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Rangers Vs. Flames: Fun Before The Super Bowl

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NHL: Calgary Flames at New York Rangers Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
  • That was one of those rare games that goes from super interesting, to super boring and then back to super interesting. The third period might have been one of the better 20 minutes of hockey I’ve seen in a while. Not better as in the Rangers played well, but fun. And that’s what this is about, right?
  • I have a big Alain Vigneault thing I’d like to get out of the way early. It starts here:

This bothers me for a slew of reasons. You have a guy in Adam Clendening — who wrongly doesn’t have the trust of his head coach — who apparently can’t get into the lineup under even extreme circumstances. How a coach can admit to playing an unhealthy player when he has a healthy guy waiting in the wings is beyond me. How a media scrum can let him get away without a followup question is insanity. Decision making like this not only doesn’t make sense, it hurts the team. Period.

  • Since we’re complaining, Pavel Buchnevich got the least amount of ice time in the game for reasons that make my head spin. I don’t know what the deal is here — is it just a Jesper Fast thing or is it more — and right now I’m going to leave this alone. Unless the time comes when Buchnevich sits because he’s “not producing.”
  • To good things! J.T. Miller! Miller had two assists, did work on the game-winning goal, including forcing the turnover and making the pass. Miller’s be on a bit of a role of late; is already at a career high for assists and is three points away from a career high there, too. He’s really become something.
  • Then there’s Chris Kreider. First of all, that goal. Snipe city. I mean, jaw-dropping stuff. What more can you say? Kreider is at his career high in goals and will more than likely surpass his career high in points. He’s a great player on a great contract, what more can you say?
  • Fast -- who I still think belongs on the fourth line — smashed home the game-winner. Good for him. Don’t get me wrong, I like Fast a lot. I think he’s a Carl Hagelin lite (maybe very lite) but he’s not an offensive player. Buchnevich has two more goals as Fast does in far less games. It’s not a hard equation. Every time Buchnevich touches the puck something good happens. On the power play he set up two legitimate chances. Then he played the least amount of time of anyone on the team. Whatevs.
  • Michael Grabner -- who I still think the Rangers should trade, and will think until they don’t and then lose him for nothing — scored and added an assist. Grabner has 23 goals this year. 23.
  • Rick Nash scored a big goal to tie the game early, then scored a goal so ridiculous it should have counted. A deflection through his own legs and into the top corner? Come on. Anyway, he’s doing well, too, and the Rangers need it.
  • If Clendening turned the puck over the way Dan Girardi did on the third goal for Calgary he’d have been stapled to the bench so firmly it would take firefighters to remove him. But alas.
  • I’d love to see how many saves Henrik Lundqvist has to make through screens from his own team. Would have to be tops in the league.