Opening night, a truly wonderful time of the year. The jitters, the expectations, the roar of a full capacity arena, nothing better on the planet. An overwhelmingly dominant win over the Lightning, who knocked the Rangers out of the playoffs last year is even sweeter.
No Ranger came better prepared for the night none other than Mika Zibanejad. Could have had a 5 goal night with the way he was flying out there. There was practically nothing that would give a fan pause. The least effective player of the night, to me, was like Ryan Carpenter, but I’m not going to worry about a 4th line guy that much of a critique on the first game of the year.
You worry about Vitali Kravtsov, thanks to a headlock while down on the ice by Victor Hedman. At the time of typing this, there was no status on him other than he was done for the night after only skating 2 shifts. Afterward, Gallant brought Lafrenière up on the line with Trochek and Panarin and he looked fine all game. You hope for the best in this situation, because when healthy, this Ranger lineup is all but perfectly constructed with its lines with the roles for each player.
Though he wouldn’t end up being super busy only facing 26 shots, Igor picked up right where he left off only surrendering a single goal off of a power play blast from Steven Stamkos. Could he repeat his incredible 2021-22 season and win another Vezina? I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s still unbelievable that he is our goalie and just looks calm no matter what. He is without question the best goalie in the league to me.
Last thought on this awesome opening night, a little bone to pick. Yes, I was just praising Igor above and that he is the best goalie in the league, but can we as a fanbase please refrain from chanting “Igor’s better” at hockey games? Remember how that chant absolutely torched us? Let’s keep that to blogs (not this one, of course), Twitter, and our own thoughts. Don’t put out bad juju. With that, it’s great to be back covering hockey again. Let’s do this again Thursday shall we?
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