1st Star - Benoit Allaire (After a month of inactivity, Raanta was on his game & I have a feeling Allaire was a big reason.)
2nd Star - Chicago Blackhawks (For not being able to sign Kevin Hayes to a rookie contract)
3rd Star - Nashville Predators (For not being able to sign Jimmy Vesey to a rookie contract)
Post Game Cocktail Recommendation
With Boston boy Jimmy Vesey scoring the ridiculous game winner, I've got to go with my personal favorite, Sam Adams Boston Lager.
Gif of the Game
In a such a tight checking, one-goal game, every play matters, so if this puck is one inch over, who knows how last night plays out.
It's always nice to get your starting goaltender back.😋 From the first save of the night, Raanta looked very comfortable in between the pipes despite not starting a game since January 14th. And while the Rangers did an outstanding job keeping the Blue Jackets to the outside and limiting rebound chances, when there was a breakdown, the Finland native was there...
With the Rangers pinned in their own end for the final two minutes (what else is new), Raanta secured the victory with some clutch saves. I find it impossible that Raanta won't be one of Las Vegas' top targets come expansion draft time.
Making It Look Vesey
While his sleight of hand deke faked Bobrovsky out of his jock...
...what I loved most about this play, other than Stepan's pass, was Vesey's celebration afterward...
Kid was pumped! As he should be. After a fast start to his NHL career, Vesey seemed to hit the rookie wall, but the All Star break has done wonders for him. Kudos to AV as well. He quickly identified Vesey had some jump to his step and immediately flipped the lines back to what worked the last few games. This is likely going to be AV's strategy with Vesey/Buchnevich going forward. There's only so many forward positions. A good problem to have.
Seeing the Rangers power play in a Tortorella-esque 2-for-29 funk reminds me of this amazing YouTube video...
So what does Dan Girardi have to say to his detractors after his YUUUUUGE short-handed goal last night?
What are the Rangers doing winning this game?!?!? Do they want the first Wild Card and a date with the flawed Canadiens or a #3 seed in the Metro Division and a Penguins/Capitals guantlet? Let's get it together boys.
What an amazing individual effort by Hayes on his breakaway goal. "Effort" was not a word used very often to describe Hayes' game last season. However this year he is ALL effort. Very impressed by a guy who seems to be figuring out what it takes to be a successful NHL player.
The Rangers five game winning streak coming into this game was against competition beneath them in the standings, so continuing the streak against a real solid team has my ever growing confidence in this team reaching new heights.
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