Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ranger beat chippy Devils to gain NHL's top spot

So.  We’ve played 80 games and now we have nothing left to play for.

But in a good way.

Because the Rangers – with two games left to play have clinched everything there is to clinch. 

The Playoffs?  Check

First Place in the Metro?  Yes again

First Place in the Eastern Conference.  Why yes again

First place in the National Hockey League?  Yup.

52 wins.  111 points.  Are these really our New York Rangers?  Somehow yes they are.

And the latest brick in this mighty fortress we have built was Tuesday’s 4-2 win over the hated New Jersey Devils.

For a while the Devils just cross checked and tried to hurt us.  But after a talk with the referees the Devils started skating and competing and gave the Rangers a run for their money.

Hayes and McDonagh scored in the first – with Ryan getting a rare Ranger powerplay goal.  Of course we never do things the easy way – so the Devils made it 2-1 – also on the power play and also in the first.  So we went to the 2nd period up 2-1 and exited the period the same way.

In the third Dominic Moore shot the puck from an impossible angle from the right corner – and James Shepard got a perfect stick on the puck to slide it through Cory Schneider  for the 3-1 lead.

Of course the Devils quickly made it 3-2 and so it went to the final two minutes.  But then – with the net empty – Hayes came up with the puck in the offensive zone and put a perfect no-look pass on the stick of Carl Hagelin – who buried the puck for the 4-2 final score. 

It was Cam Talbot tonight – resting Hank on the back to back and adding an exclamation point on his heroic season.  Because it was Talbot who made this amazing season possible – filling in for an injured Lundqvist in an incredible fashion and catapulting us toward the President’s trophy.  Talbot stopped 0.905% of the shots he faced and that was good enough.

Congratulations Rangers – it’s been a great regular season – one to never forget.   But of course – what comes next is going to forever change it – for better or worse.  But for this one moment – let’s make a breath and look around at what Vigneault and his heroes have accomplished.

Nice work men.

What Did We Learn?  We learned that the New York Rangers are the measurably best team in hockey this year.  At least for now.

Assist “Sisters”:   Two for Hayes to go with his goal.  Single assists for Staal, MSL, Moore, Hagelin and Yandle.

Did Special Teams Determine The Outcome Of This Game?  No I guess.  We were 1 for 7 on the powerplay – including some scoreless 5 on 3.  The Devils were 1 for 2. 

Where Do We Stand?  You know.  At the top.  Of everything.

Oh My - What Will Happen Next?  A meaningless game against Ottawa on Thursday.  At least it’s meaningless for us.

Non-Sequitur of the day:  Johnny B Goode is in B flat because that is good a piano key.

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