The Rangers fell 5-3 to the Blue Jackets on Thursday. Up 2-0 in the first, New York allowed Columbus back in the game with the game tied at the end of the first. Problems that existed in the past with forwards failing to backcheck, poor own zone play and an inability to convent chances. To add injury to insult, Adam Fox left the game with what's being called an upper-body injury but is listed as day-to-day.
A few thoughts:
1) The Panarin - Strome - Goodrow line had a solid game. Panarin scored and had two assists while Goodrow contributed a goal. If you look at the advanced stats, that trio were four of the top six Rangers and four of the overall top seven. With Kaapo Kakko sidelined, at least the team may have one solid overall line that can produce. More importantly, the two goals they notched were at even strength.
2) Braden Schneider had two assists, including one on the power play when he replaced Fox. Schenider is showing more and more that he is a staple on the blue line, like Ryan Lindgren. The only question is with whom should he be paired?
3) Fox was injured on this play. The good news is that the injury does not appear to be serious. Obviously, the hope is that he does miss much time. But with a quick turnaround, playing tomorrow night may be questionable. Even if he is sidelined, Zac Jones, who was promoted from the taxi squad will dress in his place as Patrik Nemeth is still out and Jones is a better fit.
4) Overall, a horrific second period wiped out a decent first and solid third. Jonas Korpisalo did his best Henrik Lundqvist impersonation, including robbing Julien Gautheir off a feed from Alexis Lafreniere that would have tied the game. The defensive mistakes and average goaltending by Alexandar Georgiev, though I don't blame him for the loss, certainly contributed to the defeat.
5) Lundqvist rightfully gets his jersey raised to the rafters Friday. He is a first ballot Hall of Famer. The debate as to which goalie mans the pipes on the all-Rangers team will rage forever between Lundqvist and Mike Richter. Friday, both will have their numbers retired by the organization.
The King now and forever. Lundqvist, like Richter, officially finished his career only having worn the red, white and blue despite landing with another organization. Both goalies were developed within the system, though Hank had his growth after coming to New York from the SHL while Richter went from college to the minors to the parent club.
Lundqvist's perfect coif and smile and suits belied a fire to be the best shift in and shift out every single night. His work ethic was legendary and a hallmark of his career. Lundqvist willed his way to the top, aided by tremendous talent buffeted by a drive that mirrored most elite elite athletes then went beyond.
Far too often, his team left Lundqvist out to dry. Repeatedly. Lundqvist bailed them out winning/stealing games that should have been lost. As Mike Vacacro wrote, he is our David Wright, Patrick Ewing, Don Mattingly and Rod Gilbert, the leader of a team that finished just short but was one of the best in the game.
Thanks for the memories, thrills and joys, Hank. Enjoy your night. Next stop, the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Great column by Mike Vaccaro:
Column: for all of New York’s rep as a bottom-line-only sports town, there are gems who never quite reach the Canyon of Heroes who still capture a forever place in the town’s heart. Add Henrik Lundqvist name — and number — to that noble roster. #NYRhttps://t.co/mpAliOclOn