3 Stars1st Star - Passion
2nd Star - Fight
3rd Star - Resiliency
Post Game Cocktail Recommendation
In that frantic third period, a number of Rangers players sacrificed their bodies to block shots. Most notably Dan Girardi and Jesper Fast. I'm assuming both of them needed something to numb the pain afterward. So let's all have a Painkiller to celebrate their efforts.
Gifs of the Game
I try to keep the "Gif of the Game" to just one, but tonight I decided to double your pleasure with two ridiculous plays that contributed mightily to the Rangers victory.
Without this save down 3-2, I'm not sure the Rangers come back to win this game.
Oh yeah, Raanta got a little help from his friends late in the third period as well.
Turning Point of the Game
Ever since the Rangers failed to defend their goaltender in Dallas, I've felt like there's been a malaise surrounding this team. I'm not sure if it was a sense of remorse or possible embarrassment, but they haven't played very inspired hockey of late. That was until this happened...
He may be small in stature, but he's big on heart. As soon as Zuccarello challenged the physically imposing Neil, you could sense that something changed. The Rangers got their toughness back.
Immediately after this scrum, the Rangers came to the aid of Raanta twice and played with an edge for the remainder of the contest. Hell, even Vesey got into his first NHL fight.
I'm not sure what this means going forward, but for one night, it was encouraging to see.
BTW, Staal had to have mentioned something about Avery's "sloppy seconds" to get Phaneuf so incensed, right? Even if he didn't, it's definitely more fun to imagine he did.
Get Out of the Way!!!
Seriously, someone needs to remind the Rangers they've got two pretty good goaltenders on the roster. So please guys, stay out of the damn way so they can track the puck!!!!
Unless Raanta was wearing a leotard with a big "S" on the chest underneath his uniform, there's no way he could have seen either one of these goals tonight.
The DeLury Reverse Mush Part III
In the third installment of the DeLury Reverse Mush (Part I, Part II), here's my tweet after the first period...
Raanta has now given up 12 goals in the last 5 1/2 periods. #whatgoaliecontroversy— Kevin DeLury (@kevindelury) December 28, 2016
Can you guess how many he gave up the remainder of the game?
Fantasy vs. Reality
Asked AV about McDonagh-Girardi. His response: "For the most part Dan and Mac have been good this year. No doubt they start together." #NYR— Sean Hartnett (@HartnettHockey) December 27, 2016
Reality:AV on McDonagh-Girardi: "When Dan is moving his feet, making right reads and playing with an edge, it's a good pair to play vs. top lines."— Sean Hartnett (@HartnettHockey) December 27, 2016
Yep, that's Girardi not only giving the puck away at the blueline, but also getting abused by Karlsson immediately afterward.
When the night begins with an opposing player who hasn't scored in almost a full calendar year burying one on you just two minutes into the game and then it actually gets worse, yeah, that's a bad start.
It's in those dark times that teams look to their leaders for guidance and Derek Stepan put his Messier pants on and paved the way towards victory. He not only lit into the team on the bench, he backed it up with two second period goals to tie up the game. Stepan will be the first to tell you he's had an underwhelming start to the season but with 7 points (4g, 3a) in the last four games, he's heating up right when the team needs him the most.
The final two periods were easily the most entertaining hockey I've watched this season. There was snarl, emotion, post whistle scrums and fights!!! It was almost like real hockey out there. Not to mention a pretty remarkable comeback.
Was most of the Rangers resiliency aided by a sieve in goal for Ottawa? Sure, but they still had to put themselves in position to create offensive chances which they were able to do.
And no one embodied the "every shot is a good shot" mantra more than Nick "Norris" Holden tonight. His two goals (here & here) were a combined one inch above the goal line. And what's funny is that his biggest contribution of the night wasn't even on the scoreboard. It happened in the final minute...
With nothing between Ryan Dzingel and a wide open net, this game seemed destined for overtime. But Holden refused to have his two-goal game reduced to a footnote. Fantastic. Wouldn't mind seeing AV find some top pair minutes for Holden again as he's probably been the Rangers best defenseman of late.
Those two third period penalty kills?
And finally, smart move by the Rangers organization disguising another Lundqvist healthy scratch as the "flu." Stopped a lot of controversy. I kid, I kid. Obviously Lunqvist is going to be back between the pipes in Arizona. I mean, there's no way AV wants to waste his starter against the lowly Coyotes. ;)