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Rangers vs. Minnesota Wild, 3/27

Game notes time. Enjoy them.

Pregame:

  • This seems like a game that guys could fall asleep for since Minnesota blows (their record since they somehow led the NHL on Dec. 12: 11-27-7), but that isn’t going to happen. Gaborik is back for the 2nd time since he left the Wild, and Stepan and McD (and maybe Bickel? I don’t remember) both grew up in Minnesota and will probably have a ton of friends and family there. They’re all going to be at their best.
  • Henrik is due for a shutout and return to form. Playing one of the worst offensive teams in hockey is a good place to start.

1st Period:

  • Considering how bad the Wild team is, the fans are amazing. I know it’s the state of hockey and all, but to sell out games and stay dedicated like they have regardless of having crappy teams is just impressive. I genuinely hope they become more competitive starting next year.
  • Cal Clutterbuck has a badass name and is an even better hitter. Step and Cally had a couple big hits too. This game could get chippy if the hard hitting keeps up.
  • John Mitchell looks like he’s been skating harder all over the ice the last few games. If he keeps it up, he’s an awesome 3rd liner: big, strong guy with some decent scoring pop.
  • DO YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BOO MARIAN GABORIK? DO YOU SEE? A penalty that will lead to a most likely harmless power play.
  • Dubinsky is doing exactly what he needs to do whether he’s slumping or not: getting to the net and making life miserable for defensemen and goalies alike. He may not get pretty points there, but he’ll take the ugly ones.
  • Regarding that Staal mishandling of the puck and Heatley semi-breakaway: why does this seem like it’s happening so much recently? The D can’t control a puck, falls over, scoring chance ensues. I’m not amused.
  • Encouraging PP sign: quick puck and player movement. That’s how you get production.
  • Did Minnesota just take a Too Many Men penalty while simultaneously giving up an odd-man rush? That’s impressive, but in a bad way.

2nd Period:

  • Nice to see even the fine people of Minnesota have to deal with Dubstep at their games now too. Good work, America.
  • Did he just score with a between-the-legs shot?
  • No. But good job by Minny to take advantage of a stick-less Cally on that PP.
  • Wow, I totally forgot Gaborik went after DiPietro and Heatley in that 2000 draft. Mike Milbury’s shitty-ness as a GM has had like a 15 year effect. It’s like a nuclear winter of horrible personnel decisions.
  • Considering how quick on the whistle these refs have been all game, sort of surprised at the no-call on Bickel’s shove to the back.
  • I’ve touched on this before, but you don’t want your 3rd line to be your best line.
  • Haha suck it Wild fans. Must be nice to let go of a guy who would score over 100 goals in the next 3 seasons, and possibly 2 of them at 40+. Shrewd.
  • It’s insane how hard it is to beat Henrik when there’s no traffic and he’s square to the shooter. So focused, and so quick.
  • This is why I shouldn’t say things. But good for Mikku Koivu, he’s a vastly underrated player. It’s like watching Henrik Zetterberg on a bad team.
  • I constantly forget that Stepan and Del Zotto are only 21. This sort of blows my mind.

3rd Period:

  • Pens lost to the Islanders, which means this win means even more for the Blueshirts. Don’t think they aren’t checking the scoreboard before this period starts.
  • Hagelin has kind of disappeared recently. Maybe he’s banged up, but he’s not even a fraction as noticeable as he was a couple weeks ago.
  • I like Stralman. If he gets going before the playoffs, the Rangers have him and DZ as 2 solid offensive d-men who aren’t a liability in their own zone, and that’s one of the most important assets any team can have for the playoffs.
  • 2 assists for McD tonight, and great finish from Feds. No mistake about that put away.
  • The momentum hasn’t been theirs for much of the period, but I like the Rangers’ energy going into the last few minutes. Good speed and physicality, no let-up at all.
  • I would kill for a Gabby empty-netter. It’d be so satisfying.
  • This has Tortorella time-out written all over it. UPDATE: yup, he’s really smart with his time-outs.

The neutral zone and d-zone pressure from the Rangers to close the game out was great to see. It’s how they played earlier this year when they just choked teams out slowly over 60 minutes, and they need to get back to doing it consistently.

3-2. Hank for President, Herman Cain for VP, and great games from McD and Gabby. Go Rangers, see you Thursday.

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