Rangers-Flames in Review

A big thanks to Eddie Eddie Eddie for the review of last night’s game. I still need some help for tonight. Please let me know. 

Eddie Eddie Eddie aka e3

Last summer we spent a few weeks in western Canada. I was wearing one of my Ranger sweatshirts as we landed in Calgary and I got some good natured ribbing from the customs officials. Nice city. Friendly and down to earth people. Driving up through the Canadian Rockies through Lake Louise and Banff, on our way to Hinton where we were visiting my wife’s best friend from graduate school, I was blown away by the natural beauty. Gorgeous county. As we might be going back this June, I hope Edmonton (if not the Sharks) and the Rangers meet in the finals. On to the game:

1) Tale of two teams heading in opposite directions. The Flames are in trouble and the talk in Calgary is not good. Cassie Campbell mentioned on the CBC feed that the Flames need to get away from the rink and regroup. No practice, no video, no nothing. The Rangers on the other hand are playing impressive hockey. Their last game against Vancouver, notwithstanding, this team looks like the real deal. It’s still early in the season but I anticipate a deep run come spring time.

2) The rangers began a bit slowly not getting a shot on goal for the first three or four minutes. Four days off might account for the slow start but I imagine AV impressed upon our boys that it was important to jump on the Flames early as they’ve been slow starters this season giving up a lot of first goals. Moreover, Calgary came in on a three game losing streak and are comfortably nestled in the bottom of the much weaker, this year anyway, Western Conference.

3) Rangers definitely benefitted from the time off as they had their legs and and were flying up and down the ice all game long. This Ranger team doesn’t just skate fast, but also they move the puck quickly. Almost as though they were playing hot potato with it, the puck didn’t stay on anybody’s stick very long this game Even Zucc, who I’ve been critical of (as have Bulldog and SN by the way) as preferring a half court offense to the up and down, north south, track meet that has become AV’s style since he became head coach, was pushing the pace.

4) Hank was not tested until late in the first (more on that later) as the Rangers Dmen were doing a terrific job getting to loose pucks and breaking up plays. All three pairs played a solid business like game. Brady Shay (sic) and Marc Staal looked especially strong in their own end. Staal had a lovely tip of a pass on a three on two in the first period braking up a tremendous scoring chance. Meanwhile, the ranger Captain has quietly regained the form of three years ago when he was being mentioned by some as a Norris candidate. McD looks so comfortable out there and his pass to VC for the third goal was a beauty. Danny Girardi also looked good tonight and if he is able to regain some of the what we saw yesteryear, there might not be any need to look to make a deal for a top 4 defenseman.

5) Is there any doubt that Carl Haglin has finally been replaced? Grabner is just as fast if not faster and has much better hands than Carl. That was a laser shot short side that beat Brian Elliot. Bad goal? I don’t think Elliot had a chance. Fast made a nice defensive play tipping the puck to Grabner and he was off like a shot out of a cannon. Motoring down the right wing, He blasted a well placed rocket high glove side and once again the Flames gave up the first goal, Rangers lead 1-0.

6) Later in the third Grabner hit a post. This guy has come in and has matched his skill set with AV’s system about as good as one could hope. Will he continue on this pace and look at a possible 40 goal season? Crazier things have happened.

7) THE Kreider announced himself in this game. Playing nearly as well as he did before the neck spasms, he was flying all night and his little give and go with Stepan was picture perfect. That was as pretty a play as I’ve seen from the Rangers this season. THE took the body on the wall allowing Step to take the puck, who gave
it to THE, who softly slid it over to Step for a clever little 2 on 1. Stepan buried it into a wide open net. Rangers lead 2-0.

8) Late in the first, Boosh threw a misguided pass across the ice in the offensive zone and it was intercepted. It quickly led to a long outlet pass to Johnny Hockey and he was off on a breakaway. Hank stoned him on his first and only test of the period. The King made several outstanding saves later in the game and looked sharp throughout. The only goal against came middle of the third ruining the King’s shutout. It was good see after the debacle last game when Raanta was ushered off by the league to sit in the quiet room in concussion protocol. Hank relieved and and gave up an immediate two run homer.

9) Speaking of which, If the league officials are going to force a goalie of the ice, the backup that night should be allowed plenty of time to warm up as is the case in baseball when a pitcher is hurt. In that case, the reliever gets as long as he deems necessary.

10) Early in the second, Ein Klein made a very high IQ play directly leading to the first Ranger power play. As the Flames appeared to think icing was going to be called. Klein grabbed the puck behind his net, looked over his shoulder and saw half the flame team on the ice. He threw the puck at the flame bench and it was impossible for the Flames to avoid a too many men penalty.

11) The Rangers’ 4th goal topped the Kreider to Stepan to Kreider to Stepan goal in terms of sheer beauty. From the left wing, Z threw a soft sweet centering pass to Zuuc who moved it just off his right side to Boosh who buried his 4th goal in as many games. Zucc has amazing vision as that was a beautiful pass.

12) Opportunistic is the word best describing the Rangers’ goal scoring so far this season. When the opponent has turned the puck over this season, the Rangers have made them pay. I hope it continues. I’m not sure I have ever seen so many goals on so few shots in my 46 years of watching this team. At some point, it will dry up and when it does Hank and Raanta are going to called upon to make big saves.

13) But if the D can continue pushing the pace and getting the puck up ice, and if the forwards can help out with the back check, winning games 3-2, 2-1 or 1-0 is just fine by me.

14) This team is special and I’m quite excited given my expectations coming into the season. How far can they go? We will see soon enough.

15) And it’s on to Edmonton and let’s win there.

My Three Stars:

Grabner
Hank
McD/Shay

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44 thoughts on “Rangers-Flames in Review”

  1. Good morning, boneheads!
    Nicely done, Eddie!
    Good game, they did just enough to win.
    I like Skjei on the R, the guy is turning into a sure top 4, whether he plays L or R. Good to see that most of their rare 1st rounders turn into the NHLers.

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  2. Two rookie forwards in the top 9, and a rookie Dman playing regularly. Meanwhile Calgary, who has been bad for many years has a whole bunch of nothing out there. Some of these Canadian team are as poorly run as can be.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow, excellent job, E3. Seriously some of your best stuff. And not one remark about being on the can. mind: BLOWN. Seriously though- awesome job.

    I’ll say that when you’re the better team on the ice most nights, you’re going to win more than you lose. The Rangers have been just that for most of the first 15 here. lost a few where they were and won a few when they weren’t. But even without registering a shot the first couple of minutes you could see their legs and their determination right out of the gate. They’ve responded with a solid follow up every time they’ve lost/played a bad game thus far and that’s the kind of stuff you look for to figure out if a team is for real. Was happy to see Hank have a strong game including a strong first period.

    And while I’ve been critical of the coach, I’ll happily eat some crow. I think one of AV’s attributes in his first two seasons was knowing the right buttons to push and when to push them. Last night was one of those games. Everyone clicked, the kids scored a goal each, Stepan and Kreider looked good together and the Staal-Skeji pairing worked as well. Of course, you can argue “they played Calgary” so I’m excited to see the rematch against the Oil tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Agreed on the Grabner goal, Doodie. Brian Elliott: WOOF! That trade looks disastrous right now. And this is a guy playing for a contract. Obviously the Blues knew something the Flames didn’t. Of course, if I drop him from my fantasy team he’s gonna go 20-4 with a 967 sv% the rest of the way >:o

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  5. Excellent review, E3! That was a really well played game by the boys. One of the games they “should” be winning and they did, convincingly. It never seemed to be in doubt. And I’m with you, James. AV is really pushing the right buttons now. He juggled all four lines and all four scored. Not bad!

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  6. I’m of the school of thought that believes that any short-side goal is a bad one. Great shot but Elliott saw it all the way.

    Buch is such a talent, but I counted at least 2 egregious giveaways (both high-risk passes that were a hair off their mark) that resulted in a scoring chance the other way. Unconcerned though – those are rookie growing pains well gladly suffer through.

    On paper, I kinda hate Kreider-Stepan. Our fastest skill winger with our slowest center? But crazily enough, there’s chemistry there. I fee the same about Zikazook. Less chemistry, total style mismatch, but it worked.

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  7. BDL – it’s strange to see, right? Calgary has some players I would kill for…Gaudreau, Monahan, Bennett up front, Giordano and Brodie in back. And I wouldn’t toss Hamilton or Wideman out of bed for eating crackers.
    Their problem is the support staff. Look at us – Gorton picked up some excellent players that fit the system. Calgary? Frolik, Backlund…not so good.
    They have the bones to be alright in a few years, but it’s not a gimme.

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  8. The Rangers are scoring a lot of goals this season by doing something they haven’t done in a long long long time. That being crashing the net, going to the net, and getting in the dirty areas in and around the goal. Last night three of their goals were scored close in. Love seeing it.

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  9. Popular belief is that they can’t keep this up, due to unsustainable shooting percentages. But Valiquette raised a good point – they’re leading the league in quality scoring chances. They aren’t getting flubby fluky goals. They’re creating and pouncing on opportunities. That’s NOT going away. Sure they’ll come down to earth a bit, have a good amount of games where a hot goalie will steal it, or they just aren’t clicking. But they’re damn convincing right about now.
    Ironically – they struggle against bad teams because those are the ones that clog the neutral zone to try and tread water.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’ll dry up, of course. But then again, 2 goals would’ve sufficed last night. Hank is not facing as many high scoring chances as he did last year, but he’s been himself. That’s more than plenty at the moment.

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  11. Stepan and Kreider has worked before, but I think if you want Kreider to be bigger scorer, he needs to be with a speed center.

    E3,
    The parts I understood were very good. 😁

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  12. awesome review, missed first half of game, flames looked like dog poop. Hopefully it was more NYR pressure than Flames’ poor play, only time will tell.
    .
    This is exciting hockey to watch. If THE is back, watch out!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dave I like Mcilrath I honestly do but in today’s NHL I don’t think we have to worry about him becoming Matty. Nordstrom or as significant of a Dman

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  14. Saw the first period before Mr. Sandman came to visit. The Rangers just looked to be in such total control that I had no doubt that they would win. All I was wondering about was by how much. The Flames stink. There’s no other way of putting it. They stink.

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  15. Vibin’ Charlie. I did the same thing and went to bed going “this looks like they’ll be fine” checked the score when I woke up and smiled

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  16. E3 – Exc3llent review.

    I also missed the firs two periods, but what I saw was the fast skating, good passing and aggressive style that they have displayed the rest of the year. it was fun to watch. I am going to watch the first two periods right now.

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  17. Thank You e3 for your efforts.Very enjoyable read. I actually got through the whole thing without a dictionary. No politics. 🙂 Lets keep piling up the points while We can.All the best.Lets Go Rangers!

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  18. Thank you for an excellent review, I really depend on such when I am travelling. NHL & Google kindly updated me with the scores as I sat at a restaurant in Calistoga

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  19. I think Kreider showed himself at his best with a faster right hander with similar size in Zibanejad as well. Step with Nash and Zucc has worked before as well.

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  20. E3
    Well don’t be my brutha from anutha mutha.

    I’d also add Ferland to that group of fwds I’d take from Calgary

    It’s not that he plays for them, it’s his cap hit…sheesh.

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  21. Nice review, e3! Smooth, well-rounded, kinky here and there. Didn’t stink at all. You’ve made quite a splash.

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  22. Great review, Carp, er, Eddie!

    Ice in Edmonton is always in great condition! Tonight’s game should be fast and entertaining!

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  23. Ricardo – you know you’re spending a lot of alone time on the can when those feet fall asleep and begin to tingle and tangle.

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