1st Star - Antti Raanta (I think I'm sensing a trend here)
2nd Star - Distinct Kicking Motion Rule (Toronto war room showing the Rangers some love again)
3rd Star - Henrik Lundqvist (Without his struggles, Raanta wouldn't be able to thrive)
Post Game Cocktail Recommendation
In honor of Brady Skjei's first NHL goal, I got to go with some Schaefer beer. Get it? Skjei and Schae? They have the same sound? Oh forget it.
Gif of the game
Speaking of Skjei, got to love the gauntlet celebration.
Where have you gone, Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko? Seriously, what happened to the once Great Rangers/Devils rivalry? It's barely at a whimper. It's likely due to the Devils lackluster play these last few seasons, so let's hope by the end of the year the two teams are near or at the top of the standings and we get some more of this:
My under-rated favorite play of the game
Sticking with the fighting theme, I absolutely loved Kevin Klein standing up for Skjei when he was jumped by two Devils. Throwing bombs!!!
The Henrik Lundqvist Situation
To me, there is no situation. Lundqvist is still the starting goaltender, but, at this point, AV has no choice but to stick with the hot hand. I mean, how can he not? Raanta is the hottest goaltender on the planet, plus how unfair would it be to insert Lundqvist into a no win situation by starting him Tuesday against the Blackhawks. Could you imagine the pressure on Hank to be perfect? Sure, we've seen Lundqvist thrive under immense pressure in the playoffs (Mr. Game 7), but it's a completely different kind of internal stress when you've begun to doubt your game.
My advice to AV is to run Raanta out there until he eventually falters and then return the King to his rightful place on the throne.
BTW, how demoralizing would it have been if Raanta lost tonight's shutout on this:
Pretty sure the only person who was rooting for that to trickle into the net was Lundqvist. I kid. I kid.
With all the injuries, it's been gut check time and players are stepping up in the face of adversity. Whether it's top six guys like Kreider, Zucc, Miller and Hayes or role players such as Lindberg and Hrivik, the Rangers forwards have begun to dominate play again.
And sure, the much maligned defense hasn't been perfect, but the shot totals against have been significantly less the last three games, not to mention the just one goal allowed. Hey, maybe it's Lundqvist negatively impacting the defense, not vice versa. #mindblow
How about this stat, the average age of the five Rangers goals tonight was 23.5. Remember how old this team felt after being eliminated by the Penguins last year? Not anymore.
Meanwhile, the Rangers penalty kill is officially more dangerous than their power play was last season. I have no idea what happened to Grabner up in Toronto, but I'm glad it's working out on Broadway.
FYI, the Rangers are 2-0-0 since my return to blogging.
Let me hear your thoughts in the comments section.