|Just one of those games|
Welcome everyone to another blog here on DOINOW.com. As always, archives on the right hand of the site, I’m not going to re-hash previous points I’ve made, tip your bartenders, spay or neuter your pets and don’t text and drive.
Let me state off the bat, I’m doing this blog without seeing any post-game interviews or coverage. I just can’t stomach it after a game like this.
What a fucking heartbreaker. What else is there to say, after the Rangers lost a 1-0 game to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. If you follow me on the twitter or on the facebook, I said after the second period, this game would be a heartbreaker or exhilarating and unfortunately, the latter didn’t happen.
The Rangers were slumping into the All-Star break. After sweeping their California trip, the Rangers returned to the east coast, losing two games to the Islanders and Bruins with 3-0 scores. Once, the third highest scoring team in the league, the Rangers looked desperate to find goal scoring. Luckily, the Rangers went to Pittsburgh, whom they’ve owned in recent times. The Rangers rebounded, knocking an injured Penguins team down 5-2. In the last game before the break, the Rangers eked out an OT win against Ottawa, 3-2.
After the week-long All-Star break, the Rangers returned and were embarrassed by the Islanders 4-1. The game would’ve been a shut-out, if it wasn’t for a Hagelin goal, with 8 seconds left in the game. Tonight, the Rangers were shut-out again. The Rangers are now slumping like a hitter in baseball, as they’ve hit a cold snap.
Before getting into the meat and potatoes, let’s talk the positives. Until Max Pacioretty’s goal, with 4 minutes to go in the third period, I really enjoyed this game. I’m sure if you’re a Montreal or just a hockey fan, you still enjoyed this game anyway. There were things I really liked and things I really hated in this game. It felt that when I was really feeling positive, something would happen to make me feel negative right in way. Case in point, the end of the first period.
|A player every Ranger fan loves, but everyone else hates|
The Rangers have played better first periods this season. They had several 3 goal first periods during this season. At one point, you had to wonder if Papajohns was losing money with all the three goal games the Rangers were putting up early on. However, this was my favorite first period of the season. For the first time, since the Penguins game, that the Rangers lost in that bullshit shootout (when the teams were brought back on the ice after Boyle’s goal) I felt I was watching a playoff game.
I went to the Montreal/Rangers game on October 25th in Montreal. Walking into the building with my Jeff Beukeboom jersey, I felt like a bad guy/heel in wrestling, in the 1980’s, taking on Hulk Hogan. The Montreal Canadien fans hated me and hated the blueshirts. After all, the Rangers took them out of the playoffs and got a Stanley Cup trip out of it. However, they were more mad that the series wasn’t clean, due to Kreider’s hit on Carey Price in Game 1, taking Montreal’s All-Star goaltender out of the series. Lots of what-ifs for Montreal Canadien fans.
Let me say though, if you’re a hockey fan, going to the Bell Centre is a bucket list thing you got to do. From the Montreal Canadiens museum, to the venue, to just exploring a beautiful city like Montreal, you have to do it at least once. I’m glad I was able to experience it, even if the Rangers lost 3-1 during my trip there. As was evident during that game, Price was better than the highest paid goalie in the league, Henrik Lundqvist.
The Rangers played Montreal, at home, in November, winning 5-0 against Dustin Tokarski, Montreal’s back-up goalie. With the series at 1-1, and the Rangers desperately needing points in the standings, this wasn’t a must-win game, but it was a game the Rangers needed to keep pace.
|I look pregnant in this picture, but in reality, I was smuggling an American Miller Lite Keg into the Bell Centre!|
The first period of tonight’s game gave off a playoff atmosphere. Both goalies were outstanding. The intensity was through the roof. There were fights all over the place. Kreider wanted to punch Subban as much as I do. Let me state here though, Subban, like Simmonds on the Flyers or Ovi on the Caps, is a player you respect, but love to hate. He’s not like Crosby, who is a punk ass pussy bitch. (So much for writing a PG column that will be covered by a mainstream source!) Subban, like Kreider, is someone you hate, unless he’s wearing your sweater.
Both teams brought it. The energy was contagious. It was fucking Sparta on the ice. What killed this game for me a bit, was the referees telling both teams, before the intermission, was to tone it down or else. With the threat of ejections and perhaps suspensions, both teams toned it down after that ferocious first period. In games like these, LET THEM GO. This is what the fans and most importantly, CUSTOMERS, want. I know the NHL wants to get away from the fighting, but I’m more invested as a fan when the players want it as much as I do. Us diehard sport fans, live vicariously through our teams. Why take that away?
The second period, while not as intense as the first, was another great period of hockey. Both goalies were lights out and on a Vezina level. By the time the horn went off for the second intermission, you knew this would either be a 1-0 or overtime game. The goalies were too good to allow anything else.
Price & Lundqvist added to their career highlight reels during this game. Lundqvist made amazing, show-stopping saves, and Lundqvist stopping Weise in the first period was as breathtaking as an original Picasso. I should mention, if the original call on the ice was a goal, I could see it standing. Gotta love the “inconclusive” ruling.
However, Hank’s counterpart, Carey Price was no slouch. Price made stop after stop. Even when the Rangers had chances, and boy was Marty St. Louis close to scoring two goals tonight, Price was there or got help from some post. It was one of those nights, where both goalies were determined to stand on their head and steal one here, like a Katrina looter.
|Price steals a “W” over NYR|
With ten minutes left in the third period, in a scoreless game, both goalies matched each other spectacular save for spectacular save. What was clear was the better goalie would win this game. As it has been with Henrik Lundqvist all season, Hank was bested, yet again, by a better goalie. Hank’s record against top teams in the NHL this season has been abysmal. Just check out his games against the Islanders, Tampa and Boston. Luckily the Rangers have owned Fleury this season, or I would dread to see those numbers.
Listen, we can bitch and moan that the Rangers didn’t score. I won’t argue with you. No shit, the Rangers couldn’t find the twine tonight. However, neither did Montreal, until Pacioretty beat Hank on a weak ass shot with four minutes to go in the game. This was a goalie game, as advertised, and let the best man win. Price went two-for-two against Hank this year.
On an aside, the Ranger’s run last year should’ve been their year. They snuck by Philly in 7 games. Tragic, yes, but the passing of MSL’s mother helped propel the Rangers to steal a series against the Pens in 7 games. Montreal upsetting the Ranger killers, in the Boston Bruins helped out. When Kreider eliminated Price from the series in game one, everything was coming up Blueshirts. You have to wonder what would’ve happened if Hank didn’t blow 3 games in the third period against the Kings last year. In reality, there was no reason for the Rangers not to come back to MSG, up 2-0, in the Cup finals last year. Again, Hank was the weaker goalie, thus the other team won. This is what drives me nuts about his contract. He is being paid to be Superman, but plays like Jimmy Olsen in big games.
What hurts the most about this Rangers loss wasn’t that they didn’t score, but that they were four minutes away from getting a point, grabbing third place in the standings, until a shot by Pacioretty that is stopped 99/100 times, trickles past Hank. The Rangers had ample opportunities to score all night, but it was a battle of the goaltenders. In the end, Hank broke down, while Price played the full 60 minutes. The highest paid goalie in the NHL, was bested yet again.
It’s amazing how scores reflect the way we look at games. If the Rangers score two goals, I’m singing the praises of Henrik Lundqvist. However, in a goalie showdown, the better man won and this loss falls on Hank, instead of Hank getting the broadway hat.
Rangers coach, Alain Vigneault, juggled lines tonight. However, I don’t think any line-up would’ve worked tonight, as Price was just a beast tonight. Hank was too, but Price was just extra beastier, if that makes sense. Fans will talk about Glass being in the line-up over JT Miller, but in the end, it didn’t matter. Glass had a great game, with several near assists and bringing the passion & intensity to the ice. Shaking up the defensemen worked, as all three pairs held down the fort. The Pacioretty goal was a bad one, and not on the skaters.
I will say, while Hank did leave the ice like a crybaby, smashing his stick in the process, I liked his emotion. I hope he’s not mad and blaming his teammates like he usually does after a loss like this. I hope he’s mad at himself for being bested. I want that fire in the belly of my goalie.
I’ve made points about Hank all year on this blog. The newest development was that Ryan McDonagh & Cam Talbot vacationed together during the all-star break. I have always wondered why Hank doesn’t hang out with his teammates and if we will hear after Hank’s career that his teammates resented him for always throwing them under the bus when the team loses but always there to soak in the adulation after wins. I just wish Hank had that Derek Jeter mentality, which I’ve never seen during his career. Hank is easily the third best goalie in Rangers history, and a compiler in grabbing many team records, but he’s never been able to be that leader, like Mark Messier, like a Derek Jeter, like a Michael Jordan. Maybe he isn’t on their level, but he is being paid to be.
As far as the game, I can bitch about the no-call slashes on Derek Stepan or the bullshit icing when Klein beat his defender to the puck. However, those two calls don’t make up the entire 60 minutes of the game. The Rangers are in a scoring drought and need to find out what the fuck happened. With hopefully two good match-ups on paper, the Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers, coming to town, the Rangers can solve this puzzle.
In all, just a heartbreaking loss. With ticket prices going up, I’m not able to afford as many games as I have been able to in previous seasons, so I’m glad I decided to sit this one out. That train home from Penn Station would’ve been miserable. However, if Cam Talbot starts on Saturday, I’ll see you there. IN CAM WE TRUST!
Let’s try to end this blog with some positivity. Being born in 1982, the 1994 Rangers were super-heroes to me. None bigger than Adam Graves, and the previously mentioned Jeff Beukeboom. They were my favorite Rangers growing up. Of course, I loved Leetch, Messier and Richter too, but I always gravitated to the stylings and play of Graves & Beukeboom. When Graves was traded to the Sharks, I was crushed. I stopped attending as many games as I used to/do, during this period. I was just as heartbroken, as the loss here tonight.
Do me a favor – Google “Adam Graves Charity”. About a million stories will come up. I want to take space here to say that it makes me proud as a Ranger fan to see the work Adam Graves does on a daily basis. He gets some press for it, but he isn’t seeking it. You never see him tooting his own horn. This is a guy, that has used his fame to insane levels, to help benefit the lives of the less fortunate on an every day basis. He is not only a great ambassador of the New York Rangers, but a great ambassador for the human race. I can’t recap everything he’s done, because I would be here for years typing it all up, but seriously, do the google search. The work he’s done is inspiring.
Let me put it out here and who knows, maybe he reads this, as I do know several current Rangers have read this blog before – THANK YOU ADAM GRAVES. I’ll never forget you signing autographs for me when I was 14, 15, 16 years old. Now I’m 32 and the work you have done is nothing short of amazing. Thank you for making my favorite team look good and thank you for dedicating your life to helping the lives of others. You are an inspiration for anyone.
Long live number 9.
I’ll be back late Saturday/early Sunday with Rangers/Canes reaction. If Talbot starts, look for me at MSG in my WEBLEEDBLUE Tablot T-Shirt!
LETS GO RANGERS
@nycthemic on the twitter