Author Archives: Christopher

NYR v MTL Game 3 Analysis Period by Period

AV behind the bench (Getty)

First Period

Kevin Klein makes his first appearance in the series in place of the shaky Nick Holden. After 3 minutes i am shocked at the energy level of the Rangers. It’s awful. Both teams seem lackluster, but that’s ok for the road team as long as the home team is at that level, or in this case, worse. Finally, Mats Zuccarello comes around the net and feeds a hard charging Chris Kreider, who shanks it wide.

The Rangers get the games’s first power play and couldn’t be worse on it. No set up time. No shots. The Rangers continue to play like zombies as they leave goalie Henrik Lundqvist on his own. In three different forays into the Rangers zone Lundqvist stops Max Pacioretty, then Brendan Gallagher, then Paul Byron. The Rangers fourth line is their best line, as they are spending the most time in the offensive zone, as Oscar Lindberg rings a shot off the post. Tanner Glass blasts Jeff Petry, behind the net, then draws a hooking penalty to send the Rangers on their second power play. This man advantage has a pulse but still fails to score. Rangers defensive zone giveaways are mounting, The buzzer sounds after a scoreless period. Ugly numbers: Giveaways- Rangers-10, Canadians -1. Faceoffs Canadians- 70% Rangers 30%.

Lundqvist (A.J. Causi/nyp)

Second Period

Lifeless. The two teams engage in some of the most boring hockey my eyes have ever seen. Many minutes go by without so much as a shot. The fans at MSG are already getting a bit restless, as they have seen too many of these type of playoff games in recent years. The team has effectively taken the crowd out of the game. Krieder, Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller, and Mika Zibanajad are generating absolutely nothing so far. Miller gives the the Habs their first power play, by playing the puck with his hand on a faceoff. Just a terrible penalty to take. For the first minute, Lundqvist is, as usual, stellar. But Montreal works a great, quick as lightning passing play, from Tomas Plekanek to Brendan Gallagher and finished by Artturi Lehkonen. And, like most fans in all probability, I am thinking that’s all Montreal will need. The period ends with the Canadians up 1-0. The Rangers being outshot 22-12. Ugly.

Skjei (Getty)

Third Period

The third period starts with all of the forward lines jumbled and changed. The Rangers though still showing a lack of passion and complete lack of creativity and offense. The crowd has started to jeer the home team in what seems like 6 straight playoff games over three seasons. Ranger fans are asked to pay an outrageous sum of money to attend playoff games, and now enter the Garden with a sense of dread for post season games which is shameful. Right wing Mats Zuccarello gets his stick up way too high on Andrei Markov, 4 minutes into the period, and draws a four minute penalty.

The timing of this couldn’t be worse as the Rangers need every precious minute to try and tie the score. The Rangers do well to kill the first of the double-minors. But, Shea Weber fires home a great pass from Alex Galchenyuk to tally the Canadians second power play goal of the night. The lead is now, inexplicably, insurmountable. Give credit to Montreal, they are playing very responsible, and almost perfect, defensively. But the Rangers forwards should be embarrassed. Their fourth line of Glass, Lindberg and Jesper Fast has been their best. The word that comes to mind is unacceptable. Alex Radulov finishes off a ridiculous stickhandling, one-handed effort, to make it 3-0. Radulov has had a fine series in both ends of the ice; so surprisingly good at backchecking. With just under 3 minutes left, one of the few Rangers bright spots, Brady Skjei, finishes at set play from an offensive zone draw, with a blast from the blue line. Skjei has elevated his game well enough, with some big checks and an increased dangerous presence in the offensive zone.
The Rangers will have to be much, much better to win on Tuesday. Their goaltender has been as good as anyone could hope. And as they did against Tampa in 2015, they are not scoring at MSG, and strangling the life out of the home crowd.

The Young Guns Must Lead The Charge…

Kreider celebrates PP goal (Getty Images)

The NHL playoffs are right around the corner. When I realistically look at the Rangers chances, I see a team that is in better shape than last year, but not as good as the two years previous. Despite the presence of Ryan McDonagh, and the unreal emergence of Brady Skjei, the Rangers defense is their Achilles’ heel. Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein are coming back from injury, and at best are the second pair, but more likely third-pair defensemen. Marc Staal and Nick Holden have lost their chemistry as a pair, and have both been uneven from game to game. Trade deadline acquisition Brendan Smith has brought some bite, but hasn’t found chemistry with any one player to form a consistent pairing. Read more

Let The Coach, Coach

Buchnevich USATSI

St. Patrick’s day and Rangers coach, Alain Vigneault commits the mortal sin of scratching Pavel Buchnevich over Tanner Glass.  New York Rangers senior beat reporter, Larry Brooks wrote an article stating that “the Rangers are nuts for benching Pavel Buchnevich” and with that, 5 gallons of gasoline was poured onto a fire burning in some Rangers fans passions. Read more

So what’s it like to catch a Rangers game in Carolina?

Tickets (photo by author)

Last Thursday I traveled with my wife and son to Raleigh, Carolina, to see the Rangers take on the Hurricanes. Some have called Carolina the sixth borough, because of the amount of Rangers fans that attend games at PNC Arena in Raleigh. And Thursday night was no exception. The announced crowd was 11,404, and at least half or more were Rangers fans. Some are transplanted New Yorkers, and some made their way down from the metropolitan area. I spoke to one former Queens resident named Larry, who said that if it was a weekend game “it would have been closer to 75% Rangers fans”.

Your Money Goes Far

There are a lot of great reasons to go on a road trip to Carolina. Number one, it’s very economical from every aspect. I was able to get 3 round trip tickets from JFK to Raleigh Durham airport for under $400. Your time in air is just over an hour there, and an hour exactly back to NYC. I rented a full size car for $27 a day, and my hotel was $125 a night, which included a very extensive breakfast buffet each day. I bought tickets thru seat geek in section 101, row J, 10 rows off the glass, for $90 each. My partial season tickets in section 209 are $92 each. So, for a change, I sat almost rink side, in a section that was predominantly Rangers fans.

Getting to PNC arena was very easy. My hotel was 4 and a half miles away, and a very simple drive. No traffic at all. Parking was $15, and a lot of Rangers fans tailgated in the lot. “Let’s go Rangers”, could be heard all over, as fans started making their way in. The employees of the arena couldn’t be more friendly and courteous. The food options are plentiful and also, much less expensive then MSG. I recommend going with North Carolina bbq fare (definitely avoid the Italian food, you will be disappointed). Pulled pork, pulled chicken and prime rib sandwiches at a carving station are top options.

If you go to the pre-game warmup a half hour before the game, unlike MSG, they will let you go all the way down to the glass. Rangers players tossed many pucks to fans populating the area around the zone the Rangers were skating in. Also, the Rangers backup goaltender, Brandon Halverson on this night, was seated in front of section 123, and kind enough to sign autographs to Rangers fans seated in sections 123 and 124 before the start of the second and third periods.

The Game

Getting ready (photo by author)

The game itself wasn’t the best played game I have ever seen, but was pretty exciting, and of course controversial. Fans took turns chanting for their favorite team. I have heard some horror stories about traveling to Philadelphia and dealing with abusive fans, but this environment was safe and friendly.

The Rangers power play finally did some business, as they scored 3 goals up a man or two. But, the penalty unit let them down with two third period goals against. As we all know, the tying goal should not have counted. It happened right in front of me. I could clearly hear one referee screaming at Antti Raanta, then at the Rangers coaching staff, “He was not in the paint!”, repeatedly. That this same official, gets to review his screw up, and makes the whole league look like a Mickey Mouse operation. Different eyes in Toronto or New York, or wherever, should be reviewing that. Especially, after that official was so vociferous it almost seemed personal, when making a call that should have been reversed.

The bottom line is rather then any referee or linseman review a call on some 10 inch tablet, have off ice officials who aren’t in the thick of the game, determine the coaches challenge. I mean, there is a review room that buzzes down if a puck went into the net and play never had stopped. Adding to that responsibility wouldn’t be hard.

Bottom Line

I have traveled to Montreal, Tampa, and Buffalo, (as well as Long Island and New Jersey), and all were unique and fine experiences. I will say that Carolina was surely the most economical. The weather was great too. When we landed and it was 76 degrees, and sunny, and the following day it was 67 and sunny. It felt good to escape the low temps in NYC for a few days. The only downside to me was the small crowd. It seemed to me every section in the arena was half full or less. I know I would surely go back there to see a Rangers game.

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