1st Star - AV's contract extension (I'm sure tonight was exactly how he wanted to celebrate it)
2nd Star - Lundqvist's vacation extension (I guess six days wasn't enough, so AV granted him some additional time off tonight)
3rd Star - Tortorella's 3rd period shell defense (without his typical 3rd period defense with a lead, the Rangers are probably shutout)
Post Game Cocktail Recommendation
Since Lundqvist was apparently still on vacation, I guess we'll go with a Piña Colada.
Gif of the Game
When you know it's not going to be your night:
Hate to say it because he's always all effort, but Zucc's selfish retaliatory penalty in the 2nd period could be considered the turning point of the game. Rangers should have been going on the power play with a chance to cut the lead to one. Instead it's 4-on-4 and a 3-0 Blue Jackets lead.
I felt tonight was very reminiscent of the Giants playoff loss against Green Bay this year. You just knew the missed opportunities early were eventually going to come back to bite them. And they did.
Against a team as good as the Blue Jackets, you have to take advantage of the opportunities presented to you or it will cost you.
Kool Aid Man
Whenever I see Dubinsky this is the only thing I can think about...
It never gets old.
All Star Break Messes With Lundqvist
I didn't realize President Trump's temporary immigration ban extended to Swedish citizens as well. Assuming that's why Lundqvist was no where to be found tonight.
In all seriousness, the All Star break really couldn't have come at a worse time for Lundqvist. After weeks of essentially splitting duty with Raanta and not being able to get into a real groove, Lundqvist seemed to rediscover his game after four straight starts to close out the first half of the season.
And now he's back to square one after this latest bout of inactivity has seemingly disrupted his routine once again.
You can make the argument that the first two goals weren't completely Hank's fault, but if the Rangers want to keep pace with the top teams in the Metro he's got to make those saves.
Despite his relapse, I hope AV comes right back with "The King" on Thursday. As I've said, the more Lundqvist plays the better he is.
BTW, did you notice Lundqvist pull a Torts during his post game press conference when he basically shuts it down after 30 seconds...
I got to say, for a guy who's always stood there and took the heat after big loses, this is concerning.
Shameless Plug Alert
This past weekend, I was a guest on two outstanding Rangers podcasts: Real Talk Rangers and The NYR Zone. Subjects included Lundqvist's struggles, trade deadline moves and much more. Give them a listen below:
That's as frustrating as it gets. The Rangers had a real opportunity to make a statement early in this game and they weren't able to capitalize on their chances.
Instead, Columbus scores a flukey goal and the Rangers are playing catch-up all night.
This is the third game in the last month and a half the Rangers have valiantly attempted to dig themselves out of a huge hole but ultimately fell short. And while I appreciate the resiliency, the Rangers likely don't make a run in any of those games without the opponent basically in cruise control. I think every Rangers fan is well aware of Tortorella's third period shell defense with a lead. Not to mention Columbus was playing without two of their top defensemen and their starting goaltender. So take tonight's "comeback" with a grain of salt.
And that's not to say there aren't any positives to take out of the third period offensive outburst as you could literally see the monkey jump off Vesey's back after he scored in the third period.
Where the All Star break hampered Lundqvist, you could tell it did wonders for Vesey, who seemed to have hit the rookie wall. He had a spring to his step from the outset and I give AV credit for bumping him up to a line with Stepan and Nash in the third period in an attempt to jump start the rookie's offense which obviously worked.
After just missing a similar hook up with Vesey in the first period, how about that sweet pass from Skjei on the Grabner goal?
The Rangers defense had looked so good going into the break, I wonder what was different tonight? (cough) no Clendening (cough).
The Rangers now hope to snap their two game losing streak in Buffalo on Thursday.
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