The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the New York Rangers 2-1 at MSG. For a box score, click here.
Oh hi Chicago Blackhawks! Aren’t we in different conferences? Didn’t we just see you? It’s only been four days, why does your team look different?
I’ve kind of gotten used to the fact that these two teams always play their games close to each other but I will never understand why. Anyway, tonight was a little different from Friday night. Same two backups still in net, but tonight it was the Ranger without their captain rather than the Blackhawks. Toews and Seabrook quietly returned to the lineup while the Rangers lost McDonagh to the dreaded flu. He came out for warmups so I’m not sure how bad it was or if we should expect him to miss any additional time. Not sure I can say he was missed, but the team probably could have used his help.
I’m honestly not sure how to recap this one so I’m just going to point out a few things.
Brady Skjei got very lucky when he was clipped in the face with Marian Hossa’s skate late in the first period. He wouldn’t return till late in the second period and was wearing a full face shield when he did return.
Ouch is an understatement. I didn’t see an update after the game but he did play a regular shift in the third. Not that players should need or be given excuses but he looked a little off after his return, which probably explains why he wasn’t out there in the final minute with the Rangers trying to tie the game. Can’t really blame him for that either.
Once again the goaltending was absolutely more than you would expect with two backups in net. Really makes you wonder what the score would’ve been if it was Lundqvist vs Crawford. Speaking of which, I do expect Lundqvist back this week and not because of anything Raanta did tonight. But because the #1 goalie is going to get to play whether fans like it or not. Raanta was good again tonight (neither goal was on him) but he wasn’t anything spectacular. Honestly wouldn’t surprise me to see Lundqvist back on Thursday.
Jesper Fast scored the only Rangers goal midway through the second, after the Blackhawks had taken the lead three minutes earlier. There was a review of the play but no one in the building (nor beat writers on either side) could figure out what they were reviewing. But we all enjoyed them saying the call on the ice stood when there was no call on the ice. And full marks to the MSG crowd for insisting on singing the goal song when they had to cut it short cause play started again. Unfortunately a miscue with a little over a minute to go was the difference. I’m honestly not sure what Holden, Fast and Hrivik were doing but somehow they surrounded Anisimov yet none of them picked him up before he was able to put in the game winner.
I would discuss special teams but there was only one penalty that resulted in a power play and nothing happened for the Blackhawks on that. I honestly have no idea how the Rangers didn’t end up with a too many men on the ice penalty tonight as their line changes were atrocious. Somehow the Blackhawks got one at the same time Kreider was called for boarding Hartman. (Originally I thought it was a bad hit but on replay, two minutes were fine. Miller had a hit on Hjalmarsson later in the game that was worse to me.) Maybe the Hawks didn’t see Hartman down on the ice so thought they needed another player?
As for the rest of the game:
Personally, I found the game to be sloppy and even said to someone that this would make a horrible playoff series. But I seem to be in the minority. It would be nice to see these two teams play each other with full rosters so hopefully that series that they’ve danced around for years finally does come true. I will admit it didn’t feel like tonight would be the Blackhawks only visit to the Garden this year so we’ll see.
Next up, the Rangers head on the road for two more games against the central division. First up, a trip to Dallas for their first meeting with the Stars on Thursday night.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)