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courtesy of NHL.com

I was excited for last night’s game. I really was. Just got home from London, looking forward to some hockey, it’s St. Patty’s Day so it’s the perfect excuse to have a couple beers. And I had to watch the Blueshirts blow another game at MSG. There’s no excuse to blow a 2-0 lead at home, even if they ended up with 1 point. As usual, stats and all that good stuff are courtesy of NHL.com

Quick Stats:

First Period Scoring-

  • 2:34 NEW YORK GOAL (PP) Mats Zuccarello; Assists: Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan
  • 4:11 NEW YORK GOAL  J.T. Miller; Assists: Brendan Smith, Mika Zibanejad 

Second Period Scoring-

  • 1:25 FLORIDA GOAL Jonathan Huberdeau; Assists: Jaromir Jagr, Alex Petrovic
  • 6:41 FLORIDA GOAL (PP) Jussi Jokinen; Assists: Thomas Vanek, Jason Demers

Third Period Scoring-

  • 7:23  FLORIDA GOAL Aleksander Barkov; Assists: Jaromir Jagr, Jonathan Huberdeau
  • 11:45  NEW YORK GOAL Mats Zuccarello; Unassisted

Shootout-

  • Mats Zuccarello, NYR: SAVED
  • Vincent Trocheck, FLA: SAVED
  • Mika Zibanejad, NYR: SAVED
  • Alex Barkov, FLA: SCORED
  • Michael Grabner, NYR: MISSED

Three Stars-

  1. Jaromir Jagr, FLA: 2 Assists
  2. Mats Zuccarello, NYR: 2 Goals
  3. Jonathan Huberdeau, FLA: 1 Goal, 1 Assist

Impressions:

  • The Rangers suck at home. I realize that’s a strong statement, given that their record is a few games over .500 at MSG, but it just isn’t good enough. This is especially bad because this team has one of the best road records in the league, which will no doubt be a huge boost in the playoffs. The Rangers had been getting better at home, but have now dropped something like 4 of the last 6 at home. Not to mention the fact that this effort was not a complete 60-minute game. The Rangers came out fast and scored two beautiful goals, only to come out flat in the second period. This is the wrong time of year to start falling into bad habits.
  • The divergent paths of the the two Rangers’ special teams units continues, as they both scored and gave up a power-play goal. Obviously, its great to see the man-advantage continue to find the back of the net, but the uptick in power-play goals conceded is alarming. It was especially bad in this game, as it played a part in reversing a red-hot start by the Rangers and ultimately seeing them lose their lead.
  • Jaromir Jagr is a freak of nature. He had a beast of a game with two assists and the first star of the game. I think his assist on the Huberdeau goal was the play of the night from the big Czech winger, as he cut through the crease, drew Nick Holden with him, and allowed Huberdeau to score. Even at 45 years of age, he plays a great physical game and continues to score. My buddy, Stevie says he wants Jags to play into his 50s a la Gordie Howe. Honestly, I see no reason why he can’t reach that milestone.
  • It was great to see Mats Zuccarello pot a couple goals in this game. Everyone’s been talking about Stepan, who definitely has missed the mark this year way too often. But Zuccarello’s had just as tough a year in the goal-scoring department. These two have been picked up by others, with Hayes and JT Miller immediately coming to mind, but increased goalscoring from Zucc and Step would catapult this team into elite territory.
  • This isn’t the reason why the Rangers lost but why in the hell was Buchnevich scratched tonight? I’ve written about how much I like Tanner Glass and how the Rangers needed him around, but I also insisted that he shouldn’t take the place of any regulars. Jesper Fast came back into the lineup, which was great, but it should’ve been at the expense of Glass. I really have faith in AV as a coach, but I’m starting to wonder about his stubborn insistence on playing his “trusted” veterans over rookies that need to be given the time and opportunity to play. Whether it’s Girardi or in this case, Tanner Glass, AV needs to think with his head rather than his heart.
  • Since we’re on the topic of AV’s strange decisions, what was with Grabner  being given the opportunity in the shootout? It was literally his first opportunity in the shootout this year. I get that he usually converts on breakaways but a penalty shot is a different animal. It’s not as fast, nor it is as sudden a change in play as a breakaway. A more proven entity like Stepan or Nash would have been a more appropriate choice.