- I missed all of the first period and a good portion of the second (I see I didn’t miss much) so this recap might be a little shorter. In other news, listen to this week’s podcast because you love us. It was a good one. They’re all good. Wooo.
- Let’s start with Henrik Lundqvist, who was brilliant, otherworldly, exceptional, elite, near-perfect and whatever other adjective you wish to use to shower him with appreciation. After what many called a “disaster game” against Columbus (I disagreed, but whatever) I thought this was a fantastic showing. And not because the defense was better (it wasn’t) but because Lundqvist got the job done. It will be overlooked, of course, his next bad goal, but I’m enjoying it while it’s lasting.
- I tweeted this after the game:
Honest though: if Raanta wasn't expecting a child AV'd probably have started him tonight and Hank wouldn't have had this confidence boost.— Joe Fortunato (@BlueshirtBanter) February 3, 2017
I got level-headed responses and crazy responses. Yes, I knew Alain Vigneault named Hank the starter yesterday, but I think he did it knowing Antti Raanta more than likely couldn’t be counted on. If Raanta’s wife (congrats to them, by the way) wasn’t expecting he would have gotten the start and this wouldn’t have happened. Just a thought.
- The power play was 1-for-18 before finally breaking the streak with the Mats Zuccarello goal. The Rangers had two more power play opportunities to end that streak and weren’t able to do so. The one in overtime, particularly.
- Pavel Buchnevich played seven minutes last night. Seven. I don’t think he got a shift in the third period. Why? Because Jesper Fast isn’t allowed to play on the fourth line (one day two or three years from now someone in the media might ask why) and Jimmy Vesey way moved up. This is one of the most unforgivable transactions this year from Vigneault (which is saying something). Fast is not a top-nine player, but I will forgive it so long as it doesn’t come at the expense of talent. Buchnevich is not a fourth line player. He might be Vigneault’s best playmaker, a guy who is running at a P/60 clip with some of the elites in the league (way small sample size, but whatever) and you have him on the bench in a one-goal game? When people ask why bloggers question Vigneault it’s because of things like this. This has no logical back-trail. Outside of just shrugging one’s shoulders and saying “AV.”
- Chris Kreider provided the brilliant screen on the first goal and then scored the game winner. Sliding on his knees in celebration after the game winner was awesome, too. 20 goals for him. He’ll hit 30 easy this year, I’d bet.
- Also, that passing sequence was bae. Mika Zibanejad to Kreider to J.T. Miller who had the foresight to toss the puck back to Kreider. That’s a goal that will make your knees weak.
- Kevin Klein and Dan Girardi aren’t going anywhere, folks. Not that this is new information, but there was a small thread of hope Vigneault would see the light when it came to his defense and Adam Clendening but, well, yeah.
- Klein, by the way, did wonders for Buffalo on their tying goal by losing his man then allowing the pass into the slot. The forwards on the ice are to blame too for being below the hash and not in a position to cover the high slot, but if that pass doesn’t happen that goal doesn’t happen. Period. But by all means don’t hold him accountable.
- I don’t know why I’m so snarky today. Whatever, hope you enjoyed!