Rangers at Sabres … It’s Go Time!

Game 25

Rangers at Sabres – 7:00 PM MSG

Tonight is a one game road trip to Buffalo, the meat on a home games against the Carolina Hurricanes bread sandwich. The Rangers are in a bit of a slump, going 3-3-1 in their past 7 games, but not looking particularly good in any of the games, even the wins. Jimmy Vesey goes to Buffalo for the first time after they traded a third round pick for his rights, only for him to not sign there.

When I get home, my oldest son will need to be put to bed, forcing me to watch the game on a bit of a delay. Clearly, this is an HAV.

Tonight’s probable lineup for the Rangers (16-7-1), via Steve Zipay (@stevezipay):

Jimmy Vesey-Kevin Hayes-Rick Nash

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Jesper Fast

Matt Puempel-J.T. Miller-Mats Zuccarello

Michael Grabner-Oscar Lindberg-Brandon Pirri

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Nick Holden

Brady Skjei-Adam Clendening

The big news, of course, is that Adam Clendening will return to the lineup in place of the struggling Kevin Klein.  Maybe it’s his bad hairstyle, having a reverse-Samson effect.  In any event, Klein has not been very good this season and has been particularly bad over the past 10 games or so.

Clendening is stylized as a puck mover.  His advanced stats were good but in an incredibly small sample size.  To me, he dramatically failed the eye-test, so I think his numbers are an anomaly that will even out with more playing time to reflect his poor performance.  Clendening will be on the third pair with Brady Skjei.  The duo will see some PP time together as well.

Remaining in the lineup is Oscar Lindberg, who had his strongest game of the season against the Hurricanes on Tuesday, so Josh Jooris remains Prucha’d for the second straight game.

The rest of the forward group got shuffled again. Again, I’m underwhelmed by the choices.  Fast back in the top 6 by December. BDL must be thrilled.

Lundqvist gets the start tonight. Buchnevich is still not skating.

For the Sabres, (8-9-5), Anders Nilsson gets the start in Net after Robin Lehner was banged up on Tuesday in Ottawa.  This will be the first home game of the season for second year center and Vesey friend Jack Eichel.  Eichel scored a goal and an assist in his debut against Ottawa on Tuesday.  Also in the game will be Eric’s perennial favorite trade target Evander Kane.  He has no goals and just three assists on the season in 11 games played.  Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

Don’t forget to tell everyone you know and to follow me on Twitter @rangersreport2. And don’t forget to vote for your three stars after the game!

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392 thoughts on “Rangers at Sabres … It’s Go Time!”

  1. They call themselves Sabres because that’s how Canadians spell it and they think Americans don’t know the difference, thus they get a win/win fan wise, a win with Canada and a shrug from the USA. I, however, will not be hoodwinked.

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  2. Carp I’d pay $50+ for a year if it meant having you back. Doodie bullies me into giving him $10 a day plus my lunch so….

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  3. I think it’s safe to say when #9 passes on one day a long time from now Heaven is going to have to open the Adam Graves wing. Saint hood.

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  4. Now that my mind is into reminiscing, I seem to remember Nick Fotiu, end to end, as being as fast as some of these fast guys we have today. Am I delusional?

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  5. Carp, when I was joking right after you lost it, that I would pay whatever to you per post or for annual subscription, I was damn serious, albeit didn’t believing it is really possible. But there is no doubt I would like to pay any reasonable amount (around $30 – $50) to see you back. Please, make it happened.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. (Re: Carp’s fee) – I was in college with a kid who one day spat at the Prof: “I pay your salary.” The professor replied: “You’re the guy who pays me this miserable salary? I’ve been looking for you for twenty years.” True story.

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  7. I mean for more than $50 a year we might as well all just get together at the Rye bar and grill once a year for a drink and let Carp tell us as many hockey stories as he can remember 🙂

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  8. If I played for AV, I would certainly respect his history and fear his icy composure, but I can’t see how I would ever be inspired by him.

    We are too often not ready to open play, and late in games too inclined to Chinese fireplaces with nary a time-out.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 4ever, that would mean Hank has to make a sav….no wait, let me correct myself. I almost said save. a save would imply that someone took a shot on goal. what he needs to work on are the oppositions dump ins. He has to prevent dump ins now. “and a prevented dump in by Lundqvist!” just doesn’t have the same ring to it

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  10. Lang’s Deli in Bronxville has such a plethora of silly names for sandwiches, it’s embarrassing for a gentleman to place an order. It’s like a Monty Python sandwich circus.

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  11. One thing for sure – BB is a hard working team. Could it compensate other team’s deficiencies has to be seen, but they can make Rangers life miserable with relentless fore-check and few young talents.

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  12. At my horribly awesome local deli I regularly order a Tom Selleck, Omar Shariff or Dolly Parton and feel much shame.

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  13. I think some nights, Hank forgets to unlink the gold Rolex and shelf it for the duration of the game, causing excessive weight on the glove hand and an occasional blinding glance from the lights across the diamonds.

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  14. I thought the rangers were supposed to be this fast team, it appeared that way the first few weeks. What the the hell happen because from my point of view the rangers look like the slower team the past 5 games.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. It seems to me that Ziba and Buch absence just took off some magic of beginning’s games…Constant line shuffling is not helping either. But we have to hang on – the thing, former Rangers teams were doing so good.

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  16. 8.5 for the next 5 years is brutal but it’s not all lundqvist’s fault in this game, rangers haven’t been good for a while even though they’ve found ways to win some. I think the injuries to Buchnevich and Zibanejad has hurt the teams chemistry offensively.

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  17. I don’t know about the old blog, but on this unofficial one, some of these posts seem like they were written by people who started watching sports 18 months ago

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  18. Brooklanders beat 3:0 Caps. Devils lead 1:0 Hawks. Weak teams beating one of the best. Rangers losing to one of the worst and depleted team. What’s going on?

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  19. Last year, early, it was Lundqvist that carried the team when everyone else sucked. This year it’s the opposite. That’s the end of that stretch. If they don’t get their $h!t together soon get ready for a big slip in the standings.

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  20. Not for nuttin’ but for all our talent and speed, what’s missing with this group is tenacity. You have to play like the opponent is trying to take your wallet and spit on your dog’s grave.

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  21. FG, the Eastern Conference is a lot closer than I remember it being last season at this time. Only 11 points separates us from last amd most teams have games in hand on us. I’d rather not have to push for a playoff spot late in the season.
    Ziba won’t be back and healthy for a while and Buchnevich seems to have a long mystery injury like Nash did last year. And who knows how either will be when they come back. Just look at Kreider. He’s back to his old tricks.

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  22. This team is absolute soft serve…. Absolute soft serve. They are NOT built for the playoffs, and this is EXACTLY what you get with AV as the coach. NO grit. Did anyone here REALLY think we’d become the Edminton Oilers of the 80s and other teams would figure out how to keep us in check? It’s simple! A heavy forecheck/pin us in our own zone and our game goes to garbage because our D is old and slow! Speaking of old and slow, let’s talk about shampoo boy… He is NO LONGER elite. I’m DISGUSTED by his play as of late. And don’t even get me started on our biggest headcase….Kreider. The guy just can’t get out of his own head. You don’t want to trade someone with his skill set, but I can’t bare to watch him anymore. I swear I’d be open to dumping him AND our savior “the King” for a heavy ransom. In summary, we’re WAY too soft, our forecheck is GARBAGE, our D is old/slow/frazzled WAY too often, Kreider needs to get the hell out of his head or be traded, and shampoo boy’s best days are long behind him… but don’t tell that to whatever sucker team would be willing to part with big pieces for his services…..

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  23. Well I am thankful I didn’t get to watch another debacle! I told you just when they appear to be turning into something special off come the wheels! We are Ranger fans we get use to disappointment. 1994 will last a lifetime! Hank will become a ball and chain for the rest of his contract!! As good as he can be in one game he will suck even more in the next! The only cup Hank will ever touch is the on in his locker! Trade Kreider to Anaheim what can possibly go wrong! Oh No We Suck Again! OK I feel better now. No really!

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  24. Rangers 3rd overall and it’s December first. It’s a little too soon yet to put the parachute on and jump. They lost. Suck it up and wait for the next game. You guys want some nice Camembert with all that whine?

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  25. 5th in metro. I’m done get worked up and on ledge over this group. They will never win a cup and they can’t adapt in game led by their clown coach AV. Another porenial loser

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  26. Buffalo, and you all might laugh at this but, is a good young team with a very good coach.
    Hopefully the early points we got are enough to hold us afloat until Mika and Buch are back.

    PS, Lundqvist is old.

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  27. 0 for December, season over. There is no hope. They will never recover from this mini-slump. AV is the worst coach in the league. Gorton’s done, will never work again in this league.

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  28. They are not working their tails off forechecking, like they used to, and as a result their speed is becoming a non-factor. Opposing teams can easily eliminate the rest of the rangers speed game by clogging the middle of the ice. A constant forecheck would break down most opponents structures for long enough for the rangers speed to be effective. It seems, at some point, they decided they are better than the rest and don’t need work as hard as their opponents in order to outscore them. They never were more talented than anybody, but when they were working hard, their speed would and could create enough space for them to score plenty of goals.

    Opponents have also modified their game to kill the rangers speed, i.e. clogging the neutral zone, relentless forechecking, and overall outworking their opponent.

    The key is work harder and forecheck.

    PS. At this point I am not afraid to ask anymore: what does HAV mean?

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Good morning, boneheads!
    It’s my fault. I’ll take the full responsibility. I jinxed it, and I knew it too. The moment Sam ( or was it Joe?) said before the 3rd period:”the Rangers haven’t lost in regulation when they’re leading after 2 periods yet” I said to myself:”Well, maybe today is the one…” So that’s that. Sorry.

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  30. They had some good possession moments, but not enough. In fact, they gave up too much possession time to Buffalo. Hank was far from stellar again, and they didn’t compete hard enough in the 3rd.
    But, geez, folks, give it a rest. I’ve been on this blog for many years and thought I would get used to it. I guess I didn’t. Especially this year. The sky is falling…Are you seriously talking about them not making playoffs? This year’s team? It’s December, they’re 3rd in the league in points, and have a couple of borderline NHLers to fill in while their 2 top forwards are getting healthy. Plus a few rookies who are learning their ways while playing important roles at the same time. C’mon, ‘heads…

    Liked by 1 person

  31. One thing that I’ve noticed the last couple of years is that when the Rangers have the lead in the third period they stop playing their game. All they want to do is chip the puck out of the zone and defend. A lot of times it works. Some times it doesn’t. Look at what happened last night when Buffalo had the lead in the last 2 minutes. They kept the Rangers hemmed in their own zone for more than a minute and Hank couldn’t get out for the extra attacker. This is crazy. Stop playing scared in the third period.

    As for the players, I have to admit that Fast played a pretty good game. Lindberg doesn’t do much. Cut Puemple. Do you mean to tell me that there isn’t somebody better than him in Hartford? If not, this team is in trouble.

    There’s a reason why Clendening is a healthy scratch so often. He’s not very good.

    Can’t blame Hank for the game winner that goes off his own player in the crease, but you can for the first one. It deflected off Larson at the blue line. Plenty of time to adjust. He simply blew it and it cost them.

    The good and the bad – Zucc regained his scoring touch.

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  32. The sky is falling? No, but some bad hockey against some non-PO teams. The bloom is officially off the rose now and there is some telling signs.
    .
    With the state of the D, all forwards need to be healthy to play a possession game or at least score 3 or more; the absence of Zika and Butch forces Fast up the lineup and Pimple to get TOI. The bad news is Zika is not back for another 6/7 weeks and Butch has back problems of a mysterious order, not a good sign 1 month into your NHL career.
    .
    Fast played well for Fast but the reality is his presence in the top 6 prevents scoring chances. For the 2 or 3 plays he makes per game, there are 10 or so ‘non-plays’ he does not make.
    .
    Clendening played well and not only threaded some beautiful outlet passes, but played a physical game. The penalty was a joke; Eichel-Eichel is 19 and already getting the Skidknee’s treatment? Puleeze.
    .
    Would prefer they load up on 2 strong O lines and bring up some Hartford 2 way players (Ribbit, Jensen) to play bottom 6.
    .
    Upward and onward!

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  33. Hank. It starting to concern me. We are almost a third through the season and his numbers are very ordinary. Have to consider that he may be a better than average goalie but no longer elite. They can win with him but no because of him. If they continued to be outchanced every game they will be a 500 team the rest of the way. Let’s hold the panic until Zika and Buch get back, but, good teams play through adversity. So far they haven’t.

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  34. I’m pressing the panic button not for the Rangers but for the tone of the posts I’ve been reading here. Too many guys trying to find the fifth leg on the cat. This is a good team but depleted. We all saw what they could do when healthy and fully stacked. Wasn’t long ago we were agonizing about who AV would have to give the pink slip

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I mean, there are a couple of big problems with the team right now. To me, the most concerning one is Lundqvist. Outside of a couple of games, he just has not been very good this year. They aren’t going anywhere without him playing like the King.

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  36. Hey, we’re okay, not great, will be around at the end, but we need a spark plug. Every team needs at least one. That’s why they originally had Captains, but these days, too many Captains are appointed because of their talent, period. Not knocking Donuts, but we need a Marchand type or two.

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  37. Our PDO is still off the charts at 104.67, buoyed largely by an unsustainable 12.83 team shooting percentage. Our goaltending is only .918. The thinking earlier this season was that we would avoid a significant regression in PDO as our shooting percentage dropped because our save percentage would rise. But I’m not sure our save percentage will rise if Lundqvist keeps playing the way he has. I am sure, however, that our shooting percentage will drop. So two things will need to happen to help us keep winning. 1) as shooting percentage drops, we will need to shoot more to score the same amount of goals; and 2) Lundqvist has to make more saves. Period. No more softies.

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  38. Glad to see RR redux. There is no rhyme or reason to our current position. It seems every game is a snowflake. The inconsistency is troubling, but there I’d more than enough talent to make the playoffs. . . . . but that could be said of most teams in da league.
    I for one have been entertained so far this season not knowing what team will show up and the unknown factor will keep my attention. That and the return hopefully off the glimpses we’ve gotten of Mika and Buchie.

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  39. Hank is slowing a bit, he uses his cat-like reflexes to to counteract his smaller size and positioning deep in the crease. A little slip there, makes him almost average.

    The main problem with this team is the defense, and it won’t get much better with the return of two forwards. When teams start forechecking hard, forwards backchecking can’t cover everything.

    The possession, shooting stats for this team are bottom third. The defense is worse. Staal and Girardi stats are not good either. Girardi is a a -15 shots per 60, Staal is a -10.

    Gorton knows all this. He is a working on a D-man I hope.

    This is a good team. When you score all your goals on fast breaks, teams will stay back.

    I watch this team for entertainment, and they sure entertained me so far this year. There are people who would rather rather have an extra two points with defensive, shot-blocking caveman hockey.

    I expect more rough times in the immediate future, but I am still happy with this team’s start.

    On to Carolina and let’s win there.

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  40. Eric’s Flying Puck by the garden, I thought there was only one. I’ll see if I can work my way down to Wall Street for one. Any suggestions of where to go to hook up for one?

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  41. The defensemen have to start skating the puck out of the zone a bit. The forwards are doing a lot of skating right now having to retrieve the puck so deep. Those are going to be some tired legs later in the season.

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  42. rr2 – 100%; only McD and Shea can carry, the others are flippers or flubbers.
    Clendening made some very crisp outlet passes when given some time/space.

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  43. Tenne- HAV stands for “half-assed venture”, which Doodie aka Rangers Report 2 clearly thinks this blog is since he took over for Carp.

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  44. I feel like every time Doodie says “this is clearly a HAV” he is fishing for a complement.

    No game review again? This is becoming more of a “Full-assed venture.” 😛

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  45. Half-Assed Venture – kind of like the Rangers effort last night (and half might be kind). I guess the boys had too many Buffalo wings the night before, eh?!?

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  46. Mission Accomplished!
    .
    From Fargo to Wall Street to deliver Doodie his cigar, and have a pumpkin beer at the smokehouse pub.
    .
    Off to ride the Wall Street bull 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  47. @RickCarpiniello $5 a month, yes, definitely.
    $9.99 a month, again, yes, definitely.
    I don’t have many online paid subscriptions, but this would totally be worth it.

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  48. Don’t inflate his ego, Coos. He owes US for the traffic around here. I think a bottle of scotch for the holidays to show his appreciation would be a very nice way of showing it. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  49. so, AV says Klein is back in tomorrow. Will he sit Girardi? no. Probably Clendenning is out again. We just dont have many choices, and nothing in Hartford.

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  50. If we kept Ocho-cinco or Cam talbot…we would so much cap space… but it’s a business, the Rangers are the most valuable team in the NHL. My sister-in-law who knows nothing about hockey, loves Henrik.

    You can’t just go to the store and buy a defenseman.

    Liked by 1 person

  51. No review? My coffee is now ice cold. I now declare this a 1/5 th-ass venture!! And the other 4/5ths of the ass is in goal. Hank needs to regain his focus, bigly. He looks like he’s posing for the cameras sometimes with his Statue of Liberty frozen stance after the puck sails by him. Ugh. Bad stretch all around. And AV needs to generate SOME sort of sense of urgency. Everyone is all WAY too relaxed and nonchalant. End rant. Thanks for listening.

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  52. Good morning Boneheads I love this blog it’s the only place I feel comfortable whining! Everytime I get my hopes up seems like something crappy happens, but I’m going to believe they will win today! Anyone agree?

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  53. Sioux were will You be for pre game warm ups? I will try to pass by & say hello.Cant make it to the puck this am.

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  54. Girardi just needs to go home! Gleider needs to stay out of the pool, and Lundqvist needs to get his act together! 5 more years of a fading HOF, and he is fading will make make our young core look really old! Where’s my cheese?

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  55. CCCP where are you hearing these rumors? All I do is look for trade rumors and i haven’t heard anything.

    I think we are two defensemen away from being a contender, but anything will help.

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  56. Eli doe have a point about Hank…

    In the last 12 months, Hank has between a .909 and .910 SV% and a 2.71 GAA. The NHL Average SV% last year was a .917 SV%, this season its a .915 SV%

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  57. I, too, enjoy watching the Rangers, especially the first two months of this year’s edition. Classy, up-tempo, skilled hockey. Perhaps AV will cave and play it safe, but I hope not. They don’t have the roster for it anyway.

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  58. Hank is in pretty good shape so far in the game, which I can’t say about Miller – don’t like his game tonight one bit, whatever cause it. Too many mistakes – could be costly…

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  59. No forechecking and no zone time again. They cannot move out of their zone with any consistency. They are lucky to be up in this one.

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  60. I used to think they were directed to praise players, but it was pointed out that they praise everyone, no matter the player or the play. Their role is to cheerlead and be NYR fanboys, not objective analysts

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  61. NYR giving Canes the Red Line so Carolina playing dump and chase forcing D to flip it out and limit any possession time

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  62. They can’t complete a pass so they all become turnovers. If they are going to be a skill team they need to execute. So far they haven’t. They also need to win a one on one battle occasionally. This has been pretty ugly so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  63. Carp, in response to your request if anyone would pay to follow you, add me to the list. I had paid to join LOHUD the day before they let you go. I cancelled the payment when they let you go. I turned a number of fellow fans from work onto your column. Like myself, they were extremely disappointed to see you downsized after 40 years of faithful service. I am sure many of them would also join to follow you again. I wish you all the best Carp and hope you are back in print and blogging again very soon.

    Props to Doodie for getting RR2 up and going. It’s been great, even for a HAV. I truly enjoy reading all the banter between the boneheads.

    Liked by 3 people

  64. Don’t mean to sound negative my fellow Ranger fans but they are on pace for a whopping 9 sog! Hope they can keep this up!

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  65. They have completely given up the speed game. They need to use the speed to win the race to the dump in. They have been a little better since they gave up the goal. Joe giving the Canesxwat too much credit.

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  66. Critiques worked. But real hero (all game) is Zuk.
    Besides, freakin Philthies leading Toewsless Hawks 3:1. That’s bad. Debbies trailing Preds 1:3 – that’s good.
    So, life in whole is good again!

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  67. @HartnettHockey: #NYR G Henrik Lundqvist ia now three wins away from tying Dominik Hasek for the most wins by a European-born goaltender in #NHL history.
    ……

    He’s such a terrible goalie. 🙂

    Like

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