- Quickly before we begin: Had some technical difficulties with the podcast last night. It's a little choppy and we lost Mike at the start (HUGE thanks to Danz10 for stepping in as emergency co-host). The podcast went on, but I did want to apologize for the rough start and middle (as we tried to bring Mike back). When I listened back it didn't sound too bad but I did want to explain what happened. I got a new mic and the voice quality was much better, though! Please subscribe to us on Itunes, leave us nice ratings and say nice things!
- As for the game itself, that's a third period that scares the crap out of me. The Rangers have those horrible 20-minute monsters lurking inside of them, and the hope is they don't rear their ugly heads in the playoffs. The Rangers out-shot and out-chanced the Sabres but in the third period the Sabres out-attempted the Rangers 17-7. That's unacceptable. Especially against a team like Buffalo and it's twice as bad when you remember Buffalo played Toronto the night before.
- And to that point, everyone has a period or a game like that. Everyone has a few of those games, really. Contenders have them, too, and I don't think anyone is denying that. But for the Rangers, those games have happened a lot more often than you should be comfortable with.
- Derick Brassard with another power play goal, off another Keith Yandle assist. Brassard has easily been one of the Rangers best forwards the past couple of months, and his goal last night allowed me to make a fantastic contribution on Twitter:
Brassard: Hey giiirrrrlllll— Joe Fortunato (@BlueshirtBanter) March 9, 2016
30-goal season: *blushes and shyly waves" https://t.co/0K5ZDRYAH7
- And anyplace there's Brassard success there's Zuccarello success. His pass to Brassard for the opening goal was insanely good. He scored a goal of his own and also added an assist on J.T. Miller's empty net goal.
- Speaking of Miller, after being benched against the Islanders for reasons Alain Vigneault never really explained, Miller was out there in crunch time with the lead when the Rangers were getting crushed in possession. Good for him for stepping up and scoring a goal (doing it while losing his glove is awesome) and good for Vigneault for putting him out there.
- Eric Staal is being used in multiple roles, which I'm not against. 17 minutes worth of ice time, and over a minute of both penalty kill and power play time. He was also +9 in shots. His continued dominance with possession of the puck is a needed breath of fresh air for this team. I can't wait until Rick Nash comes back and adds this too.
- Did the Rangers look any worse with Brady Skjei in their lineup replacing Marc Staal? I think we all know the answer to that question. Skjei saw 1:35 of penalty kill time, had a few good rushes, finished the game +4 in shots and played over 17 minutes. Not bad for a rookie defenseman replacing a "top three" defenseman.
- Derek Stepan has quietly become one of the Rangers most important forwards. I know we know this already but felt like it should be mentioned.
- Kevin Hayes -- relegated to the fourth line -- played less than any other player. I don't have a joke but I also don't think I need one.
- When the Rangers and the media talk about how the Rangers haven't lost two games in a row in a long time remember games like this one. This isn't exactly a win you're going to be proud of. You take the two points, of course, but the Rangers were once again bailed out by exceptional goaltending.
- Speaking on exceptional goaltending, Antti Raanta was dominant. Again. Worth noting.