The New York Rangers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 at MSG. For a box score, click here.
Hi Rick Nash! Nice to see you again!
While watching the game against the Senators, someone asked me to name one Ranger who was playing well. I replied Nash. They looked at me like I was nuts but I felt he was at least trying during whatever that mess was. He continued that same play tonight. The difference was he managed to do this:
If he did that more often, there wouldn’t be people trying to trade him on a daily basis.
That came at the start of the third period and helped to finally wake the team up. The Canes were clearly on their heels and the Rangers took advantage by dominating play in the final frame. Before that? It looked like the Rangers streak of beating the Hurricanes at MSG was going to end.
The first period was much of the same from the other night. The Hurricanes stood up in the neutral zone and the Rangers looked clueless as to how to get passed them. Oh and Viktor Stalberg scored two goals. That would’ve been fine if this was two seasons ago. Instead it had the sparse crowd at MSG collectively rolling their eyes.
But the second period brought about a slight change – the Rangers started to attempt a “dump and chase” style where they actually chased the puck into the zone. It wasn’t great but there was life. And the fans at MSG got to hear the goal song halfway through the period.
Then came the third period. It started with the Nash play above. The Rangers would get their first power play of the night eight minutes later. Sorry, that was a power kill that somehow lost any momentum for either team after it ended. Lindberg and Hanifin would go for coincidental roughing minors a minute later. If I’m being honest, Lindberg probably should have had an extra minor as well.
With that winding down, Ron Hainsey got tied up with Ryan McDonagh. The Rangers captain went down and the referee called a hook on the Canes defenseman. Hainsey went berserk, screaming at the referee for the call. The referees response was to call an additional minor for unsportsmanlike conduct. I’m just going to assume there were some R rated words in that tirade as that’s the only thing that gets a referee to call the additional penalty. After the game, the 35-year old veteran who has been in the NHL long enough to experience two lockouts was extremely mature when discussing the play. And by “extremely mature”, I mean he was the exact opposite:
I’m sorry but if I were a Canes fan or player, that response would infuriate me. A veteran player should know better. You don’t agree with the call, fine. But there’s other ways to respond than “I’m right, he’s wrong. That’s it.” In watching the replay, I can see why the referee called a hook and why Hainsey felt there wasn’t one. Not sure what you call that if looking straight at it (referee who called it was watching players from behind) but it’s definitely a penalty. And even if it’s not, you still keep your mouth shut. As I said, players have to say a lot to get that additional minor.
With under seven minutes remaining, it was clear that was the game right there. The Rangers needed to score. And they did, with time winding down on the original penalty. Carolina challenged the play was offsides but fortunately for the Rangers, it was deemed inconclusive so the original call stood. The home team managed to kill the remaining five minutes to get their 12th consecutive win at MSG vs the Hurricanes.
Was it pretty? Other than Nash’s goal, no. But you don’t get style points. And hopefully their play in the third period gave them some confidence. We’ll find out on Thursday when they visit the Buffalo Sabres for Jack Eichel’s second game of the season. He already has a goal and an assist so the Rangers are going to have to find a way to shut him down if they want a chance at a winning streak.
(Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)