Buchnevich distracted by Canes cheerleader, Mrazek save of the game, the reason Lundqvist was a healthy scratch

During last night’s game, Pavel Buchnevich was a little distracted coming off the ice following the second period. And for good reason.

The Storm Squad Hurricanes cheerleader was noticeable at the end of the first period too. Apparently, the attractive blonde caught Buchnevich’s eye as he walked back to the Rangers locker room. Who could blame him? He’s a 24-year old single Russian hockey player. Way to go Captain Happy.

Apparently, this isn’t the first time that cheerleader drew the eye of a Ranger. It happened last year as well when Kevin Shattenkirk also took a glimpse of her coming off the ice.

The good thing is it didn’t distract the team from getting the job done. They came into Raleigh and won 5-2 led by Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, Igor Shesterkin and Ryan Strome. Now, the focus turns to the Sharks later tonight at The Garden. Another big game for them before the trade deadline on Monday.

Win and the game at the Islanders becomes very interesting on Tuesday. Even if they do take care of San Jose on Sunday, the Rangers will very much be in play for the playoffs.

Also of note, let’s give Petr Mrazek credit for the save of the game. His team was on the short end, but he made a sensational glove robbery on Zibanejad to deny his bid for a second goal while on the power play.

It was pretty impressive. Zibanejad had a lot of room to fire a perfect cross ice pass into the back of the net from close range. But an athletic Mrazek was able to push off and do a full stretch to get his glove across and get the puck before it crossed the goal line. For a goalie that’s not considered a good number one with he and James Reimer taking turns, it’s a great save.

It at least gave the Hurricanes a chance in the third period. Ultimately, the Rangers took care of business to get a huge win and complete a season sweep of Carolina. They doubled them up basically in goals and got brilliant goaltending in all four wins including the first three from Henrik Lundqvist.

Speaking of which, did he really suggest Alex Georgiev back up due to putting in extra work at practice and in the weight room as reporters suggested? Well, more than one Tweeted it. David Quinn confirmed it in the postgame.

I’m not going to make more out of it than it is. I felt sorry for Lundqvist’s Mom. She looked miserable except for when the team scored goals. It can’t be easy to see her son reduced to a spectator. I don’t know if the Rangers handled this whole situation correctly. I guess we’ll find it more once the season is over.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of Hudson administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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