Rangers-Blue Jackets in review



1) This was an onions game. A big boy pants game. And a lot of Rangers showed up, played with onions, put their big boy pants on. A lot of them battled more than they had all season. Rick Nash was obviously the leader, right from the start, targeted, pushing back, shoving back, punching back. As if he was a different player. Could you even imagine the type of player he’d be if he played like that even just once in a while.

2) Guys like Derick Brassard  — the Rangers best player for two wins in a row — and Benoit Pouliot and Carl Hagelin and Mats Zuccarello all did battle right from the start.

New York Rangers v Columbus Blue Jackets3) Let’s be clear, the Rangers were outhit, and they aren’t likely to be able to survive, as currently constituted, playing game after game like that. But like the ’11-12 team that we reference often, they got punched in the mouth and got better after the punch. That ’11-12 team always responded, played meaner and harder when opponents got nasty. This team is not that team. But coming down the stretch, it will have to respond like that. Or go home. The game was played at a great pace and with mucho truculence. If only the Rangers could have mustered a fraction of that in Carolina, they’d be in so much better shape.

4) Benoit Pouliot. Good for him. The guy comes back from his daughter’s birth and plays a game like that, with a fight to boot. I don’t blame him completely for that pass. His stick broke. And I can’t say it was the wrong play to go back with the puck there without knowing what their breakout is. I don’t know. If his stick doesn’t break, nobody probably even notices he went backward with the puck.

5) Great response by Derek Stepan bailed him out, too, quickly tying the game on strong plays by Ryan McDonagh and Derek Dorsett. I thought Dorsett played the way he was playing before the injury, before the Daniel Carcillo trade. The Rangers are probably going to need both of those guys sooner or later. Or now. Dorsett very, very nearly scored a gigantic goal, too.

6) The daily Nash-O-Meter: The needle broke off. Guy was a monster. He was run at and run over and fouled. He scored a goal that absolutely should have counted. He was all over Sergei Bobrovsky and anybody else. He dropped the gloves with a guy who was, somehow, allowed a whole bunch of crosschecks and hacks and somehow ended up with the same number of penalty minutes (Nash won the fight, too). And let’s be clear here. He was booed because the Columbus fans were told, by then-GM Scott Howson, that Nash asked to be traded at the ’12 deadline. When, in fact, Nash had been told the Blue Jackets were going in a different direction, and asked what he wanted to do. When he said, in whatever manner, that he’d prefer to go, Howson — who screwed up the entire deal and maybe could have had Chris Kreider that day — announced post-deadline that Nash wanted to be traded. That’s why he was booed. You can’t blame the fans for that.New York Rangers v Columbus Blue Jackets

7) Henrik Lundqvist. Was pretty fabulous. He got caught off guard a bit on the goal after the Pouliot giveaway, but man, did he keep it 0-0, then 1-1, then 2-1. And how about that scramble late third, at 2-1, when Dan Girardi made a save behind Lundqvist and the fourth line and McDonagh put Blue Jackets on their keysters, and Lundqvist survived the ensuing barrage even after both Brian Boyle and Dorsett lost their sticks. Mayhem. But the Rangers are back to defending, for the moment, after that woeful game in Ottawa. They played last night as they did on Sunday vs. the Sharks. Only this time they scored. Actually again scored a goal that should have counted and didn’t, too.

8) And wouldn’t Lundqvist have been skewered here if he gave up the type of wrap-around game-winner that Sergei Bobrovsky allowed to Brassard? Terrific strong move and smart shot by Brassard, but that can’t go in.

9) I didn’t think the Blake Comeau hit on John Moore was illegal. Predatory perhaps, player lined up and defenseless, but not illegal. Moore wasn’t a few feet from the boards and he didn’t have his back turned, and it didn’t appear that the main point of contact was the head. Still, Comeau could have let up and blasted away. It didn’t look good for Moore, and if he’s out a while, it will be interesting to see who fills his slot — Raphael Diaz, Justin Falk or Conor Allen being the likely candidates.New York Rangers v Columbus Blue Jackets

10) The PP really has gotten predictable and stale. I thought, for moments, it moved the puck last night, but not nearly enough moving of feet. And faceoffs. My God. So many times the Rangers get a power play, lose the draw and have to start again from 180 feet away. The one time Brad Richards won a draw, the PP did get set up and threaten briefly.

11) What’s up lately with Zuccarello and passing up chances to shoot? Can’t be a good formula for him to repeat the success he had pre-Olympics. I think he’s played well since he returned, but seems to be hesitant to shoot it, maybe in deference to Martin St. Louis. …

12) Who, by the way, had only one shot on goal, doesn’t look comfortable on the PP, or anything like the player who scores a lot of goals. He does score in bunches, and maybe he still will, and if he does, I imagine all will be forgiven. Otherwise this could be a disaster.

13) Even in a snarly game like this, where you know whistles around either net are going to be followed by post-whistle shenanigans every time, MSG Network continued its terrible habit of going directly to a closeup elsewhere. Awful.

14) Let’s do this again tonight in Newark.

My Three Rangers Stars:New York Rangers v Columbus Blue Jackets
1. Rick Nash.
2. Derick Brassard.
3. Henrik Lundqvist.
Kenny Albert’s Three Rangers Stars:
1. Derick Brassard.
2. Henrik Lundqvist.
3. Rick Nash.
Your poll vote for Three Rangers Stars:
1. Derick Brassard.
2. Rick Nash.
3. Henrik Lundqvist.

Photos by Getty Images.

Twitter: @rangersreport.



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  1. MSL is completely miscast on his team. He is actually hurting team chemisry. Moore injury should promote Falk. Could use his size/snarl down stretch.

  2. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Pouliot has always been capable of throwing them (usually a time or two per season, check back on the blog post the day we signed him…nailed it).

    Did you guys see Proutt just carcillo (rag doll) girardi during the Nash scrum? It makes all the difference in the world when you remove your gloves during those scrums.

    Atta boy Nash!!!

    I sit Boyle and leave dorsett in.

    No way we can survive a 7 game series like that.

    Need more truculence in the line up. If j Moops is out, I’d love to see mcilrath (seriously doubt it happens) or Falk in his place. Probably be Diaz tho.

    I’d love to see Nash with a Stewart or kassian or clowe on his opposite wing (or a lucic).

    Great review carp!!!

    I’m going to bed now, night all!

  3. That was a big boy game indeed. I’m hard on this team way too much and they deserve it all but last night I was proud they showed up,and played with DESPERATION.

  4. Great review Carp. I found myself nodding in agreement with each point. Really was a great team response and maybe just what they needed. Playing five D after the Moore injury didn’t seem to hurt us at all. As someone noted last night, torts had us prepared for it.

  5. bull dog line on

    this game must have broke the heart of all the Fake Ranger fans here. especially the mean girls.

  6. bull dog line on

    Prust hurt, and out for the rest of the regular season, and MDZ managed a whole 3 minutes of ice time. the only thing that could have been worse for the mean girls is if Klein, and MSL had scored last night.

  7. bull dog line on

    certain match ups they are going to have to sit either Boyle or Moore. not every game though. last night could have been one of them.

  8. ThisYearsModel on

    Very entertaining game. Good to see the boys actually push back for a change.

  9. Good morning, boneheads!

    Nice review, Carp!
    Yes, best game, emotion wise, of the season. Would anyone mind this matchup in April? I wouldn’t.

    I knew Wicky would love this game. And yes, Wick, I remember you said it about Pouliot when they signed him.

    Carp, on 11 and 12. I don’t think MZA’s hand is fully healed after the fracture. His strength isn’t fully back yet, that’s why he prefers to pass it instead of shooting. Also, oftentimes, he loses his stick. His grip isn’t back to baseline yet. MSL, on the other hand, grips his stick too tight. He is trying to prove to NY he is still a goalscorer we were hoping for. He needs to relax and play his game. Goals will come. He is also being grabbed, mugged and interfered with similarly to Nash by opposition.

  10. Great game. Great review. Ridiculous call on the non-goal after terrific play by Nash. Yes the boys got outhit, but they also dished out some. Girardi, Dorsett. And I’m a fan of Boyle and loved that play when he outraced the two defenders to the puck in the third. Let’s see the same compete level tonight! LGR!

  11. Stranger Nation on

    Great insights Charp

    Now imagine if Richards ever played with big boy pants or at least hustled on the D side of the red line!

    While I loved the snarl and willingness to drop em, we had two of our bigger forwards fighting two of their smaller players. If they fight someone in their weight class, call the medics…

    Staal and Stralman did not look strong again. Their stick checks do not work in late March.

    MSL line played well, had the BJs heads spinning on some passes

    Big Byfuglein game tonite. Can they do this two nights in a row?

  12. Onecupin74yearsandcounting on

    Great win for the Rangers.. they were definitely out hit at times and what’s more disappointing is the hit on Moore with no retribution. I know you want to stay out of the box but you can’t let teams get away with those hits.

    MSL = Missing Still Languishing

  13. Admiral Akbar on

    My favorite game this season, by far.

    Would love to see this same compete level against Nuh Joyzee Derbils tonite, then they may really be onto something.

  14. Sorry, Miami, read Carp’s great review before posting. The whole team finally had some fight and snarl, wonder if we will look back on this game and call it a watershed moment of the season…sure hope so. Also pray JM does not end up like Sauer. In the back of everyone’s mind, will the new Rick Gnash clone show up again tomorrow?

  15. Oh, and I see you did read his article. While THE was not the center of the universe last night, he did add grit and snarl and speed along with the other Blueshirts…and I can’t remember any of those defensive lapses we’ve seen from him this season.

  16. Matty"UnbelievablySoft"Boy on

    Am traveling again. Thank you, Carp for the recap. Didn’t see the game, but sounds like the effort we were all waiting for. Sorry to see JMoops got hurt. Hope he’s ok.

    Henrik was a factor. NASH????? Where did this come from and why hasn’t he played like this from the get-g0?????? Leadership, even just some effort from the high=paid players has been sorely missing on this team. Perhaps it began last night. (Richards, MSL, Nash). Yes, NHL hockey is not just about looking pretty in the first half of the regular season. It’s about winning big games at the end of the regular season. It’s about being tough and fighting for your space to win PO games and win the CUP!!! For one night, it appears, one of our big boys was a ‘big boy’. Keep it up!!!!

    Hope it continues against another team bigger but less talented than us tonight!! LGR!!! LGR!!!

  17. Matty"UnbelievablySoft"Boy on

    If you want to teach the few young players we have how to play the game, for one night, for a few moments, Rich Nash did that last night. THAT is called leading by example and THAT is what makes great players, and players grow around you.

    It does need to be every night. Let’s hope it can sustain.

  18. Hey…no star of the game for McDonagh? I know the other three are deserving….but McDonagh makes that first goal hapoen…that quick response relaxes the team…and he wills it to happen…go ahead…start making the comparisions to #2…because he dials it up every game….unlike #19… who doesn’t dial it up…but sure knows how to phone it in!

  19. Great read Carp,
    Two whipping boys had a very good game last night, Nash and Step.
    Also Boyle is having a great stretch of games and is a force, would love to see Carcillo with him on the 4th and Dorsett adding punch to the 3rd line.

  20. Hmmmmm…I read over here———–>
    That Chelios kicked Avery out of his house after allowing him to live there for 3 weeks during the 04-05 lockout. Did Avery refuse to trash his room?

  21. I want to see those same onions tonight against a real rival team. We have been so flat against the Devils this year. This is just as big a game for them and for me it is the most important. I do not like losing to the Devils!


  22. Last night win needs to be validated with another 2 pts tonite.

    Columbus heads to isles tomorrow with okposo another isle out. Now.

  23. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go
    Take me down to junior’s farm
    Everybody tag along.

  24. Matty"UnbelievablySoft"Boy on

    “That got me fired up,” The King said of seeing Nash go with Calvert. “It got me mad. It got me to think, ‘There’s no way we’re going to lose this hockey game when they fight our guy.’
    “I’m still kind of mad about [the fact] that he had to fight.”

    Well, Henrik, fess up to it. This team has, as it’s architect, the worst GM in hockey. Who else would leave so many finesse players exposed to defending themselves. Sather, ….., Glen Sather. That’s who!!

  25. Matty"UnbelievablySoft"Boy on

    But, wait?? We have 2 guys that defend this team. So what if neither is taller than 6’0″ tall, and neither weighs over 200 in a league where enforcers are 6’2-6’5″, and 220 up?

  26. Matty"UnbelievablySoft"Boy on

    Anyone see Boston won it’s 11th in a row? Does it all matter anyway??

  27. Two empty net goals? In two games? Two fights? In one game?

    Me likey

    I could really get behind these guys with efforts like this.

  28. I’m still complaining about the physicality and ability to punch back of this team.

    Can’t have Nash, our “superstar” with his history of concussions fighting people.

    Good for Pouliot!

  29. I think the San Jose loss last week might have been their best effort/game of the season but last night sure was fun.

    Rumor has it Eric made some *positive* comments.

  30. I can see the rangers losing tonight so don’t get to high about the rangers victory in Columbus. The rangers are still a cream puff team.

  31. Manny, I get what you’re saying but sometimes you just gotta go.

    Nash said Calvert skated in for the faceoff, cross-checked him twice, slew-footed and told him he was “coming at him no matter what.”—
    Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) March 22, 2014

  32. Replay of the game is on msg 2 presently.

    Thanks TommyG for the reality check, at least last night there was less puffery.

  33. Last night’s game was great! Other people have commented on it being the best of the year. Totally agree. Made you remember the fight this team USED to have…like we needed a reminder. Holding out hope that the team can carry that level of intensity (not you Richards…everyone knows better) going forward.

    Surprise tix for tonight’s game fell in my lap. Pumped!

  34. Nice to see them behave as though they actually care about each other and will fight for each other. They’d better keep it up if they expect to go anywhere.

  35. …Not you Richards… Lol.

    Have fun tonight Booby!! You should probably paint your face.

  36. Never like saying anything nice about the Devils but the Prudential Center is a great place to watch a hockey game, save for the incredibly annoying PA guy and the millions of awful red lights everywhere.

  37. Stranger Nation on

    team must embrace us against them.
    Nash gets crosschecked in the back of the head twice and ref doesnt call extra minor. Maybe if he didnt play like a wuss the refs would respect him more.

  38. jimG the desertrat on

    Big boy pants are good when you got something in them. Loved the shot of that brute Nash checking his digits in the penalty box. WOW just WOW.

  39. jimG the desertrat on

    Didn’t look like the blue jackets tired in the third hope the Rangers bring same fire tonight. Thanks for the buffo review Carp.

  40. “Never like saying anything nice about the Devils but the Prudential Center is a great place to watch a hockey game, save for the incredibly annoying PA guy and the millions of awful red lights everywhere”

    Unless you’re in the upper deck. The near vertical seating makes me nauseous. Agreed otherwise, though. Also the Devils “fans” suck.

  41. Anyone else bothered by Nash being so emotional in a game that had so much in it for him personally, yet there isn’t much of a heartbeat from him in last years playoffs?

  42. Yeah, you’re right about the upper deck, Latona. Even sitting in your seat, if you lean forward it feels like you’re going to fall to your death.

  43. There’s a lot not to like about that place, IMO, including the location, the fans who yell “suck” all the time … like that’s why they attend, to yell “so-and-so sucks” … the strippers they have all around the arena … the p.a. guy, who takes about 10 minutes to announce a goal, even after an OT winner. … ps, worse ice than MSG.

  44. That game was *awesome*. Just *awesome*. Why can’t that *Nash* guy play like that *EVERY* game?! Just really fun to watch.

    Bill Raftery would’ve loved that game… *ONIONS!!!*

    (Miss you Dubi)

    Let’s beat the Debbies tonight, before we get too excited. Anyone read that story from the Minnesota fan on Reddit? I don’t know if it’s true or what the real story was, but it sounds about right. Devils “fans” are the worst.

  45. I try to ignore the terrible location aspect of it all. If you park in one of the many garages within a few blocks of the arena then it’s just a short walk with cops everywhere keeping an eye out. Getting in and out quickly is key.

    The fans…well we _are_ in New Jersey. Not exactly the classiest bunch of folks. You get used to these morons when you live here.

  46. Actually, I just read more about the Reddit story. Apparently it’s not true and the Minnesota fan was actually the jackwagon.

    Nevertheless, I went to the Rangers/Devils preseason game this year at the Rock, and I was called some interesting names (I had my Hank jersey on). Not only that, some 40ish year old guy with a “KovalSUCK” jersey on was actually arguing with, like, a 10 year old who was chanting “Let’s Go Rangers”. It was pretty embarrassing. The 40 year old guy had kids too!

  47. I just have to say …. FFFFING AWESOME by NASH last night. Finally that clown shows cojones.

    And a money quote: “probably the two cross checks to the head, the slew foot and the fact that he said he was going after me no matter what and he doesn’t care. That is enough to set me off….did you see it?”

    Is there a bigger moron than Calvart? I wish we played them again so Carcillo could break glass with his face.

    Also, what a farce the NHL is … doesn’t protect NASH at all. In spite of him typically being a marshmallow, the man gets hacked every game and rarely gets calls. It’s insane.

    And the goal taken away, don’t get me started …

  48. Booby, fortunately my town has a lot of second and third generation residents, so there are mostly NYR fans where I am. Devils “fans” are the worst.

  49. My town was filled with Devils fans growing up, Latona. Credit due to the old man for raising me up right.

  50. So the 3rd pair will have two Right handed players. Pretty interesting.

    Will be great to get a look at Diaz who could potentialy replace Stralman if he walks since the organization clearly doesn’t believe in the farm.

  51. Indeed, Booby. Whenever I see parents with Rangers kidlets, I always compliment them. And if I see a child in Swamp Rats attire, I always apologize to them for their parents’ error.

  52. The player I would sit if they decide to go with Dorsett &. Carcillo is, to borrow from Coos, #19.

    Sit Wilbbuuurrr!

  53. leetchhalloffame on

    Hate Sather for making this team have to take punishment without true retribution.

  54. The worst thing I ever saw was in Hartford, CT at a -CT Whale- Hartford Wolf Pack game. It was a 9 year old kid wearing a stupid TROTTIER Sweater that was dragging on the floor it was so big.

    The Wolf Pack were playing the Kings AHL affiliate that night so it was completely irrelevant.

  55. I’m sorry, but witnessing the heart, effort and fearlessness which -Nash- displayed against the BJ’s, it makes me closer to being completely sure the guy is a major-league freek-in bow-wow and that his usual poor effort is not the result of post concussion as has been suggested here from time to time.

    But, in the interests of remaining POZY, I will try to withhold my final judgment until they finish the season, (though I make no promises I’ll be able to proceed forward without an occasional outburst of my acerbic tongue).

    -Nash- certainly has the talent to lead the the team to the playoffs. Though, I don’t believe he has a compatible Center or necessary physical protection on the opposite wing to play like that every night. Frankly, If he is continually targeted and ultimately forced to drop his gloves without intervention from a teammate, we are toast.

  56. I don’t know, Manny maybe the kid was just *REALLY* into penmanship. You could have been looking at a future *master* of *calligraphy*.

  57. Even though I believe the game against Philly is at the Garden, I bet Berube will try to have -Nash- see a decent amount of Hartnell, Simmonds and Rinaldo.

    What’s the countermeasure AV? Who will ride shotgun?

  58. Kreider did have a nice rag doll of Anisimov last night.

    Like to see him do that to Hartnell.

  59. I would like to see Kreider get nasty and drop the gloves every so often. He needs to watch tape Of real power forwards and take notes.

  60. Manny,

    I think Kreider will have to drop his gloves and go either today or against Philly.

  61. Saw it Wick. Tried to close my eyes.

    What is Girardi doing there, trying to draw a penalty?

  62. If Kreider scored 25-30 goals AND protected Nash, that would work for me.

    I think we’re gonna find out if the kid can throw them real soon. He’s strong as bull, so he won’t lose many wrestling matches. But can he put in the opposition with his fists?

  63. eddie eddie eddie on

    sports club stats has rangers 88% to make playoffs…highest probability of facing filthy in rd 1

  64. Nash’s performance against his old team last night reminded of Avery’s performance against Dallas few years back…After he was picked up by the Rangers the second time. Had his best game of the year and then disappeared into Torts’ doghouse for the rest of the year.

    Let’s see if they have any energy left for the Debbies.

  65. Brassard, Brassard.
    You play the game so hard.
    You shoot….
    We hoot…..
    A smile, then a jump
    You give AV a Lump.
    Brassard, Brassard
    You play the game so hard.

  66. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Not sure what girardi was trying to do, but he ended up looking like a chump!

  67. eddie eddie eddie on

    Brassard leads his team
    on the ice, quite the scene
    He scores goals to win a big game
    matter of time till he’s in the hall of fame

  68. iWicky "Frag Out!!!" on

    Lmao from pat “stop coaching pat” article

    “It looked like (Bobrovsky) punched our guy (Nash). I wasn’t sure what happened, and he was getting involved,” Lundqvist said. “I’m not gonna let them be six-on-five down there, but he skated away and I skated away. If the other (goalie) gets involved and they have more guys going at it, I guess I have to do something. I didn’t have to tonight, so…” He paused: “Lucky him.”

  69. I usually don’t look past too many games (especially the Debbie’s) but I am super psyched for Wednesday against Philthy.

    I believe the “truth”
    will come
    from that game.

  70. Admiral Akbar on

    I’m warning you guys:

    Philthy is on par with Pittsburgh and possibly even Boston. They are for real.

    It sucks, but it’s reality.

  71. Olga Folkyerself on

    Cat’s out of the bag now. They have screwed up in reverse. They were really good last night, looking just like a contender. They have mistakenly showed just how good they can be.

    This game is now my minimum expected effort for the rest of the season and the playoffs. Any less effort will be considered “just mailing it in”, waitin’ for payday, pansification, early retirement.

    This is the time of year to get it going. Playoff spots and position are on the line. They have plenty of motivation if the Cup is truly their goal.

    Pozy, Hell! Work hard, Do your job! Earn your pay. Play like you mean it. Go for it, or go home.

  72. “I’m warning you guys:

    Philthy is on par with Pittsburgh and possibly even Boston. They are for real.

    It sucks, but it’s reality.”

    It’s a trap!

  73. “Sather is not retiring, according to Larry Brooks. This is splendid news.”

    For the other 29 teams.

  74. The news in Brooks article wasn’t in regard to retirement it was Sather’s surprising quote….”I’m working to build this team into a Stanley Cup winner”

  75. If one way Jose #19 is going to give us 15-20 goals per YEAR, I’d just as soon see Dorsett get 16 to 20 minutes in lack of something better.

  76. jpg's sister on

    carp, I agree with you the Nash goal should have counted.
    Then he would have had a Gordie Howe Hat Trick, righta?

  77. If I remember correctly, it was Norm Peterson, not I, who first said that Richie could eat corn on the cob through a chain-link fence.

  78. These Refs love to call the daffodil penalties and ignore the egregious ones, and it’s only going to get worse once the Playoffs start.

  79. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Pens announcers are the worst ever. In the history of sports, or any other for that matter,there has never been a bigger pair of Bozos.

  80. 3-1 flyers game over. Blues had outshot flyers 9-0 start period and hit three posts before goal late seals it.

    Flyers keep rolling.

    No way rangers would have had this streak with this much at stake. 5 in a row now

  81. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    JR – “the biggest key is to ascertain the indifference to what is happening”

  82. Guess I’ll never get my free drink from Pozy. Forgot where he hangs out. Couldn’t go there anyway, until I get my Midnight Cowboy outfit from the cleaners.

  83. JR – “I just had an infinity … an Easfern Conference team will win the World Cup.”

  84. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    JR – “once the playoffs start, the regular season might as well be over”

  85. April is surely a sports fan’s heaven. NCAA final four, baseball begins, NHL playoffs, The Masters!

  86. I think Nash was boo-ed for his fight and his reactions to Bob. He got cheered before the game but during it, they boo-ed him.

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