Saturday, February 25, 2017

Rangers 4, Devils 3, OT

The New York Rangers (40-19-2) defeated the New Jersey Devils (25-25-11)  by the score of 4-3 in overtime. For a box score, click here.

3 Stars

1st Star - Redemption (Raanta makes up for two softies with huge OT save & Zibanejad scores game winner mere seconds after being bailed out by said Raanta OT save)
2nd Star - Kevin Klein's back spasms (Without them, Clendo is not in the lineup)
3rd Star - Tanner Glass (For being so bad AV had no choice but to send him to Hartford paving the way for a quality 4th line)

Post Game Cocktail Recommendation

Let's raise our glasses to the Rangers Swedish Connection (Lindberg & Fast) with a Swedish Polar Bear.

Gif of the Game

You can literally see the relief on his face.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Raanta

Strange game for Raanta as he was the sole reason the Rangers weren't down multiple goals in the first five minutes of the game...

Then he single-handedly allowed the Devils back into the game by allowing two goals I'm sure he'd love to have back...

I know some of you want to blame Girardi, but Raanta's got to make that save on the Palmieri goal.

And finally, after some sterling stops towards the end of the third period, Raanta literally saves the game in overtime...

Mental toughness is a huge part of being a successful NHL goaltender and tonight that's exactly what Raanta provided.

Sorry, It Was The Correct Call

Unlike the offsides replay, I am a fan of the goaltender interference review. God knows Rangers fans don't need to experience this again...

Having said that, I thought the officials got Palmieri's second goal correct tonight.

Raanta is barely, if at all, nudged by Wood and it didn't prevent the Rangers netminder from making the save.

Sorry Rangers fans, I just call them like I see them.

More Than Just A Playmaker

I have no idea why Mats Zuccarello hears "Zuuuuuuuuuuuuuc" from Rangers fans in every NHL arena. Oh yeah, this might be why...

This guy is all effort, all the time. Fantastic stuff.

MSG South

Ummmmm, were there any Devils fans at The Rock tonight?

The Skjei Hey Kid

The tying goal from Adam Clendening never happens without Skjei doing his best Willie Mayes impression along the wall to keep the puck in the Devils end...

Pretty sweet outlet on the game winner as well. Remember when Skjei almost didn't make the team out of training camp? Fun times.

Current Standings

If the playoffs ended today, the Rangers would be facing off against the Penguins in the first round for the second straight season.

Rangers Zeroing In On Brendan Smith

If the Rangers decide to wait until the offseason to pursue Kevin Shattenkirk, TSN's Darren Dreger feels they might be interested in trading for Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith at next week's trade deadline...

"The Toronto Maple Leafs are a strong suitor for Shattenkirk. I don’t know what the asking price is, but it’s too high for the Maple Leafs. It’s too high for the New York Rangers, who have dabbled a little bit there. It seems like they’re maybe zeroing in on Brendan Smith of the Detroit Red Wings."

Smith, 28, has 2 goals and 3 assists in 33 games this season and has put up solid possession stats despite being on a terrible Red Wings team. Another plus is that Smith played with both McDonagh and Stepan at Wisconsin, so there will be a comfort level in the Rangers locker room for the Red Wing defenseman.

The only issue is that Smith is left-handed, so there might have to be some shifting in the line-up. However, Smith does play some on the right side in Detroit, so it shouldn't be a deal breaker.

Mini Recap

This Rangers team is never, ever out of a game. Whether the defense is having an off night, the goaltending isn't coming up with the big save or the offense is sputtering, this group seemingly always finds a way to comeback.

With the Rangers up 2-0 in the second period and in total control of the game, Schneider made these two huge saves in a 10-second span which were the catalyst for the Devils own, although ultimately fruitless, comeback. As two minutes later Henrique found the back of the net and the Devils were rolling...

If the Rangers aren't willing to give up assets to acquire Shattenkirk at the deadline, another option (other than Smith) could be giving that guy wearing the Rangers jersey with the #4 on the back a permanent spot in the line-up. He's the only Rangers defenseman above the possession Mendoza Line with a 56% Corsi For while he's second on defense (behind Brady Skjei) with 1.20 Points Per 60 minutes. If Gorton is looking to add some offense to the backend, Clendening might be the best choice out there.

I thought Pirri had another solid game, so be prepared for another Buchnevich scratch tomorrow.

Why is Kreider having a career year? Because he's finally realized that for him to be an effective player he needs to use his superhuman strength around the net.

Right back at it tomorrow evening against the Blue Jackets at MSG.

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