Rangers-Blackhawks in Review

Rangers 1, Blackhawks 0.

Today’s review is graciously provided by regular bonehead James G. Great job, James!

1) First of all this game was all Doodie’s fault. Why you ask? Because earlier in the day he just had to bring up how he was at this amazing game years back when the Rangers lost to the Devils in a shootout 1-0 after a classic goaltending duel between the King and Marty Brodeur. This one was right up there. But relax. While this was the first game in a while that we got to witness highlight reel saves in net, there’s no goalie controversy just yet. BUT…boy oh boy this was one of those games that will get fans jawing a little louder about the King and his royal stinkers that have been way too common over the first 30 games.

2) Wasn’t really sure what to expect going in. Chicago was beat up (though not as bad as the Rangers). No Toews, No Seabrook (isn’t he a former future former Ranger?) (Editor’s note: yes, for Petr Prucha) and no Crawford. Still, you had Darling in net who had shut the Rangers out in the only appearance he’s had against them previously. Meanwhile in Rangers land the boys got into Chi-town late last night after squeaking out a last minute win against the Jets Thursday night and after AV confirmed that he indeed had the cajones to start Raanta again, I figured this was going to be an interesting one to watch.

3) Had no idea Raanta had such staggering numbers at United Center coming in. 17 career starts. 14-0-3 with a .934 save%. I remember hearing that he was really good in home games before coming over from Chicago, but those are some really impressive stats. And he was sharp right from the get go as Ryan Hartman stormed to the net looking for that all too common first goal on the first shot within the first minute (FGFSFM) that’s we’ve seen given up several times this season. (mainly with Lundqvist in net this year). Even though Chicago only had 9 shots in the first period it felt like they spent a month in the Rangers zone with Panarin and Kane getting a bunch of chances before the 10 minute mark.

4) When the trio of Hayes Miller and Grabby got stuck on the ice for that extended shift I was just waiting for them to break through but Raanta didn’t blink. He seemed to have Panarin talking to himself after the whistle at one point. I love seeing that. But even after all that pressure the Rangers escaped the first scoreless and outshooting the Hawks 12-9.

5) They seemed to pick it up a little in the second and did a pretty good job of playing some stingy “collapse in front” defense but they really didn’t look great, with a lot of sloppy passing and shots missing the net. Around the 13 minute mark I though they began to fade a bit which was no surprise with this being the second night of back to backs and all but when they started trading chances and Chicago had a couple of odd man rushes I started yelling at the tv loud enough to wake the dog who shoot me a dirty look and left the room.

6) Lucky dog, left before the 2 on 1 chance with Kane and Panik breaking in on Girardi. He actually turned his back to the play (a move I don’t think I’ve seen since Roszival was a Ranger) and Raanta had to stand on his head to stone Panik who was shaking his head afterwards along with most of the fans in the arena. On the other end of the rink Darling wasn’t going to be outdone flat out stoning Stepan while on his stomach and then breaking up Fast’s attempt on the 2 on none with Hrivik. Back to the other end, after getting flattened by Holden (and embellishing it a bit) Patrick Kane got up and had that wrister that Raanta knocked that one away with his glove. Meanwhile Kane then goes and gets the stick up in Miller’s face. No one retaliates of course.

7) Miller looked shaken up and you couldn’t help but hold your breath watching him leave for the locker room with Rammer. This was after he had already shaken off the shot that he blocked off his leg in the first. They don’t need any more forwards bitten by the injury bug.

7) To back that last statement up I give you exhibit A) The fourth line. While they had themselves a pretty good third period, there’s just no finishing ability there. To his credit, Lindberg probably had his best game of the season as he’s slowly made it back into game shape. At this rate he’s going to stick around while Jooris heads to Hartford once the Rangers get some broken bodies back.

8) Speaking of players that may lose a spot, I have to admit that after nearly 30 games, I’m still getting used to having two guys wearing numbers in the 70s. Pirri in 73 and Skeji in 76 really messes with me at times, especially since they both seem to make some pretty bad decisions at times in the defensive zone. Skeji wasn’t terrible but Pirri gives me acid reflux in the defensive zone. He seemed to be coming around a bit the last couple of games and was shooting the puck more. But he really is a very limited player despite being about to shoot it. In the beginning he was providing offense and getting an A for effort despite his putrid defensive abilities. I was willing to give him a pass but that ship seems to have sailed- he’s another guy that isn’t guaranteed a spot once those broken bodies start healing.

9) Going into the 3rd Salmon Joe starts yapping about how he thinks the game is going to be decided by a lucky bounce or a deflection and at the 6 minute mark, Hossa- who is having a solid year-scores off a shot that seemed to graze Mcdonagh and redirect passed Raanta. Then AV channels his inner Tom Coughlin and used his coaches challenge which clearly showed Hossa’s foot off sides. Boom. No goal. Salmon Joe is somewhere right now still trying to figure out the rule. And whether you think its stupid or not, it’s in the book and the coach made the right call again. Good stuff.

10) The snow angel by Girardi is always painful to watch. But man, did he ever get lucky breaking up that 2 on 1. I always joke that it works for him 1 out of every 500 times he does it and this was the 1. G has been better this year. That is to say he hasn’t been as bad as I thought he may be even though Mike Rupp could outskate him at this point. Joe M raved afterwards as if he pulled some defensive play of the year. Can’t make this stuff up.

11) Trading chances with 10 minutes to go in the third Fast had a wide open net and until I saw the replay thought he just flat out fanned on it. Darling had no idea where the puck was and as it turned out Gustav Forsling lifted Fast’s stick just enough to stop him from putting that one in. On the other side of the rink, Raanta lost sight of one himself and Zucc cleared it out of the crease before any of the red sweaters could get there. Exciting stuff as the third came to an end. Of course it’s only exciting if they win. If they lose it’s just another one of my rants about how they can’t muster any offense in the midst of all these injuries. At least I am giving you honesty. Appreciate it.

12) Before the OT began, I actually said to Carp that Holden had been great. And he really had been. He was all over the place. I mentioned the hit on Kane earlier which was only one of the big hits he threw. Don’t remember who it was late in the third that he dropped just inside the blue line but you could tell he was pumped up for this one. Maybe he gets up for games against Western teams being a former Av, or maybe he’s settling in a bit here. Regardless, he had a monster game. And the OT goal was just icing on the cake. I got a kick out of listening to his post game interview too. He had a big ol’ grin the entire time while sporting the broadway hat. It’s nice to see the love of the game oozing out of a player. I hope it works out for him here long term

13) And I have to give some love to Opie the victim (Stepan). I was in the midst of cursing at him watching him skate out of his own zone in OT like his legs were made out of tapioca pudding just moments before he gained the zone. Can’t deny that he’s a smart player Instead of dumping it in and going for the change he held up and made that pass to Holden. Just obnoxious amounts of room on the ice during the 3 on 3 OT. Not sure if I like it yet. Anyhow, Stepan hasn’t been perfect, but you can see he’s tried to step it up a little in the absence of Zibanejad. And while we make a mockery of the “he tries hard” routine, you need your vets to do exactly what he’s been attempting to do when injuries set in the way they have

14) I have to say, I was impressed with Ryan Hartman’s game. He was all over the place and looked like he could be a poor man’s Andrew Shaw for the Hawks. And no, I’m not just saying that to calm Wicky down after dishing out the love for Opie.

15) So, It may not have been pretty (and from what I’ve read, the one in Winnipeg wasn’t either) but over the last 48 hours they’ve done exactly what they need to and just found ways to win. Win ugly, win by the skin of your teeth- whatever. Just find ways to pick up points until they start getting some guys back here. They just picked up 4 of them after two really ugly road losses in Brooklyn and Buffalo.

16) Now they’ll go home for a Sunday game against the Devils for the first time this year. The boys from the Dirty Jerz haven’t lost at home in regulation but they’ve been atrocious on the road this season. The big question is do they stick with Raanta? He’s certainly earned the opportunity. With that said I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see LQ back in net.

17) Just want to wish Doodie a happy birthday. I left him hanging the last time I was supposed to do one of these reviews because a family member wound up in the hospital so I hope covering this one gave you the opportunity to celebrate a bit more, my friend.

I turn 35 in two weeks and I’ve learned that the chance to celebrate birthdays the right way is a rarity as we get older so you better have enjoyed it.

James G’s Three Rangers Stars:

1. Antti Raanta

2. Nick Holden

3. Incomplete, because he put Scott Darling.

My Three Rangers Stars:

1. Antti Raanta

2. Nick Holden

3. Oscar Lindberg

Your Three Rangers Stars:

1. Antti Raanta

2. Nick Holden

3. Oscar Lindberg

 

83 thoughts on “Rangers-Blackhawks in Review”

  1. Great review James G enjoyed it! Nice to see them win games when they are depleted! Good job by our boys. I’m hoping Antti gets the call against the hated devils! It’s about time Hank gets time focus on something other than what shampoo to use or which guitar to play!

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  2. James G – great job, quality and quantity (much better than the last one). Guest Bloggers don’t stink!
    .
    3rd/4th line was a real difference maker on this trip; a credit to Oscar, Oscar, Oscar; Couch & Ribbit. All three played a nice cycle game to allow the D to catch their breath and probably was the line with the most legitimate scoring chances.
    .
    Auntie is becoming my favorite relative.
    .
    2 big road wins and only up by 3 pts in standings in BJs with 4 games in hand; 4 pts on Craps with 3 games in hand.
    .
    Just Win Baby!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a nice shine a win like last night will give your Saturday morning. Add to that, the excellent, James G review and my weekend is off to a great start.

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  4. Just a fantastic review. So thankful for what is much more than a HAV. Hoping Carp is doing well and that the next opportunity is better than the last.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Was kind of an old school 4th line last night in the sense that they made stuff happen but just had no finishing ability. 4/6 hand of stone but they really stood out in the third. Oscar’s reemergence hopefully means the end of Pirri at 4C when they’re healthy again.

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  6. If all are healthy, and I’m choosing between Oscar and Pirri, I’m choosing Pirri. I like the O he brings from a lower line, and the PP.

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  7. Just watched that Kane high stick on miller. ( Rangers in 60 on now).
    Kane is a punk, entitled brat on and off the ice. As talented as he is, he is hard for me to root for.

    That is, until he turns 35 and becomes a Ranger.

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  8. Yes James G that was a great show of sportsmanship! Again don’t want to sound redundant but this is the best blog anywhere on the planet! And it’s time we get to celebrate a Cup together!

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  9. Nice work James! Thanks! Must confess to laughing at the game winner. First, the much maligned Derek Stepan, who is one of the leadership core of the team, makes a terrific pass and of all people, Nick Holden snipes Darling top shelf. 2 of the rangers who have taken the most abuse so far this season. Stats say Stepan was 75% on face offs last night. Stepan is overpaid due to Sather’s games of chicken with impending free agents (like Girardi and Staal), but he is 100% class and does more than enough that the Rangers would suffer without him.

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  10. St. Pete, you need to get with the program, this is the worst blog on the interwebs, or at least the worst HAV.

    Great job, James, good coffee read indeed. Raanta won this game almost by himself and AV should play him until he cools off, but another guy who’s catching my eye every game of late is Mr. Fast. I’ve never understood why he catches it here occasionally, solid 2-way guy that he is, and vital on the PK. But now with the injuries, I think he’s stepped it up even more. His effort out there, in all directions, is almost unflagging, and that has to be infectious–gets out there, busts it, gets off. Too bad he got stoned by Darling and Forsling or we’d all be talking about him.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. TYM,
    Stepan is one of those guys people have a blind hatred of. They want him to be more than he is, and when he does not meet those expectations they bash him. We all have our guys. Mine is Fast, Norms is Kreider, and Papa Bears is anybody not named Fast.

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  12. Lets be honest here – if HL was not pulling down 8+ there is no question Auntie would be in goal again. I credit AV for putting him out there as much as he has this season so far. Wish AV would just keep the Miller time line together – it clearly works and splitting them up seems not to bring as much to the other lines. Good to see Oscar getting up to full speed again, hopefully he can leave the bonehead penalties behind. G has been acceptable…and that really has exceeded even my low expectations of a rebound healthy season. He’s a good guy and I hope he can hold it together the rest of the season and not be a total liability again.

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  13. Thanks Norm for setting me straight this blog is a dog’s breakfast! Is Raanta destined to displace the King? Someday it will happen!

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  14. Tired of the Media selling us perpetual doom and gloom, bad omens and pretentious opinion disguised as News. Just heard on radio NY weather report: “Bitter Cold!” 36 degrees is hardly bitter cold unless you are a Saharan lizard.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. James – great read. Excellent write up.

    SN – all guest bloggers stink except for the one whose name starts with E and ends in three, I say to thee, on bended knee, plant a tree, golly gee, you and me, oh say can I see, on the can not doing pee, mr Smee, bumble bee, his or he, hers or she, Sandra Dee, Miller JT, yours ours and we…

    Boyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

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  16. Blind hatred overstates it, Bdl, but I take your point. Kreider, when he remembers how big and fast he is, will occasionally zip down the wing, shield the puck, and drive the circle to the net, doing in other words what every goalie and defender in the world hates. More often than not, you get a shot or force a penalty, and I wish to hell he’d do it more often. Kind of what separates him from Nash. But if all he does is what he’s been doing the last few games, playing hard and moving his feet, he’s an effective Top-6 guy, and that’s sure good enough.

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  17. Kreider’s name has become synonymous with untapped potential…Before long it’ll be passed tense instead of future tense.

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  18. I realize I beat Pirri up pretty last night. Maybe a bit too much. but he’s way too one dimensional as a player. 4th line wing and PP specialist is fine, having to rely on him for responsible top 9 minutes= scary.

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  19. James
    Well done…fwiw I had opie in my 3 stars last night.

    If it came down to pirri or oscar for the last spot in top 12…I’m taking oscar every time. Pirri is an on again off again one trick pony of a player and not worth wasting a 4th line spot on.

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  20. Thanks James, nice review. Thanks TYM for passing along the Ortmeyer piece. The family is a friend of a friend & I just knew that Mom had to be prominent in the article. Good to see he’s got some bidness sense.

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  21. Nice review, James G!!

    I agree on Pirri and Jooris. Both could be AHL’ers if that 4th line plays like that again. If only they could finish……

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  22. James G- You won’t be turning 35 in two weeks. You’ll be turning 26 just like the rest of us.
    TYM- Great article by Ortmeyer. Thanks for posting it.
    SeeDub- That video is too funny. Thank you for posting that, as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Good morning, boneheads!
    Late to the party, sorry.
    Great review, JamesG. Different styles, different approaches. Gotta love it, the worst HAV on the internet.

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  24. Last two games, btw, despite playing short handed ( that doesn’t really describe the situation properly), and resorting to a more defensive approach by default, I felt that they were playing much better in terms of completing their passes, using their speed, and forechecking. I believe Lindberg has all but cemented his 4th line center position. Pirri, once he lost any type of confidence in his shot, isn’t showing anything that may convince AV to keep him in the lineup once everyone is back. And Hrivik certainly deserves a longer look.

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  25. How does Raanta not deserve another start? He stay in until they lose?

    I think Lindberg’s recent play and Hrivik looking ok may spell the end for Jouris and Pirri. They were place holders. Pirri may stay on the roster for PP help. Hrivik and Lindberg can protect the puck and give them zone time that takes pressure off the D who they rally have to protect.

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  26. Lost dr Jooris to ‘zona. Would’ve been nice if he made it through and we stashed him. He’s the kind of guy we’d normally look to add for depth at the deadline.

    Not a bad player. Took some not-so-timely bad penalties. Lindberg is better (though he’s another one that could cut down on the bad penalties)

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  27. Lol cross check…I’m a bit larger than that guy 😉

    Is the current 4th line couch, grouch, and ahl slouch? 😉

    Maybe there is hope hank goes all Roy and requests a trade 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  28. It appears we will be finding for out real soon what Raanta is made of. Ever player (except for maybe Kreider lol) wants to prove he has the ability to be a starter! I for one I’m rooting for him! I don’t think we will ever see Lundqvist go all Roy, but if Raanta takes that next step Hank may ask for a trade. Unfortunately for us I’m not sure anyone would want him, his age, the way he is playing, and cap it being the issue!

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  29. I don’t think it is that big a turning point. They will stick with Raanta while he is hot. Hank will get back in and get a chance to reestablish himself. If he puts Hank in tonight and he doesn’t play well it would put him in a bad spot.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. At the end of the day ( that includes the end of this season too) this team goes exactly as far as Hank takes them. So I’m sure you’re all kidding about making Raanta a permanent starter and hoping that Hank asks for a trade.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Still though, it took some onions to make the call to start Auntie. That part surprises me.

    LGR !!!

    Hate the devils

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  32. I’m not sure it’s creating a controversy, BDL. Or will be a distraction. In fact, it gives them a message that nobody is above the law. Everyone knows Hank isn’t playing well at the moment. Including the rookies. They know they have to earn their spot, it shouldn’t be any different for anyone else

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  33. Any controversy, were it to arise, would be contrived only by media types looking to make a buck. And any coach who operates through fear of media or fear of credulous fans has no business in professional sports.

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  34. Having said all that, I was sure Hank was going to start tonight. So, yes, I’m shocked AV did this. Unless Hank has another bout of migraine like he had a few years back.

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  35. Big fan here! Huge! I love these guys! So we gonna beat them jersey clowns? I think I’m gonna smack around a couple jersey guys before the game. Anyone wanna meet me outside the garden? I see a lot of them yo-yos out here. By the way, I’m freezing my calzones off!!!

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  36. There would absolutely be controversy, IMO, if AV had chosen to sit Raanta after he gave up one goal in six periods. Many would wonder, and rightly so, whether he had lost his marbles.

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