NYR/SJS Quick Thoughts: Benoit Allaire Shines, Nash Can’t Buy a Goal, Back-Ups Continue To Outplay Lundqvist, Rangers Get Back on Track & More

In Raanta We Trust?

Welcome everyone to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. I know I said in yesterday’s NYR vs NJD blog (Check the archives on the right hand of the site if you didn’t read it yet) that I probably wouldn’t be around until after Thursday. However, after tonight’s 4-0 win over the San Jose Sharks, I decided to whip this out, while watching the Giants frustrate the shit out of me!

Time is of the issue here, since I need to be at work tomorrow at 5AM, so here are my quick thoughts and take on this impressive victory!

It was so nice to finally see the Rangers have a Stanley Cup Winner in net for once. Antti Raanta, posted a shut-out in his first ever start as a New York Ranger. How funny is it that in the last twelve months, the back-up goalies of the New York Rangers, Cam Talbot, MacKenzie Skapski and now Antti Raanta have averaged more shut-outs, more wins and a better GAA than perennial starter Henrik Lundqvist?

Sure, when you’re a back-up, you have more time to prepare for a game. You usually know who you’re playing against. You have more time to watch footage, read scouting reports and usually are 100% fresh. Still, if anything, this last year has proved my point – Henrik Lundqvist is grossly overpaid.

Is Lundqvist horrible? Of course not. At the same time, he’s not worth 12% of team payroll until he’s 40 year old either. Quite frankly,

Benoit Allaire
You might not be familiar with this face, but he’s a huge asset to the New York Rangers

Benoit Allaire has been with Lundqvist for his entire career. It’s no coincidence that Lundqvist has been a Top 5 goalie in those ten years. Before coming to the Rangers, Stanley Cup winning goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin also posted significantly improved statistics under the tutelage of Allaire. Prior to Allaire joining Phoenix, Khabibulin posted a 3.03 goals against average and a .906 save percentage with nine shutouts (1994-95 – 1996- 97). In his two seasons with Allaire (1997-98, 1998-99), Khabibulin participated in the NHL All-Star Game in both campaigns, and shaved more than half a goal off his goals against average.

Lundqvist has never been without Allaire, but Allaire has had success without Lundqvist. Just look what Allaire has done in the past year alone. Cam Talbot is now a starting goalie, after raising debate if he was even better than Lundqvist. 21 year old baby faced MacKenzie Skapski gave up one goal in two games last season. Now Raanta, tonight, shuts out a perennial playoff contender in the San Jose Sharks, in a game where the Rangers were reeling going into it.

Not only are back-ups getting shutouts under Allaire, they’ve also been stoppers and killing losing streaks.

Listen, we all know I’m the Cam Talbot guy. As I said last season, I never thought Hank sucked or anything (except in the beginning of the season, where Hank flat out did suck), but bottom line Hank is grossly overpaid. Give Allaire a kid looking to learn, and Allaire will give you a starting goalie in this league. Lundqvist’s career will eventually end, but if the Rangers keep Allaire, the Rangers will always be fine at the netminder position.

Lundqvist has played amazing all season, having the best start he’s ever had. However, he’s been outplayed, twice during the Rangers first six games, losing to Hutchinson (Jets) and Price (Montreal). In those two games, those two goalies were just a shade better. Tonight, Raanta did what you would like to see Lundqvist do, and get that big shutout.

I shouldn’t pour it on too thick here, although it’s great to be right, but Lundqvist hasn’t seen an effort, offensively, from the team since the Blue Jackets left town. Raanta, who did finish up with 22 saves in his shutout, wasn’t as tested as Lundqvist was as of late. Still, Raanta made 6-7 impressive saves and by practicing under Allaire, Raanta was positioned perfectly during the Sharks 5 vs 3 PP.

I always liked Cam Talbot since he got into the Rangers organization. I’m not going to be screaming non-stop “IN RAANTA WE TRUST!”, but if I do, it’s because I like to bust balls. Just know though, that the reason the Rangers have always been solid in the net is because of Benoit Allaire. If the Rangers ever lost him, they would be losing a major piece of their success.

Rick Nash couldn’t get laid in a whorehouse with a fist full of $100 bills

In a game where the Rangers had to step up, Rick Nash was all over the ice. He made great hits, moved the puck well and was always in position to score. The only problem is, he didn’t score. Nash airmailed a wide open shot on a breakaway. He hit a post. He was stoned by Sharks goalie Martin Jones. Whenever Nash tried to bury the puck, he would be denied time and time again.

The optimist in you wants to say that Nash is due to put it altogether. This was his best game yet. He had four quality shots, but just can’t find the back of the net. Still, if I’m going to dump on Hank, who actually does perform at a high level 99% of the time, you can’t ignore the second highest paid guy on the team. I talked about it in the last blog, so I won’t get redundant here, but Nash needs to start scoring. He’s not being paid to come up close. Fucking Anthony Duclair is blowing away Nash in the stat department this year, and Duke isn’t even making 7 figures.

I’ll spare you the corny “Antti Up” joke and instead show you Raanta’s mask. Looks like the Rangers always shine in this department too!

Three quick reasons why the Rangers dominated this game tonight. Raanta, as your goaltender, was perfect. Offense & special teams had their best complete 60 minute game yet. Coach AV had the team motivated. When all that is going on at the same time, the Rangers are unbeatable. It shows you the durability and mental toughness of this team, that they can erase the disgusting shit-show game against the Devils yesterday, and put on an excellent effort here.


Marc Staal got the first goal, a rarity, burying the puck from deep high and on the short side. 1-0 NYR at the near halfway mark of the first period. Marc Staal has more goals than Nash this season.

Nearly 20 minutes later into the game, Mats Zuccarello, in another rarity, scored a power play goal. 2-0 NYR at the halfway mark of the game.  Rick Nash looked for the cheap deflection, but this was all Zucc’s, firing away from near the circle. Nash assisted on the goal and also screened Jones. Zucc has more goals than Nash this season.

Jesper Fast scored nearly four minutes into the third period on a busted breakaway. It looked like the puck got tangled up with the defender, as the puck slid by Jones. 3-0 Rangers. 50% off Papajohns for everyone. If you eat that shit, you have no respect for your asshole. Fast has more goals than Nash this season.

Viktor Stalberg scored with 3 minutes left into the game, on what looked like a soft goal to me. 4-0 Stalberg. Stalberg has more goals than Nash this season.

Your three stars of the game, was at number one, the no-brainer, Raanta. Zuccarello & Staal finished second and third respectively.

For those keeping track, your healthy scratches were McIlrath, Etem & Glass. I’m fine with that, but it’s getting to the point where McIlrath needs to play for Boyle more. Boyle was taking dumb penalties and caught flat-footed at times. I will never understand why the Rangers went with Boyle over Stralman.

Overall, this was a complete team win and a game the Rangers really needed.  It was great to see the team perform like this. As I said in yesterday’s blog, you can’t over react to bad losses. This team is built for the playoffs and to go bat shit about a game in October is nuts. Still, it is great to walk around happy after a game like this.

I’m still pissed about this trade

If you’ve been following me on the twitter @NYCTHEMIC or been reading these blogs, you know I’m a big Anthony Duclair fan. I think he could’ve been huge for the Rangers. The Rangers mortgaged their future by dealing Duclair & a number 1 pick for a defenseman who will be gone after this season. The Rangers did not win the Cup last year, so the trade didn’t pay off. I would rather see Duclair on the ice than Glass, Etem, Stoll, or Stalberg.

The Rangers will see Duclair and the new look Coyotes, led by young stud Max Domi at the Garden on Thursday. I will be in the building, so I’ll try to get a new blog up on the LIRR train home!

Until then, enjoy this win Ranger fans!

Sorry for the short blog, but the Giants are about to start back up and I got a 4:12am train!




Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on the twitter gimmick machine

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