Rangers vs. Flyers: Thank Chris

  • I came up with at least three different ways mid-way through the third period to explain to you all — yet again — that it was OK, that the Rangers were mind-blowingly the better team, that they can’t keep getting goalied, that they can’t keep up this poor run of puck luck forever. In the end, I didn’t need to use any of them, but I will reiterate it all: The Rangers’ run of horrible puck luck will end, and they’re still winning games while going through it.
  • That was, without a doubt, one of the best games the Rangers have played all year. They absolutely dominated the Flyers in every sense of the word. Forget the four posts, the Rangers missed the net on at least five (by my count) other Grade-A chances in the slot, and Carter Hart robbed at least three others. Even if the Rangers converted on 25% of those chances, it’s a 3 or 4-0 win most nights.
  • Igor looked like the Igor of last year — especially late. The Rangers didn’t need him often, but when they did he made a windmill glove save on Kevin Hayes, and then stopped Hayes again with a minute to go on the near post with a brilliant diving effort. It saved the fanbase from a pretty big meltdown, at the very least.
  • The Rangers’ top six is churning — even without the goals — and it’s just such a very good one-two punch. I think a lot of people (and myself) underrated just how good of a fit and a player Vincent Trocheck was. He’s been one of the Rangers’ best forwards this year. So has Kakko and Lafreniere — who were both some of the most dangerous players for the Rangers last night.
  • Kakko is learning to use his body, and he’s making really good plays in the tough areas of the ice and somehow keeping the puck and making space. His work around the net — a staple from his time in Liiga — is impressive, and the goals and points are eventually going to come. The kid is a monster.
  • As for Lafreniere, if you told me he was Rick Nash in a 13 jersey I would believe you. That’s how snake-bitten he’s been. Still, he’s been one of the Rangers’ best producers of individual scoring chances.
  • Also, give Gallant a lot of credit. He’s playing the kids, and Lafreniere and Kakko got some runs in overtime together. Both Kakko (four shots) and Lafreniere (three shots and a post) played over 18 minutes a night. Seems like he gets it.
  • Kreider loves to score against Tortorella, and the hope from this side is that OT goal gets him going a little bit.
  • Is Wes McCauley the worst ref in the NHL? He has to be up there, right? The guy doesn’t see a single thing. The officials (correctly) confer to assess Tony DeAngelo a delay of game penalty at the end of the third, but then Wes decided the other puck over the glass incident was tipped by Panarin’s stick which was 12 feet away? The guy sucks. And I still haven’t forgiven him for not calling the penalty in Game 5 of the ECF when Kakko was dragged down behind the net right in front of his face. /