangers’ fourth liner does.

And that my friends – is FACT – and not fiction.

Another fact?

Once through chanting “IGOR! IGOR! IGOR!” prior to the National Anthem and M$G was chanting “REMPE! REMPE! REMPE! at puck drop – and as they’d continue to chant both of these names for the next 74-minutes.

The Blueshirts, with a much more jazzed crowd than what they had played in front of some 48-hours prior (but to be fair – the Rangers didn’t give Wednesday’s crowd much to cheer about – and like it or not – while Rempe shouldn’t be a reason why the crowd gets loud – it’s the way things are today), got off to a strong start.

However, and after what’s now a miscue of rarity from K’Andre Miller these days, Ryan Lomberg hit the jets and raced towards CZAR IGOR – but once there – the Russian netminder said “NYET NYET” to what otherwise would’ve been an early breakaway goal afforded.


Such a jaw-dropping save then allowed CZAR IGOR’s skaters to take the lead – and as Trocheck did at the 4:12 mark:

This score, which was set up by a Lafreniere hit (even when he doesn’t score – then he’s still physical as all hell), led to the biggest scrum of the game – and for whatever reason – Tkachuk lost his cool too.

And true to form – Lafreniere was also in the mix – as while Tkachuk was attacking Trocheck – Laf took umbrage with Verhaeghe.

The end result?

A Rangers’ power-play – a gift-wrapped chance to take a quick 2-0 lead.

But alas, you already know that’s not what transpired.

Following the power-play failure and with the “REMPE” chants growing so loud that even Martians looked outside their red planet windows to see what was going on – and Dmitry Kulikov absolutely abused Wennberg at the 9:56 mark:

What was originally deemed as a five-minute major was reviewed – and then determined as a two-minute minor.

I was conflicted about this call – and still am.

On one hand, it looked like Kulikov got Wennberg in the head with his shoulder – and perhaps should’ve ended the defenseman’s night with a game misconduct attached afterwards.

On the other hand, we’ve seen Trouba involved in similar hits – where following them – most have been assessed as hard, yet clean.

That said, this wasn’t a TROO TROO TRAIN hit either – as Trouba hits guys with the puck.

This Kulikov hit was dirty – and an interference infraction too.

I wonder had Wennberg laid there and then sold this as Barkov later on went to do, then if the officials would’ve allowed this reviewable penalty to hold up as a five-minute major – if not the misconduct too.


Had it been Rempe that hit a Panther in the way that Kulikov flattened Wennberg here – then I think we know that Rempe’s night would have come to an end – as “REMPUTATION” calls have been a problem in these playoffs.

But the end result?

An 0-2 Rangers’ power-play.

And right after the 0-2 showing?

Lomberg, perhaps Florida’s answer to Rempe’s physicality, just completely crushed Zibanejad – and where this play, and unlike Kulikov’s, was pristine clean.

And maybe this is hindsight speaking – but I think this hit threw Zibanejad off of his game too – as he wasn’t in a state of peak performance once eating this brutal body-blow.

After a great shift from the fourth line where all of the hits led to a continuous forecheck – and the Rangers were out-shooting the Panthers at the time, 8-1.

The Panthers would close the period with the final six shots on goal of the frame, now a 8-7 disparity – and with a goal added to their ledger too, following Veraeghe’s power-play goal that was gifted to him by some shaky officiating.

Prior to C.V. tying the game with 1:51 remaining, and just a minute earlier, Goodrow was boxed for interfering with Barkov – and where this wasn’t interference – and where Barkov dived/embellished this call too.

And I was surprised that embellishment wasn’t called here – as we’ve seen this type of penalty called throughout these 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But at the same time – you can’t bitch about the officiating either.

After all, and as previously noted, the Rangers had two power-plays before the Panthers had their first, and where in addition, the Blueshirts had four power-plays while their opponents only had two.

1-1 after twenty-minutes.

Here’s what I said at the time:

While I know what ESPN’s Emily Kaplan sees in Filip Chytil (relax – this is an on-going gag on this site – and one that she knows about too) – I still don’t know why Laviolette feels any type of loyalty to a player that’s not 100% – and who seems very precautionary and timid too. Photo Credit: ESPN


As it was in Game 1 and the Rangers had another lengthy SOG drought in Game 2.

While not as long as the SOG drought from 48-hours prior, the SOG total, previously 8-1 Rangers, soon grew to 14-8, Florida.

And while the SOG statistic doesn’t tell you everything – it did tell you here how the Panthers were gaining some momentum – but thankfully – CZAR IGOR’s momentum grew too.

While rookie Will Cuylle still serves his purpose, and is easily the best player on the new third line – and better than Chytil too – once again – this third line trio was inept when it comes to scoring.

And with Wennberg, Chytil and Roslovic all failing on their chances – it was also around this time of the game where the fourth line started receiving more shifts than the third line – and where as previously noted – Rempe, and as it’s been the case in the past – was never stapled to the bench in this one.

The Rangers are nearly one-hundred-years old and I can’t think of any other player that compares to Rempe.

While Rempe was hitting Cats left-and-right – so was Lomberg – who finished with four hits to Rempe’s nine – but where Lomberg’s hits did more damage.

After previously cleaning Mika’s clock, come eight-minutes-and-change remaining in this period – and Lomberg ended Vesey’s night:

Again, and having seen this from both Trouba and Rempe before – and I thought that this hit was both clean and legal – while also being an unfortunate situation for the reliable and versatile Pride of the Crimson Tide, Vesey himself.

All that Lavy would say following the game was that Vesey would be evaluated, but as noted earlier, I had two fans who hung around M$G after the game who told me that they saw #26 wearing sling.

As you may know by now – I’m not a doctor – but this doesn’t look good – and we’ll see who goes in Game 3.


Laviolette also said that Vesey is traveling with the team. But as Lavy has decreed since the first game of the playoffs – no line-up decisions will be announced until puck drop.

This has been the case throughout this Vesey 2.0 return stint – and my best of luck to him – and hopefully he can return for the Stanley Cup Final – should the Rangers reach it.

As far as anything else from these meddling twenty-minutes, a period where we also had about ten-minutes of whistle-free hockey too; both Chytil and Stenlund took off-setting penalties, and while on the foreplay, and at the 12:50 mark, Ekblad high-sticked Kreider.

The Rangers, and as you know, didn’t score on the 4 x 3 power-play, nor on the 5 x 4 power-play either.

After my head almost blew off when trying to figure out why Wennberg and Chytil are on PP2; Barkov, now with the game returned to even-strength – rang a puck off of the post.

WHEW – but it was this puck bounce that the Rangers didn’t get in Game 1 that they got here.

To close the frame, and with just 44-seconds remaining; Fox, who was beat by Evan Rodrigues, hooked the former Penguin in order to prevent a breakaway.

The Rangers would ultimately kill off this in-between intermission Florida power-play.

1-1 after forty-minutes.

Here’s what I said at the time:

I’m not knocking Panarin or Mika – but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t concerned about them not taking over any one of these first two ECF games played.


In a game where a loss would’ve put the Rangers in a perilous situation – and your heart was racing – while your underwear turned brown too.

The Rangers killed off Fox’s penalty when at the 29-second mark of this third frame, Trouba drew Verhaeghe for high-sticking.

And yep – the power-play soon finished as 0-4.

Once back to 5 x 5, and CZAR IGOR arguably made his best save yet, when he denied Lundell of scoring a potential 2-1, bad guys, go-ahead, goal.

As the period continued, and with both teams somewhat adopting a conservative approach, and this is when you noticed Rempe getting regular shifts – a season-high five third period shifts in all.

For once, Laviolette, and in the highest stake game of the season no less, actually trusted his youngest player.

So did the Garden Faithful – who never stopped screaming Rempe’s name.

And all of it paid off – as Rempe was never a detriment – and he was much more effective and noticeable than Chytil, Wennberg and Roslovic were too.

Rempe would later receive the first overtime shift of his career too.

In a third period where the Rangers finished with eight SOG to Florida’s five SOG, we remained tied at one goal for either side.

Here’s what I said at the time:

It wasn’t Dr. Panarin or Dr. Mika who answered their pagers in Game 2. Instead, it was the good doctor himself, Dr. Goodrow! Photo Credit: NYR


This overtime boiled down to two plays – that is – sans the five overtime saves recorded by CZAR IGOR.

The first one was Chytil’s miss – and where can you imagine the tone of this blog, and all of Rangerstown, USA too, had the impossible happened – a goal for the Concussed Czech?

Take a look:

But since Chytil can’t score a goal to save his life – it was now Goodrow’s time to become a hero – again.

Here’s my favorite radio announcer today, Dave Maloney, going absolutely bonkers when calling Goodrow’s game-winner:

Here’s the ESPN version of the call – and really – a good one too:


2-1, GOOD GUYS, your final!

1-1, your 2024 ECF series.

Here’s a happy, and most certainly relieved, Laviolette after the big win – and where he went out of his way to praise everything and anything imaginable:

Suffice to say – this wasn’t only a win for the Rangers – but for the EYE TEST and grit-and-guts crew too!

CZAR IGOR agreed as well, as when the media suggested to him that Goodrow wasn’t good this season (this shows you how mentally hockey retarded they are), #31, on #21, said, “Maybe for you [MORONS] he’s up-and-down, but for me, he’s always on top!”

I wonder if the word “top” also explains the Walker and Brooks relationship?


Another fun post-game reaction?

One last Rempe clip – I promise:

No joke?

I think the last time I heard someone use the expression/phrase “Jiminy Crickets” was when Frank Rizzo, as portrayed by Jonny Brennan, forced one of his “Jerky Boys” victims into saying it – after telling a story about throwing his wife off of his roof!

And if you know, then you know – as this is a Rangers’ blog – and not a history of the amazing “Jerky Boys!”

One last piece of news before going home.

The Calder Cup playoff run of the Hartford Wolfpack has met its end, and as a result, the Rangers announced a bevy of call-ups on Saturday afternoon. Photo Credit: HWP

On Saturday, 12:30PM, and with the team now in Florida; the Rangers announced that the following players from Hartford were recalled to New York:

Alex Belzile, Brett Berard, Anton Blidh, Ben Harpur, Dylan Garand, Jake Leschyshyn, Connor Mackey, Victor Mancini ,Brennan Othmann, Tyler Pitlick, Matthew Robertson, Brandon Scanlin  and Adam Sykora.

From what I understand, while these players will be traveling with the team and joining a healthy press box as is – they also won’t be practicing with the main roster and black aces.

The Rangers, who still have plenty of options even in light of the Vesey injury, will only look at this taxi-squad in the event that a bunch of injuries pile-up – and let’s not even explore that route.

We’re now seven wins away from this becoming a reality!

Up next: Game 3, 3PM, this Sunday (5/26).

And yep – I’m dragging my 12-0 dad back to the bar for this one!

One last time – sorry for the delay today – but I hope it was worth it.

At least it was for me.

And as it’s now detox time for me as I prepare for tomorrow, for you, it’s…

PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my Rangers’ induced therapy bills. After all, I don’t run ads on this site!)

My fourth title and tenth book is now available!

“The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History,” is now available for sale!

For complete information, please visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/rangerkillers/

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

My second 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:

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

My four-volume set of books, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is a game-by-game recount of the Rangers 2021-22 campaign.

My second title as an author, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is now available in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats.

To obtain signed copies, visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/onegamebook/

To purchase all four volumes on Amazon, visit: Amazon.com – “One Game at a Time.”

The greatest volume-set of books on Rangers’ history today!

“Tricks of the Trade – A Century-Long Journey Through Every Trade Made In New York Rangers’ History,” a four-volume set of books that meticulously covers every trade made in franchise history, is now on sale.

All four volumes of the title can be purchased on Amazon.com and are presented in three different formats – eBook, paperback and hardcover.

To purchase Volume I: Conn Smythe (1926) – Craig Patrick (1986), visit Amazon.com

To purchase Volume II: Phil Esposito (1986) – Neil Smith (2000), visit Amazon.com

To purchase Volume III: Glen Sather (2000-2015), visit Amazon.com

To purchase Volume IV: Jeff Gorton (2015) – Chris Drury (2022), visit Amazon.com

To purchase signed copies of all four volumes, visit https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/

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

Now on sale!

Don’t forget to order my four-volume set of books, “Tricks of the Trade!”

If you don’t order through me, all four volumes are now available on Amazon.com

For more details, check out: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/

Thanks for reading.


Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine

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2 thoughts on “NYR/FLA ECF Game 2 Review: A “New & Improved” “Lavy’s Lot” Knots Series Up In OT; Goodrow Sends Garden Home Happy, Lavy’s Many Gambles All Pay Off, REMPEMANIA Defies All Critics; Backs Up All Of His Supporters Too, Vesey’s Week-to-Week Injury Perhaps Delays The End of Kakko – Or The Return of Wheeler, Power-Play Woes, CZAR IGOR Master Class; Bob Ain’t Bad Either, Maloney Does It Again, Eye Test > Analytics, Hartford Taxi-Squad Called-Up & More

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