Welcome Back! NY Rangers Defeat Calgary Flames in OT 5-4 In A Wild, Entertaining Game

Well, if you’re going to be in Rangers’ hockey withdrawal for that long, at least come back with a game of epic proportions! The NY Rangers defeated the Calgary Flames 5-4 in OT last night in a wild contest that arguably was one of the NHL’s best this season. Admittedly, I’m probably using this much hyperbole because the Blueshirts won. I might not be as effusive if we lost because of my inherent pettiness. (“The game stunk, and so do you!”). However, it can’t be denied that this game had a bit of everything and resulted in a well-earned two points for the Rangers. So, let’s break down the good, the bad, and everything in between.

THAT’S GOOD!

FILIP CHYTIL

Chytil is showing up A LOT in this section lately, and rightfully so. Playoff Chytil has become Regular Season Chytil, and respect has to be put on his name around the league. Whatever the reason, all the tools and confidence have come together to propel his game to the next level.

The long break did nothing to quelch that as Chytil was responsible for the Rangers’ first two goals. Both displayed his speed and his new aggressive penchant for firing without hesitation. (Though he passed up what could have been a game-winning goal at the last second of the third, but we’ll let it slide.)

The main facet lacking in Chytil’s game was his inability to finish, but he has reversed that trait hardcore and has become one of our most dangerous forwards. He clearly would have been the story last night if not for all the entertaining chaos to follow.

ALL ABOARD THE TROUBA TRAIN

My word!! (Do people still use this term, or does it make me sound like a pretentious 1920s socialite?). Regardless, Jacob Trouba continues to make his presence felt using old-school hits with authority. The real vicious beauty of them is they are right on the edge of dirty but technically clean.

Moreover, he is absolutely in the heads of our opponents, and it’s starting to lead to tangible advantages like it did last night. First, he laid out Dube early on and was subsequently challenged by Tanev to a fight. That was just an appetizer of what was to come.  

He positively LEVELED Kadri with a beautiful shoulder-to-shoulder hit that snapped his head back and blew his helmet clear off. That again set off the Flames, with Dube trying to exact some revenge from earlier but instead getting put down to the ice quickly by Trouba in a decisive victory.  

The train is picking up passengers, too, as Sammy Blais inadvertently sets off one of the craziest melees and delays you will ever see. First, Blais sent Lucic flying with a clean hit to the chest, which infuriated the Flames and sparked a full-out riot with at least three separate fights. It took the officials approximately a ten-minute delay to survey the damage.

To the referees’ credit, in both the Lucic and Kadri hit, instigator penalties were assessed against the Flames as both instances were deemed legal. So much so that it led to Blais being REMOVED from the box (I’d never seen this before) after determining that his hit was not only not a major, but it wasn’t a penalty at all. 

It eventually all worked out in the Rangers’ favor, as one of those penalties led to a Mika power-play goal at the end of the second period.

The game was peppered with displays of entertaining skill and spirited play, but these extracurricular activities vaulted it into can’t-miss theatre.

Trouba clearly is not deterred by the whispers (shouts?) about his game. In fact, he seems to thrive on it. More importantly, it’s helping the Rangers on ice become more of a formidable presence.

MIKA ZIBANEJAD

There’s not much to elaborate on here except that this is the type of offensive force that Mika has within him. Two goals and an assist, and his shot looked reborn. As great an all-around game as he has had this season, we still have yet to consistently witness the Mika, who gets so hot that he’s trailed by flames (pun intended) wherever he skates. If we can get that version of him for any period of time, the Rangers can really start to cook.

ALEXIS LAFRENIERE

Lafreniere had a good game even before the OT. He was engaged and active all over the ice. However, for a player that needs positivity on the scoresheet in any form, that game-winner was encouraging for every reason.

He broke out with the puck to start the rush and made a great pass to Mika. But, the aspect that warms you the most is that he stuck with the play, so when Markstrom made the great pad save to kick out the puck, Laf was aware enough to be in front of the net and sweep it past three Flames.

One can never know if moments like that will trigger an awakening, but for one night at least, it was a great sign to see that kind of impact from Laf and have him become the hero.

THAT’S BAD!

WHEN IS A KICK NOT A KICK?

It didn’t matter in the end, but either the NHL needs to eliminate the kicking rule or define it better. In real-time and in slow motion, Mangiapane turns and then sticks his foot out going forward to put the puck in the net. Rarely is a player going to wind up and execute a Messi-type kick of the puck. The motion will always be subtle, as it was last night. A slight kick is still a kick. I knew it wouldn’t be reversed, but it was still frustrating. Thankfully the hockey gods knew it was the wrong decision, and we came out with the victory.

COMPOSURE

We won’t go too crazy with this one since the Rangers eventually displayed their newfound resiliency. Unfortunately, however, they also tend to lose their focus and let the floodgates open when facing adversity.  

It happened again last night when after the kicked goal was allowed, the air was taken out of the Garden, and they let the Flames capitalize on their momentum by taking the lead on a Michael Stone laser.  

Again, it worked out in the end, but this team has been guilty of taking too much time to regroup in the middle of a period.

CAN I GO NOW?

  • Very rarely do you praise a goalie in a game with four goals against, but I thought Halak played very well last night. Perhaps he would have liked to have been faster to react on Stone’s snipe, but he made huge saves against a Flames team that was swarming from the second period throughout.
  • I was toying with putting Trocheck in the BAD category, but let’s say last night wasn’t his best effort. He was a non-factor most of the game and then almost sabotaged the game with a reckless penalty at the end of the third period. The Rangers overcame it, but we need him to be better.
  • Thankfully, Panarin salvaged his overall game with a couple of beautiful assists, but that does not mean there weren’t blemishes. Another lazy turnover in the offensive zone led to Calgary’s first goal. Gallant later seemed upset with him after his early emergence led to a terrible too many men on the ice penalty. Bread is exceptionally talented, so the points will usually be there, but he still needs to eradicate these flaws that have cropped up too many times this season.
  • The next game is at home Wednesday 8 pm against the Horvatless (it’s a word) Vancouver Canucks. They are a bit depleted but still dangerous, so let’s see what Igor and company can do.
In this week's episode we talk about Schnieder, Lindgren's future with NYR, and with Drury seemingly done with off seaon moves the outlook of this team.How to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITRThanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Running it Back
  2. Guest Will Wright
  3. There's more to come……….Right ?
  4. Guest Colin Stephenson
  5. Guest HockeyStatMiner

Marc Panzer

NYR Fan living in Long Island

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