Friday, February 27, 2015

Hey! Look Who Is On Top

It was an entertaining game, but frankly I found it hard to distinguish with who was the team shooting for the top and who was the team in the dregs of the NHL. It was hard to believe that the Rangers were 33 points better than the Coyotes. After the 'Yotes took a 3-1 lead after one period it was more baffling. Another early goal, 41 seconds in, and here we go again. Arizona got 17 shots on goal in the first period. Where was the Ranger D? What is it with this quick opening game goals?

But, that was it for the Rangers and Talbot settled down. He made 37 saves, 23 in the last two periods. The Arizona goalie, Mike Smith, had 34 saves and gave up two key goals to Kreider and Stempniak, the game winner, on rebounds he couldn't control. In frustration he shattered his stick after Kreider's goal, which tied the game at three with twelve seconds left in the second period. It wasn't his fault. Kreider torched the Coyote defense.

There is a food fight among Ranger loyalists over Cam Talbot's performance. It is a non-issue. The Rangers haven't collapsed with the loss of The King and in fact have gone 9-1-2 with Talbot and Skapski (one game) in the nets. Sure, Talbot has given up a couple of softies, but haven't all goalies?

The Rangers are now on top of the heap in the Metro, tied in points with the Islanders, having two games in hand. New York, New York. But, it gets to be fun coming up. The Flyers in Philadelphia on Saturday. The NHL's best, Nashville, at home Monday and then the "old rival" Red Wings at Hockey Town on Wednesday. And then.......the Islanders.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Rangers Roundup

Some interesting stuff that caught our eye.

Tom Dianora / Hockey Writers:
Derick Brassard: The Rangers’ Unsung Hero --

Henrik Lundqvist. Rick Nash. Martin St. Louis. Derek Stepan. Mats Zuccarello. Ryan McDonagh. Dan Girardi. Marc Staal. These are the names that come to mind when one generally thinks about the leaders on the New York Rangers, and the top players who drive the team’s success.

There is another player, however, who is second on the team in scoring this season, yet for whatever reason does not receive the same level of attention or praise as these other names. That player is center Derick Brassard...
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Steven Loffredo  / Hockey Writers:
Is Cam Talbot a Number 1 Goalie? --
The New York Rangers are 7-1-2 since Cam Talbot took over as starter in place of injured Henrik Lundqvist. Talbot’s record is solid, but the whole experience hasn’t been a cake walk. Now we examine if Talbot’s performance puts him in a position to be considered a number one goalie...
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Michael Torsiello  / Hockey Writers:
Rangers Playing Strong in February; Making It Hard on Opponents -- 
This is the first time since the 70′-71′ season that the New York Rangers have had multiple goalies with 4 shutouts in one season since Giacomin and Villemure...
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NHL.com:
Primer: Get to know new enhanced stats on NHL.com --

  • SHOT ATTEMPTS (Corsi) -- Puck possession has always been important in hockey, but analysts have proven how valuable it can be. Shot attempts are the best proxy for understanding and quantifying puck possession....
  • UNBLOCKED SHOT ATTEMPTS (Fenwick) -- This is very similar to shot attempts, but with one caveat: Blocked shots are not counted. Shot attempts are three types of shots (shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots), and unblocked shot attempts are two types of shots (shots on goal and missed shots)... 
  • SPSV% (PDO) -- "Puck luck" is a term that's used with ambiguity in hockey, but by adding on-ice shooting percentage and on-ice save percentage (SPSV%, also known as PDO) it gives us a statistic that measures that concept. The idea was developed by Brian King, who began using it in comments on Barnes' blog under the username PDO.
  • ZONE STARTS -- A coach is unable to choose which players he sends out for a faceoff after his team ices the puck, but there are plenty of other situations when he makes those decisions. And who a coach chooses to deploy in certain situations can offer insight about strategy or willingness to trust a player's defensive acumen...
  • MODIFYING STATISTICS -- A majority of these statistics are viewed primarily in even-strength situations; there are other modifying terms and filters used to gain a further understanding of certain areas of the game. One of these concepts is a "relative" statistic; in this example, shot attempts relative (formerly known as CorsiRel). What this statistic shows is how a player is performing relative to his team's average.
  • RATES -- Much like different players are deployed in different situations based on defensive accountability and strategy, players also receive different amounts of ice time. By using rate statistics, we can view skaters on a level playing field and compare them based on the same criteria...
Though Rick Nash of the New York Rangers didn't finish in the top 40 in goals scored last season, he ranked fifth in even-strength goals per 60. Nash missed time last season because of an injury, playing 65 games, but was one of the most efficient even-strength goal scorers when he was on the ice.

This season, Nash leads skaters in even-strength G/60 by a wide margin and is in contention for the Rocket Richard Trophy. The second name on that list, rookie Mike Hoffman of the Ottawa Senators, might surprise some people.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cam Ekes Out Shutout Win

It wasn't pretty, but it was a win. Two points, baby, two points. Kevin Hayes who scored the only goal of the game, his 12th, called it a playoff game. Huh? He probably was carried away by his goal. A more thoughtful evaluation was that of Marc Staal: "Probably better watching paint dry." The Rangers got 28 shots on goal, the Flames 21. Never critique a win.

The Rangers are 8-1-2 since Lundqvist went down and are breathing hot and heavy on the Islanders necks. They are two points behind with three games in hand. They are now three points ahead of the Pens in the Metro and have a game in hand. They are only three points behind East Conference leader Montreal with the Rangers having one game in hand. However, the Canadiens have goalie Carey Price a tough nut for the Rangers to crack.

Give the Rangers credit. First, Lundqvist and now Nash go down. Hopefully Nash, neck spasms, will return against the Coyotes Thursday. The Rangers brought up Oscar Lindberg from Hartford and he got all of 8:18 of ice time centering Hagelin and JT Miller. Hopefully the coffee was hot.

With twenty-three games to go it's really down to a game at a time. The Rangers have to hang on til the King comes back and hopefully Nash's injury is minor. So others have to step up. Kudos to Talbot and Hayes who stepped up big last night. Watching paint dry can be painful.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Rangers Puck One Out

The coach says never critique a win. So here we go, sorry coach. The Rangers blew another lead, 3-0, and almost blew the game. Cam Talbot saved the game in the shootout when he poked the puck away from Atkinson, who was trying to tie the shoot out. But, Talbot caused the game to go into OT when he blew a slap shot from David Savard at 15:41 of the third period.

The Rangers powered by two goals from St. Louis jumped to a 3-0 lead at 1:24 of the second. But less than a minute later the Blue Jackets scored and it was helter skelter the rest of the game. The Rangers out shot Columbus 37-30, but were out played by their inferior opponents. Columbus sits in 7th place in the Metro with 56 points. The Rangers have 78 points. Brandon Dubinsky enjoyed his return belting his exes at will. He lead his team with four hits.

The Rangers are now in sole possession of 2nd place in the Metro, two points behind the Islanders  with three games in hand. They are three points behind Eastern Conference leader Montreal and the Rangers have a game in hand. Next up for the Rangers are the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. The Flames are 4th in the Pacific with 68 points.

The Rangers are 7-1-2 since Lundqvist went down, but not all the games have been pretty. Sixteen points out of twenty is great, but the Rangers must tighten it up a bit. There are twenty four games to go. The goals are high. The rewards great. Let's tighten up and continue to move up.

But the coach is right. Never critique a win.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Red Headed Kid With The Black Hat

Mackenzie Skapski wears the Broadway Hat
Talk about milestone days. Twenty year old Mackenzie Skapski had a bunch. It was his father, Denis, 47th birthday. Birthdays? The kid was born on the day that the Rangers won the Cup in 1994. Skapski started the season playing in the Eastern League, moved up to Hartford in the American Hockey League and wound up playing for the NHL Rangers. I don't think anyone else has ever done that. Look it up.

The game started poorly for Skapski. Fourteen seconds in the Sabres, Matt Moulson, scored as the Rangers blundered in their own end. It was probably a blessing in disguise as the Rangers totally controlled the puck for the first two periods. The Rangers out shot the Sabres 31-12 and played most of the first two period in the Buffalo zone. The third period was more competitive  with a 13-12 Sabre edge. Skapski had 24 saves, the Sabre goalie, Michael Neuvirth had 40 saves.

The kid may have been nervous at the start but he over came that quickly. He spent every time out at the Ranger bench, chatting and fist pumping. Other timeouts were spent talking to the officials. This kid is no blushing wall flower. The kid has a personality and he brought it out full time in this game.

More important. He won the game and got the Rangers those coveted two points. The Rangers are three points behind the Islanders and have two games in hand. The Islanders have just tied the Caps with 47 seconds left. So after the game the Ranger gave the red headed kid the famous black hat, which is symptomatic of the star of the game. He sure was. Here's to the Red Headed Kid with the Black Hat.

The Rangers are 8-1-2 since the King went down. Fortunately, the two Princes,Cam and Mackenzie have held up well. Hail Sir Cam. Hail Sir Mackenzie. Lets keep it going. They are in a shootout on the Island. The Caps won the shoot out 1-0. Caps are tied with Rangers for 2nd with 78 points. The Rangers have three games in hand. The Rangers are four points behind the Islanders and have three games in hand. Stay tuned.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Rangers Blow One

As I am posting this it is 7 degrees in beautiful downtown Islip with a wind chill of minus 12. Where is Al Gore and Mike Bloomberg when we need them? Probably on the beaches of Hawaii complaining about the rising surf and the brutal sun. But I digress.

The Rangers blew one last night with inconsistent play that let the Canucks Henrik Sundin tie the game with two minutes left in it. They then lost it in the shootout, 2-0. Cam Talbot made 24 saves, but that was one short of what he should have made and perhaps quieting the Ranger faithful, who are starting to moan about Lundqvists absence.

The Rangers continued their strong offense, but also continued their defensive lapses. The goal scorers were Stepan(11), Nash(36), St. Louis(16), and Hagelin(13). The Rangers gave up too many scoring chances and scoring chances eventually lead to goals. Think about this. The last five games the Rangers have scored 27 goals and have given up 18 goals and have a 4-0-1 record. A flip here or there and the record could easily be 1-4-0.

Now back to Talbot. Scream all you like, but his record since taking over from the King is 5-1-2 with a GAA of 3.10 and a save % of .894. Yes the stats should be better, but part of it is the team play around him. I say part of it because he has made a few blunders. But remember, we are now second in the Metro and fourth in the Eastern Conference. So give the kid a break and let's tighten up our D and play more consistent hockey.

Tonight it's in snowy, cold Buffalo. Think Al and Mike will be there?

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ICINGS:

Here's an itch that should not be scratched.

Tom Jones / TampaBay.com (Feb 14, 2015):
Ex-Lightning coach John Tortorella itching to coach again --
"Yeah, I want to coach again,'' Tortorella said. "I hope I get that chance, and if I don't, well, then, that's just the way it is and I'll move on. But I do want to coach again."

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Yes! We Can Beat The Big Guys

Back on January 30th, I posted that we can't beat the big guys in the East. Since then we beat the Bruins 3-1 and last night we hit the heights, a come from behind 6-5 over the Islanders on Long Island. The Rangers came back from three two goal deficits to cap the win. It was a great game and one sunny summer night it will be shown as a classic. Very happy to be proven wrong.

Neither team was bashful. The Rangers got 42 shots on goal. the Islanders 43. However, in a twist both teams shot blanks on the power play. The Rangers were 0-2 and the Isles 0-3.The Rangers scorers were McDonagh, two, Kreider, Stepan, St.Louis and Klein. Talbot made 38 saves, Halak  made 36. Both goalies will be excused if they went into hiding after being shell shocked. Talbot goes again Thursday against Vancouver. The Isles have a game tonight vs Carolina.

This was a classic game and the way the Rangers came back was exciting. No carping by the Islanders on a supposed Kreider trip on Boychuk is going to diminish the victory. What was encouraging to me was Stepan and St. Louis stepping up in the third period with goals to erase the Isles two goal lead. And what more can we say about "Old Reliable" Kevin Klein. the bargain basement beauty.  McDonagh, Kreider, Steapan, St. Louis and Klein all had two points each.

The Rangers are now in second place in the Metro, two points behind the Islanders, with the Rangers having two games in hand. They have scored 22 goals in the last four games. The teams had the crowd in a frenzy as the Rangers were well represented including Nicholas and his mom. The Islander crowd kept chanting, "You can't beat us." Well folks, we can. And we did.

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ICINGS:

Maybe the old Nassau Coliseum comes down some day, but the parking lot needs to be saved. #HistoricSite

NY Daily News:
Islanders fan tells story of how son was conceived in Nassau Coliseum parking lot


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Rangers Unbeaten Out West

The Rangers are unbeaten west of the Mississippi River. Count 'em. The Rangers have won road games at St. Louis, Colorado, Anaheim, San Jose, Los Angeles and Arizona. Add in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary and it is a sweep of the continental west. Not bad for a road weary team. What about Dallas you say? Well, Dallas is really an eastern city. The saying in Texas is that the west starts in Fort Worth, which is 30 miles west of Dallas. So, we'll ignore that trifling Dallas loss for the sake of a good headline.

This latest run which also includes a win at Toronto has shown off the Rangers offensive prowess, 16 goals in three games, and excellent goaltending. Cam Talbot played his finest game in relief of Henrik Lundqvist, who must really be thinking about coming back sooner rather than later. Cam stoned Coyote Tobias Rieder on a penalty shot enroute to a 34 shot save for a 4-1-1 record in Lundqvists absence.

The Rangers scored four goals in the third period to blow the game open. It was 1-1 going into the third with the one Ranger goal on a beautiful rush, by Chris Kreider, putting in a backhander. The other goals were by Nash, NHL best 35, Hayes, Stempniak and Staal. Nash and Hayes were highlight goals. Nash is now 6th in scoring with 55 points, 8 points behind Patrick Kane. The next Ranger is Derek Brassard who is 41st with 43 points. However lately, Kreider, Hayes and Zuccarello are starting to step it up. On the down side Stepan and St. Louis are really going south.

The Rangers are now 6th in the Eastern Conference with 71 points. They are two ahead of the Caps with two games in hand. They are one behind the Pens and Red Wings with one game in hand. They are three points behind Tampa Bay with three games in hand. They are four points behind the Isles with two games in hand. They are five points behind first place Montreal with one game in hand.

If the season ended today the Rangers would play Tampa Bay who has beaten us three out of three. Not good. I think The Stealth ought to find a way to keep the Dads at all the games. It sure helps. Keeps the players from carousing at nights, he says with a smile on his face. We should keep this going. If the fathers can't make it maybe we could get uncles and aunts and cousins. Well, you get the idea.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, it's the Islanders Monday night at the old, and I do mean old, Coliseum. Remember guys. Skate hard, have fun and get a big win. Let's Go Rangers!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Rangers Have Rocky Mountain High

No, they didn't smoke the funny stuff, they just are on an offensive streak and oh yeah, their fathers showed up. You know what happens when fathers show up. Delight, that they are there. Fright that they are there. Skate hard! Stay on the puck! Shoot! Hit 'em! Pass, pass, pass! You shoulda......! Well you know what I mean. But these are pros. And they are still our Dads.

The Rangers are back on a roll. Maybe the road does it. They are now 5-1-1. Since Lundqvist went down we are 3-1-1 with Talbot in the nets. Last night he made 26 saves. The game was loosely played. The Rangers have now scored 11 goals in two games. Last nights scorers were Boyle, Hayes, Zuccarello, Hagelin and Nash with his NHL leading 34 goals. Nine Rangers had points so the Dads were happy.

I always thought that with Talbot in the nets the Rangers would play a tighter more disciplined game, but I was wrong. Nash has been solid, and Hayes and Zuccarello are starting to pick it up. Now if we can get St. Louis to pick it up and Kreider and Stepan to be more consistent we may have something here.

The trip goes to Arizona Saturday, as do the Dads. Then its a big, critical one on the Island, Monday night. Should be a dandy, Jim. Meanwhile the tour with the Dads continue. If this keeps up they should think about keeping the Dads here for the rest of the year. If not, they should leave recordings, Skate hard! Stay on the puck! Shoot! Hit 'em! Pass, pass, pass! You shoulda........! I always add, have fun!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Rangers "Zuke" Maple Leafs

You don't want to be a goalie when the Rangers play the Maple Leafs. In the three games played, Leafs have won two, the teams have combined for 27 goals, nine per game. The games are played like one big shootout. The goalies might well be standing in front of firing squads. Last night the Rangers fired 39, scored five and the Leafs shot 34, scored four. Of course more were shot. A variety of misses and blocks. All in all a lively scrimmage that more resembled pond hockey.

Mats Zuccarello who has been admonished to shoot more, did, and was rewarded with two goals, 9th and 10th, including the game winner with about six minutes left in the third period. Other goal scorers were Boyle (7), Hayes (8) and Dominic Moore (5). The premiere goal scorer, Rick Nash, became a play maker notching three assists. Brassard had two assists, as did Staal. Nine different Rangers had points. It was fun. It was awful. It was two points.

Cam Talbot doesn't seem right. This is not the same guy who put up all the gaudy numbers prior to becoming number one. The high shot, over the shoulder, seems to be a problem for him. Now, I still have confidence he can do the job, maybe he needs a rest to rethink and regroup. The Leaf's goalie, James Reimer, out played Talbot, and kept the Leafs in the game especially in the first two periods when he stopped 27 of 31 shots.

But all is great when you get the two points. The Rangers are now in third in the Metro, a point behind the Pens, with two games in hand. The Rangers are four behind the first place Islanders, with two games in hand. They meet next Monday. It's getting interesting.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Stars Outplay Rangers

Well this weather is really rocking the East. Today it was ice making the traveling treacherous. Thank God for global warming, or is it climate change or is it just what the weather wants to do when it wants to do it. Very frustrating.

Speaking of frustrating did you see the Rangers last night? Came out flat as pancakes. The Rangers got five shots in the first period. The Stars were no bargain, also getting only five shots. It was a dandy, Jim. Actually it was awful. It didn't get much better and the Rangers entered the third period trailing 2-1. The coach even benched two of his stars in the second period, St. Louis and Stepan.

The third period saw a Ranger revival where they out shot Dallas 20-2 and tied the game on a goal by Chris Kreider with 1:20 left in the third. Actually the Rangers were lucky on that one as an over energetic Dallas goalie, Kari Lehtonen came way out of his net to step a harmless shot way wide of the goal. He scrambled to get back to his net when Kreider put in an easy rebound to tie the score.

You would have thought that the Rangers would roar out of the gate for the OT. But it was Dallas and veteran Alex Hemsky who scored the winner as the Rangers were in chase mode in their zone and it was all over at 1:02 of OT. Thank goodness they are heading for a three game road trip to Toronto, Colorado and Arizona. They have been good on three game trips like Western Canada and California.

Cam Talbot made twenty two saves and now is 5-5-1. Save for the Bruins game, Ranger win, the team has gone in a trance since Lundqvist got hurt. Lundqvist has a vascular injury, less sore neck and less headaches. Thank God it wasn't more serious. I expect him back in two more weeks. He is the ultimate competitor and it's hard for me to see him being out for a long time. Say prayers, think positive.

ICINGS: The T/Birds traveled to Brewster, New York to play Hudson Valley in what was supposed to be an outdoor game. A Winter Classis of sorts. However, the weather didn't cooperate and they played indoors. The T/Birds won 5-1, enhancing their chances for a playoff spot. A sad note on the passing of Dean Smith, legendary coach of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels. A true gentleman, great coach, who led the Tar Heels to two national championships. Condolences to the Smith family and God Bless.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Sour Note In Music City

It was game two in LWL (life without Lundqvist) and if that wasn't bad enough Derek Stepan was out with the flu. Oh yes, Jesper Fast sprained his knee and left the game with 12:47 left in the second period. Except for the usual brain dead defense lapse, the Rangers played okay and might have won. But no dice and don't expect any Grammy's tonight.

The brain dead lapse was a 41 second killer in the second period when two slap shots from Roman Josi and Shea Weber  gave the Preds a 2-1 lead. Remember the Bruins scored two in 1;41 the last game against the Rangers where our guys prevailed 3-2. No such luck this time. Mike Ribeiro got the game winner for the Peds, who are a point behind Anaheim in the Western Conference.

The Rangers have to come up with a way to stop these lapses. Hopefully Derek Stepan will be back today against the Dallas Stars, who beat us 3-2 in Dallas. Dallas is five points behind 8th place Vancouver. The Rangers out shot the Preds 32-23 and Nash scored his 33rd. McDonagh's 4th tied the game early in the third but Ribeiro won it for the Peds. Nash's goal was a power play goal and the Rangers were 1-2 on the PP. The Preds were 0-1 on the power play in a game that was basically five on five. Unfortunately for the Rangers the loss of top playmaker Stepan was too much.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Rangers Make A Statement

The Rangers hit the jackpot Wednesday night. They won a big game. They beat a top team, that was hot. They made a statement. They out hustled, out hit, out scored the big bad Bruins in a 3-2 win. They fell behind, but came roaring back. Their defense was crisp and they won the game with their backup goalie, Cam Talbot.

Now they go to Nashville to face the Predators, the number two team in the NHL with a chance to send another message, make another statement. The Rangers are three points behind the first place Islanders and have two games in hand on the Isles. They are two points behind the second place Pens and have two games in hand. They seemed to have shaken off their blahs and are now back to playing good hockey. They have won three straight.

With Lundqvist out, Cam Talbot is the man. Though he has only played in 33 games, ten this year, he has proven to be a solid goalie. Career wise he has a 1.81 GAA and a save % of .935. This year he is 5-4-1 with a GAA of 2,14 and a save % of .924. So he can do the job. Forget those rumors of going into the market for a backup for the injured Lundqvist. There is no one available that is as good as Talbot. And what would we have to give up?

With 33 games to go the Rangers seem poised to make a run at the top spot in the Metro, three points behind. They are seven points behind the top spot in the East, Tampa Bay, and that may be out of reach right now, but who knows. The main goal is to keep playing upbeat, sixty minute hockey, one shift at a time, from here to the end.

The one minus to me is the benching of JT Miller, the last two games. He should be playing. But that is a subject for another day. Right now we are making a statement. We are good and we are a force to be reckoned with. Let's keep it going. Let's Go Rangers!

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Big Bad Bruins Visit MSG

As Chadwick would phrase it, "it's going to be a dandy Jim," tonight at the Garden. At least I hope it's a dandy. The Rangers must bring their "A" game. What's that old line? Go first class or stay home. The Rangers, who have not done well against the top teams in the East have a chance to make a big statement tonight. "We believe that we can beat anybody," said Lundqvist. Well, here is your chance baby. Go do it.

The Bruins come in on a 8-1-1 roll and are making their move in the Atlantic, eight points behind Tampa Bay, with two games in hand. In the only meeting of the year, the Bruins won decisively 3-0. They are big, strong and tough. But the game is not about the Bruins, it's about the Rangers.

After going 16-2-0, the Rangers have floundered going 2-2. Successive shutouts by the Islanders and Canadiens were followed by two so-so wins against the Canes and Panthers. The Rangers were awful in their 6-3 win over the Panthers. They blew a 3-1 lead before coming back to beat the Panthers with a third period rally.

Once a rock the defense has struggled. Ryan McDonagh was a big culprit against the Panthers and his game this year has been lacking the crispness he has shown in the past. The defense has to return to its rock solid past. Lundqvist needs to be protected, not screened. The D has to stop chasing the puck and players and play positional hockey, clearing rebounds.

Offensively the forwards must pressure, pressure, pressure. Sixty minutes of fast paced hockey. Sixty minutes. Don't take a minute off. Don't miss a shift. This could be the game of the year for the Rangers, Let's make a statement tonight.

Let's Go Rangers!

Update, Lundvist out:
Rangers Report:  Cam Talbot will start against Boston .... Lundqvist has upper-body injury

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Hurtn' Hank Handles Canes

Ouch, that one hurt. Seeing the King writhing in pain in the goal crease for several minutes after taking a wicked shot to the throat, was a fright night sight. But, it was all okay, it was only a flesh wound. After a few minutes the King bounced up, got his wind back, and then sucked the air out of the Hurricanes. Rangers win 4-1. Just another day at the office for Lundqvist, right? Not too bad, if your job required you to take a karate chop to the wind pipe and then perform at the highest level. What can we say? Hank, we are way not worthy.

Aside from Hank's heroics, the Rangers decided to provide their King with some offensive support. The Harvard boy, Dominic Moore (4), showed a super sweet deke move on the Ranger's second goal. McDonagh had the assist. It was an impressive short-handed goal, and eventual game winner, that was so out of character you did a double take. That was Dominic Moore? No way. It was like a tackle eligible play in the NFL, where your offensive tackle grabs a one-handed touchdown pass. Nice job out of you Mr. Moore.

Rick Nash (29) continued to steam roll through this season, with the team's first goal. It was unassisted, softee that the Carolina keeper, Cam Ward, just waved at. Thank you very much Mr. Ward.

The Boston College connection Kevin Hayes to Chris Kreider (11), scored the Rangers third goal. Mats Zuccarello had the second assist. This was an important goal, with implications beyond the outcome of this game. Let's pray that Coach AV gives us more of this line combination. If the Rangers are going to play smurfs like Zuccarello and St. Louis, they need to be teamed up with size and strength. Chris Kreider (6'3", 226lbs) and Kevin Hayes (6'5", 225lbs) provide the counterweight to balance a creative shifty smurf like Mats Zuccarello (5'7", 179lbs). Is this the recipe for a strong second half? Cook some more please Mr. Vigneault.

Hobbits + large humans = victory
The Rangers' fourth goal, Dan Boyle (5) from Hagelin and Fast, 21 seconds after Kreider's goal closed the door and gave Lundqvist his 333rd career win. This puts him in a tie with Nikolai Khabibulin for 20th on the NHL’s all-time wins list.

ICINGS:  Did Lundqvist have mixed feelings about being left off the All-Star roster? Disappointed that he was not selected, but not that upset that he was spared the goalie roast. If you are an All-Star quality goalie, why go to a goal festival? It's not a game. They put an apple in the goalie's mouth, tie him to a spit, and then slow roast him in front of the world? How does that help your confidence and self esteem?

via SNY Rangers:
How the lines ended up shaking out last night -- In the middle of last night’s game against the Hurricanes, Alain Vigneault changed up the lines so that they were:
  • Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Marty St. Louis
  • Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello
  • Carl Hagelin, Derick Brassard, Jesper Fast
  • Tanner Glass, Dominic Moore, JT Miller