“Blog so hard motherf*ckers wanna fine me” – Jay-Z
2 very different games ended in 2 wins this weekend. I could research the numbers (I won’t due to crippling laziness and mild disdain for my readers!) but between the end of the 3rd period on Friday night and the beginning of the 1st on Saturday, the Rangers scored 6 goals in just under 9 minutes against Columbus. I’m no math guy, but THAT’S SOME GOOD SCORIN’.
Friday was a game the Rangers probably shouldn’t have won. Columbus came flying out of the gates; they were fast, consistently dangerous offensively, and physical as hell. Their forward group is big, mean, and super skilled, and the Rangers were on their heels all night. An advantage to being an awesome team, however, is that even if you aren’t playing your best you still have a chance to win if you can keep the game close. The Rangers did just that. Also, Bobrovsky let in one of the worst goals I’ve ever seen an NHL goalie let in on Hayes’ winner. That is also helpful.
Saturday was the photo negative of Friday’s game. The Rangers went up 3-0 before the first commercial and the game seemed to be over about as soon as it started. Also, the crowd at this game was brutally unenthusiastic. There were maybe 2 “Let’s go Rangers” chants that caught on, which was insane considering, you know, the team scored 3 times within the first 6 minutes. That said, I sat next to a couple that decided to skip checking out wedding venues to get drunk and come to the home opener. I don’t like using the word hero, unless it’s for someone who deserves it like Marcus Luttrell or the dude who invented Tinder. But that drunk couple? Heroes.
Starting like this has been a welcome change, considering both the team and Lundqvist started off each of the last 2 seasons horribly. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the beginning of the season.
1. OSCAR “WAYNE GRETZKY” LINDBERG
It’s great getting contributions from players from whom very little was expected. Is he going to continue scoring like this? Of course not. Am I excited to make a tasteless “Lindberg Baby” joke the second he goes quiet for a few games? Absolutely. Have I considered an exit strategy for this ridiculous device in which I ask myself dumb rhetorical questions? Not once.
2 of Lindberg’s goals have been products of pure luck that won’t be replicated. Both goals last night were completely the result of exceedingly fortunate bounces, but it’s encouraging that he puts himself in a position to take advantage of those opportunities when they arise. His other 2 goals, however, have been excellent. On opening night he buried a one-timer, which was the prototypical goalscorer’s goal. The tying goal on Friday, however, was a GREAT play. As a left-handed shot, he releases the puck on the same side as the goalie’s blocker. One of the worst things to deal with as a goalie (that wears a right-handed blocker) is a lefty shooter with a quick release who can accurately shoot the puck about 18 inches off the ice, under the blocker and over the pad. Lindberg did just that, and it gives me hope for the rest of his season.
2. MATS ZUCCARELLO
Welcome back. He looks sneaky, quick, and is making crafty plays with the puck. 2 goals on Friday was awesome, but Saturday was when he looked all the way back. Great passing, quick choices, and generally looking dangerous. The fact that he’s playing hockey again is enough; playing well again already is a miracle.
3. HENRIK LUNDQVIST IS MORE HANDSOME THAN YOU
He is handsome. Also, he is playing out of his goddamn mind right now. Saturday’s game saw him make 2 or 3 of the best saves of his career. I’m still not fully over how ridiculous he was. Normally, he’s so far ahead of the play that it doesn’t look very difficult for him to make stops that are completely insane for any other goalie. Last night he didn’t have that luxury, and it was a pleasure to watch. Everyone, for the love of God, please respect and understand that he is the best goalie the Rangers have ever had and, barring a miracle, will ever have. Hank is a living legend and I love him and if you don’t I will fight you to the death.
Next game is on Tuesday! Prediction: JETS ARE STILL FROM WINNIPEG, THEY LOSE ON AN EXISTENTIAL LEVEL REGARDLESS OF THE FINAL SCORE