<![CDATA[The New York Rangers (42-22-2) defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning (30-26-9) by the score of 1-0 in overtime. For a box score, click here.
1st Star – Tanner
2nd Star – Mother F’n
3rd Star – Glass
Post Game Cocktail Recommendation
In recognition of the Rangers finally banging bodies into the boards, I’ve got to go with a Harvey Wallbanger.
Gif of the Game
The heroes embrace…
It didn’t take long for the second most polarizing Rangers figure (I’m assuming you know the first) to make his mark on this game and the psyche of the Blueshirts as just 2:30 into the game, Tanner Glass did this…
While it doesn’t look like much, it’s been about a month since a Rangers player drove to the net without the puck and caused a post whistle scrum. And it seemed to galvanize the troops as from that point on the Rangers became the aggressors physically…
Then Glass officially announced his presence with authority…
God damn that was an intense fight. Got to be honest, my juices were flowing after that one. I haven’t been that emotionally invested in a game for awhile. And the physical play didn’t end there as Glass’ teammates seem buoyed by his presence in the line-up…
Yes, that’s Vesey standing up for himself with an actual teammate coming to his defense. And it didn’t end there…
Kudos to Brady Skjei, who publicly accepted the blame for not defending Lundqvist in Dallas, for jumping Dumont immediately after his cheap shot boarding of Kampfer. BTW, how the hell was that not a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for Dumont?!?!?! Only in Bettman’s NHL.
While Glass played a mere 5:17, his impact was felt throughout the lineup as AV got exactly what he wanted from the rugged forward.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if Lundqvist went down with a season ending injury today, I’d still feel 100% confident going forward. The reason: Antti Raanta.
He was absolutely the difference tonight, as he stopped all 38 shots against to pick up his 3rd shutout in his last nine full starts.
Let’s take a look at some of his handy work…
And his two biggest of the night in the final 15 seconds of regulation…
Another OT Winner for Zibanejad
This may not be Nash’s highest scoring season as a New York Ranger, but it’s been by far my personal favorite. After his concussions in 2013, Nash kept his game around the perimeter which prevented him from being the Super Star scorer we came to expect and earning the reputation among Rangers fans as being soft.
But not this season. When he has the puck on his stick he is usually driving to the net. And when he gets that big body barreling towards the crease, he’s next to impossible to stop. Just asked Victor Hedman, who Nash abused tonight.
Now, we just need him to do this in the postseason.
Whether it was Tanner Glass’ presence or Vigneault’s public anger with his team, the Rangers played with an edge and enthusiasm tonight. And while AV’s squad was bailed out by their own goaltender for portions of the night, if it wasn’t for Vasilevskiy at the other end the Blueshirts could have easily put this one to bed early.
After what I thought was a rough Rangers debut, Brendan Smith has really settled down as he made numerous defensive stops and felt comfortable enough to join the rush on a few occasions. I wonder if being dropped down to the second pair took some much needed pressure off the newest Ranger allowing him to just play his game.
While Derek Stepan came out firing tonight (5 SOG), his goalless streak was extended to…
Unfortunately, tonight’s victory covers up a major imperfection as of late: the Rangers offense. They’ve now scored 2 or less goals in 9 of their last ten games. So while the entire Rangers fan base loses their collective minds over who the 12th forward and 6th defenseman were tonight, the real problem continues to be their top three centers (Stepan, Zib & Hayes) who haven’t scored a regulation goal in 10 straight games and have just 2 in their last 20 games. That needs to change and it needs to change quickly.
While the Rangers’ 0-for-3 on the power play tonight puts them at 3 for their last 55, they deserved a much better fate. Crisp passing. Quick movement. One timers. Traffic in front. It was like they were actually competent.
So much for the struggling PK as they held off six Lightning power plays tonight. All the more impressive considering they’re playing without their two best penalty killers.
Right back at it tomorrow night against the Panthers in Miami.