These god damn Rangers. Yeah, they were without their best player up front, on the blue line & in the crease but the Kings were on the back end of consecutive games & had Peter fucking Budaj between the pipes. There’s no reason for the Blueshirts to have come out as flat as they did to spot LA a 2-0 lead. They did a great job responding though. First with three straight goals to pull ahead – but that was nullified by a poor JT Miller turnover in a spot that should’ve been an easy odd-man rush coming out of the zone. Kid’s been lighting the lamp lately but still has to smarten up with the puck.
A strong play to the net by Zuccarello gave Hayes an easy tap-in for a rare but well-timed PPG that should’ve been good for two points, but ANOTHER late period/game goal with under 30 ticks left took one off the board. Bad luck? Of course – shot was going a mile wide & Klein was in perfect position but it hit him dead in the chest before finding its way home. Still, the Rangers have had trouble closing periods/games all season and last night was no different.
NY had opportunities to win it in OT – none better than Brassard’s opportunity all alone in front with more time to spare than he knew. They couldn’t finish any of them though, and a slow-footed Boyle combined with a Raanta glove that looked to be made of concrete gave LA the W. Credit to the Blueshirts for finding a way to dig themselves out of a hole & grab a point but for a team in a Cup-or-bust season finally starting to hit their stride, this is one AV’s squad has gotta hold onto.
Next up is a Valentine’s Day date with Philly and current public enemy #1 Wayne Simmonds. It’ll be interesting to see how the Rangers respond. Tanner Glass all but guaranteed a bout with Simmonds & rightfully so. Any team would do the same for their captain. I’d rather see McIlrath take him on & he may very well get to drop the mitts too. Whether it be against the Wayne Train or not I expect this game to be a chippy one.
It’s frustrating to see that it took McDonagh being KO’d with a sucker punch for the Blueshirts to (potentially) show some fight & protect their own but maybe tomorrow’s game will be a rallying point. Gimme a scrappy game where everyone’s gotta watch each others’ backs & build that level of camaraderie this team is missing. The “it” factor that makes great teams like the Blackhawks & Kings so tough to put away. Getting back on the winning side wouldn’t be so bad either.
Check out Chief’s Chip & Chase podcast from earlier this week where he, Jordie & I discuss the McDonagh/Simmonds incident & other things hockey.