New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello
Photo by Bergen Record

While most of the New York Rangers were busy making a fiasco out of last night’s game, Antti Raanta was busy cleaning up the mess.

By Chris Wengert

The New York Rangers will want to burn the game tape and then buy Antti Raanta dinner after the mess they made in Toronto last night.

And to walk away with a 4-2 victory after making such a mess should show everyone how abysmal the Toronto Maple Leafs are.

The NHL seriously needs to figure out how to deal with these head shots because once again the Rangers could potentially lose their captain if he did indeed suffer a concussion.

And it’s not Ryan McDonagh the player, but Ryan McDonagh the person that fans should be worried about.

Look no further than Ranger great Mike Richter to understand how serious two concussions can be. Richter’s concussion’s were so serious that he had to retire after sustaining two within an eight month period.

By comparison, McDonagh could have potentially sustained two within a couple weeks of each other.

The whole situation is made worse because Leo Kamarov’s hit was about as dirty as they come:

Inside Hockey’s Ranger’s columnist Seth Rothman was not only upset at the hit, but also expressed his displeasure with NHL Partner Sportsnet, who was trying to capitalize on the hit.

Here are his thread of tweets about the subject:

Seth nails it right on the proverbial head with his comments. What else has to happen to these players before the NHL makes a serious change?

For my money, the solution is easy. 

However long a player is out with a concussion or head injury, the guilty party must be suspended an equal number of games. That would make any player think twice before making a dirty hit on an opponent. 

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The only real positive to come out of this game was the play of Antti Raanta, because wow was he good. 

If it were not for Raanta’s solid play the Rangers would have lost this game by a wide margin. He was tracking and staying square to the puck, didn’t allowed many rebounds, and didn’t try to do too much.

If Raanta can remain reliable in net it will go a long way to help Henrik Lundqvist stay fresh.

Other than Raanta’s play, the Rangers looked slow and unmotivated after a heartbreaking loss to the Chicago Blackhawks the night before. 

There was no fore check, no jump, lame passes, and little physicality. 

The defensive coverage looked like it did back in December, with Rangers leaving Leafs players open in the slot throughout the entire game.

And once again the Rangers found a way to allow their opponent to score in the final minutes-It really is becoming a serious problem.

The Rangers need to figure this out, and fast.

Teams will constantly crash their net, especially in the playoffs, and if the Rangers cannot figure out how to defend down the stretch it will be a short spring for sure. 

If anyone can explain to me why Alain Vigneault insists on sitting Dylan McIlrath in favor of Dan Boyle, I’m all ears.

In addition to Raanta, J.T. Miller played another strong game. If it weren’t for his effort on Mats Zuccarello‘s and Derek Stepan‘s goals, the Rangers don’t win that game.

This shot is quickly becoming Derek Stepan’s signature shot:

The Rangers will have a couple days to rest up before Brad Richards and the Detriot Red Wings come to town Sunday.

NEXT: New York Rangers: Can This Team Make A Deep Playoff Run?

I've been a die hard Rangers and Giants fan for as long as I can remember. I enjoy sharing opinions, and hearing from fans that love their teams just as much as I do. Henrik Lundqvist makes all of us look like mere mortals. E-mail me at: