Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

Crucial Tilt Against The Predators

As of this morning, the New York Rangers were ninth in the Eastern Conference with 76 points, just one point out of the 8th spot (currently held by the Florida Panthers) and two points out of the 7th (currently held by the Carolina Hurricanes) and 6th (currently held by the Pittsburgh Penguins). This makes tonight’s game against the streaky Nashville Predators extremely important and much like the Blueshirts, the Predators are doing everything they can to stay in the thick of the playoff race (currently 8th in the Western Conference with 71 points).

Another reason why tonight’s tilt in Nashville is important is because of what a win would mean for Blueshirts’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist. The “King” is one win away from establishing a new NHL record by becoming the first goaltender in NHL history to win 30 or more games in each of his first four seasons. That should show you just how valuable Henrik is to this team and that he is one of the major reasons why the team has qualified for the postseason in each of their last three seasons.

While Monday’s night 3-0 loss to the Hurricanes wasn’t pretty, the team still looks like they are close to where they need to be in order to make the playoffs. They’re scoring more goals (except for Monday), going harder to the net, getting goals from guys that should be scoring, still playing sound defense and getting great goaltending from Henrik.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers, henrik+lundqvist, nashville+predators, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, sean+avery

Rangers Learning to Bend, But Not Break

In yesterday’s 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins, did any of you New New York Ranger fans think that this game would go to overtime when the Blueshirts blew a 3-1 lead? I know that I certainly did.

However, this is a new coach, a new team and may be even a new era for the Rangers and as such, the team produced a new result for their fans yesterday afternoon.

Another positive result - the guys that scored the goals: Nik Antropov, Scott Gomez, Ryan Callahan and Nikolai Zherdev. If the team wants to continue to be successful and make a full court press towards clinching a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, these guys and other notables will need to continue to produce.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, new+york+rangers, nik+antropov, nikolai+zherdev, ryan+callahan, scott+gomez, tom+renney

Rangers With Avery : Win

All the New York Rangers do with Sean Avery in the lineup is win.

Last night’s 4-2 win over the New York Islanders extended the team’s record to 50-23-13 in the regular season when Avery is in the lineup. He had just over 10 minutes of ice time and was rather effective as he forechecked, stirred it up without crossing the line, generated a few scoring chances and in general, gave the team an extra spark.

Yes, the win came over the last place Islanders and yes, the team wasn’t great but in the end, they did what they had to do to win and even managed to get goals from Nikolai Zherdev, Chris Drury, Scott Gomez and Markus Naslund, guys that need to step it up down the stretch in order to help get this team into the playoffs.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, chris+drury, derek+morris, john+tortorella, markus+naslund, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, nik+antropov, nikolai+zherdev, scott+gomez, sean+avery

A New Beginning

In their first game after the trade deadline, the New York Rangers will have all their new guys in the lineup tonight against the last place New York Islanders.

With Nik Antropov, the team now has some size on the wing as well as a guy who can score goals (21 goals this season). If head coach John Tortorella can light a fire under this guy, the team may finally see more power play goals for. Newsday Rangers’ beat writer Steve Zipay believes that he’ll skate with Chris Drury and Brandon Dubinsky. Dubinsky’s and Antropov’s size should open up the ice more for Drury.

Zipay thinks that Sean Avery will skate with Ryan Callahan and Lauri Korpikoski, forming a small but very aggressive line. As most knowledgeable hockey/Ranger fans know, Avery can be tenacious on the forecheck and that is exactly what Tortorella wants him to do.

New defenseman Derek Morris will be paired with one of his former partners from the Phoenix Coyotes, Paul Mara. He gives the backline some added size as well as another player that can play the point on the power play. This is another player that Tortorella needs to light a fire to help be more consistent.

This team definitely got a bit better at the trade deadline and now, they need to show it by clinching a playoff spot in the tight Eastern Conference. 

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  Tags: brandon+dubinsky, chris+drury, derek+morris, john+tortorella, lauri+korpikoski, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, newsday, nik+antropov, paul+mara, ryan+callahan, sean+avery, steve+zipay

Even Bigger Move for Blueshirts

It was going to happen at some point and in my opinion, this was the best way for it to occur. Petr Prucha, Nigel Dawes and Dmitri Kalinin were sent to the Phoenix Coyotes for defenseman Derek Morris.

He may only have 12 points this season but is obviously an upgrade over Kalinin and gives the power play another point man.

What do you folks think of this one

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Thoughts on Antropov

The New York Rangers picked up Nik Antropov from the Toronto Maple Leafs this afternoon.

He currently has 21 goals (which actually leads the Rangers) and 25 assists for 46 points in 63 games.

He’s struggled with consistency and seems to be a player that can turn it on when he wants to. Hopefully, under fiery head coach John Tortorella, he’ll learn to play with passion, hustle and produce on a nightly basis.

What do you folks think about this one?

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  Tags: john+tortorella, new+york+rangers, nik+antropov, toronto+maple+leafs

Deadline Cramming on Scotty Hockey

Scotty from the great New York Rangers blog Scotty Hockey penned a great blog yesterday on what the Rangers should do at the trade deadline.

Click here for more.

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  Tags: new+york+rangers, scotty+hockey

Ranger Trade Deadline Thoughts from Blueshirt Bulletin

If you want to see an in-depth and insightful take on what the Rangers could do during this year’s NHL Trade Deadline, I would suggest that you check out Dan Akenson’s take at Blueshirt Bulletinhttp://www.blueshirtbulletin.com/2009/03/trade-deadline-preview-part-ii.html

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What Will They Do?

Obviously, the question that every New York Ranger fan wants to know heading into the NHL’s March 4th trade deadline is what are they going to do?

Will they clear roster spots? Well, I think they will because it appears that since the team will try and claim Sean Avery off re-entry waivers, they will need to clear some cap space. This afternoon, the team sent newly acquired Mark Bell down to it’s farm team, the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Will they trade Scott Gomez or Chris Drury? Well, unlike a well known rumor monger, I don’t think they will. General Manager Glen Sather signed these two guys to long-term deals in the summer of 2007 in hopes that they would produce and lead this team to a Stanley Cup. While they haven’t lived up to their billing, I believe that they will get their act together and perform for their new head coach John Tortorella, who expects nothing less.

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  Tags: chris+drury, chris+pronger, glen+sather, hartford+wolf+pack, illya+kovalchuk, jay+bouwmeester, john+tortorella, mark+bell, new+york+rangers, nigel+dawes, petr+prucha, scott+gomez, sean+avery

It’s About Time

Well, how about that - the New York Rangers’ offense does exist as the team exploded for six goals, including four in the first period, in a 6-1 win over the visiting Colorado Avalanche.

This was a long time coming as the Rangers fired over 80 shots in their last two games combined, only to find the back of the net twice. Tonight, however, was a different story.

The Rangers struck early and often as the team had a 2-0 lead just two minutes into the first period, off goals by Ryan Callahan and Nikolai Zherdev. Then later in the period, the club would get goals from Petr Prucha and Scott Gomez to give the team a commanding 4-0 lead going into the second period.

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: andrew+raycroft, colorado+avalanche, john+tortorella, new+york+rangers, nikolai+zherdev, peter+budaj, petr+prucha, ryan+callahan, scott+gomez

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About Goal Line Report

Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.

Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.

For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.

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