Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Skapski Era Begins? Rangers win 3-1

Mackenzie Skapski – the 20 year Old Hartford Whaler was called up to the Rangers when Henrik Lundqvist went out with his vascular injury.  And Friday night he got his Ranger debut.  14 seconds later it was 1-0 Buffalo and it wasn’t Mackenzie’s fault in the least.

"And the home of the....GOAL!".  At least it felt that quick.

Matt Moulson was parked in front - unguarded – he got the puck and well – welcome to the NHL kid!

But, from there Skapski’s save percentage begin climbing in leaps and bounds.  It rocketed up of 0.000 to 0.500.  and the  to 0.667.  Then 0.750.  Then .800. And then more complicated numbers that Dave Pucks can’t figure out in his head. 

But by the end it was 0.960, tying him, hilariously, for the lead among all NHL goalies. 
The Rangers, meanwhile, rallied around the kid and won 3-1 against a Sabre team that has only won 3 of their last 10. 

I’ll say it again – I think Vigneault is a GREAT hockey coach.  The back-to-back wasn’t just a convenient way to work in Skapski and give Cam a rest – it was a wake-up call to the Ranger’s that they have to play a little defense if they want to consistently win hockey games. And it gave Cam a little down time after giving up 9 goals in two games.  Just what the hockey doctors ordered.

And for one game anyway – they appeared to do just that – limiting Buffalo to 25 shots (while taking 43 of their own).  This was a rare game where the Rangers won the face off battle and the hockey game – and it seemed for long stretches that the Sabre simply could not get the puck.

Hagelin scored the first Ranger goal on a breakaway and it was 1-1 after one.

In the 2nd period’s first minute, Brassard found Rick Nash alone in the right circle and Ricky netted number 37, continuing one of the best Ranger seasons we’ve seen from anyone in a long time.

And 7 minutes Nash broke in on Michal Neuvirth, skated past him to the left side and launched a tough angle shot.  Neuvirth made the initial save but let up a costly rebound to the advancing Mats Zuccarello.  The Norwegian Nuisance smacked the puck and we were 3-1.

The third period was scoreless and you have your win. 
Uh, A Little Help?  Two assists by Brassard, and one each for JT Miller, Staal, Boyle, and Nash. 

Did Special Teams Determine The Outcome Of This Game?  The Rangers squandered an extended 5 on 3 – but in the end we were 0-4 and the Sabre were 0-3 so no harm done.

Where Do We Stand?  It’s 34-16-6

Oh My - What Will Happen Next?  It’s 35-16-6.  2nd place in the Metro. 

Non-Sequitur of the day:  We are two weeks into our three week Hank injury evaluation.

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