Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

Big on Even Strength

This is the perfect way to describe tonight's New York Rangers' win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

All goals were even strength as the Blueshirts got even two goals from Carl Hagelin (two goals and one assist) a goal from team captain Ryan Callahan, a goal by fourth liner Arron Asham (his first as a Ranger) and power forward Rick Nash (one goal and one assist) to lead the Rangers to a 5-1 victory at Madison Square Garden. With the win, the Blueshirts moved over the .500, albeit one game, mark for the first time this season.

The Rangers essentially won this game in the first period. Hagelin scored 31 seconds into the game and Callahan scored with just over five minutes to go in the period to put the Rangers up by a score of 2-0 going into the second.

In that first period, the Rangers were all over the Lightning in the offensive zone. The team got to loose pucks and were not afraid to put it on net as the team fired 15 shots on Lightning netminder Mathieu Garon, who ended up being pulled after Hagelin notched his second of the night about ten minutes into the second period.

That second period was quite interesting as a Rangers' error at their own bench allowed Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier to score his team's only goal. On the play, the Blueshirts had trouble making a line change and ended up getting caught shorhanded in their own zone. Rangers' netminder Henrik Lundqvist (19 saves) made two great saves prior to the goal but Lecavalier was able to sneak one in just under Lundqvist's outstretched left arm.

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  Tags: arron+asham, boston+bruins, carl+hagelin, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, mathieu+garon, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, tampa+bay+lightning, vincent+lecavalier

Trying to Build Consistency

That is something the New York Rangers will look to do tonight when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

On Thursday night against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden, the Blueshirts skated away with a 4-1 victory. The team got terrific performances out of J.T. Miller, Chris Kreider, Ryan McDonagh and Henrik Lundqvist and did everything else they needed to do to win a hockey game.

For the Rangers to get all parts of their game going, the team's power play must start clicking. More often than not, the Rangers have been given ample opportunitites to build on their momentum by scoring a goal with the man advantage and more often than not, the Rangers come out of it goal-less.

When one thinks about it, it does not make any sense that the Rangers are not producing on the power play. The team has the talent, the shooters, the guys to go to the front of the net and the point men to get the puck to the net.

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  Tags: chris+kreider, henrik+lundqvist, j.t.+miller, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ryan+mcdonagh, tampa+bay+lightning

An E-mail Interview with Aspiring Hockey Writer Austin Legendre

Making it in the hockey industry as a journalist is extremely tough to do these days.

With that said, it is a very admirable goal and one that is worth striving for. One budding hockey journalist that agrees with me is Austin Legendre. He may be just 14-years-old but when it comes to hockey, he knows his stuff, he works hard, is committed to becoming a professional hockey writer and does more than a good job of giving credit to all the professional hockey reporters out there.

In my book, he is someone worth learning more about. With that in mind, here is an e-mail interview I conducted with him:

PH: How did you get into hockey?
AL: It was in the 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs. Being 5 years of age at the time, I knew nothing about the game of hockey, but having a mom who was a die-hard Oilers fan watching the Oilers fail to qualify for the playoffs, she had no other choice but to cheer for the Flames.

The first game I can remember ever watching was Game 7 of the Western Conference Quarter-finals between the Flames and Canucks in which Martin Gelinas had won the game shortly into the 1st overtime period to advance Calgary into the 2nd round. Living in Calgary, everyone was driving around immediately after games with their jerseys on screaming out of their vehicles.

After the Flames advanced past the Red Wings in the 2nd round, we started to do the same. That's when I knew that hockey was my passion. 
 

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  Tags: austin+legendre

Rangers’ Young Trio Come Through in Win Over the Islanders

For the New York Rangers ot have success the rest of the way, they are going to need contributions up and down the lineup.

In a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden tonight, Blueshirts' youngsters J.T. Miller (two goals), Ryan McDonagh (one goal and one assist) and Chris Kreider (one assist) all had big games for their team. The trio produced, played well on both sides of the ice and showed head coach John Tortorella that they are here to stay (mainly Miller and Kreider).

In just his second career NHL game, Miller notched his first two NHL goals. His first one came in the first period as Miller used his hustle, great footwork and patience with the puck to beat Islanders' goaltender Evegni Nabokov.

The second one was a beauty that came on the power play (Yes, you read that right). McDonagh made a great pass from just over his own blue and hit Miller cutting towards the offensive zone blue line and Miller beat Nabokov on a partial breakaway.

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  Tags: chris+kreider, evgeni+nabokov, j.t.+miller, john+tortorella, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, ryan+mcdonagh, tampa+bay+lightning

Power Play Must Start Working for the Blueshirts

When it comes to winning in the National Hockey League, a team's performance on special teams plays an integral role in winning and losing hockey games.

For the New York Rangers, the power play has been a detriment to the hockey club. The team cannot seem to put the puck in the net, is too often looking for the perfect play and is failing at key times in a hockey game.

Tonight against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers will try and do everything they can to change that. At 3 for 35 with the man advantage and with a 4-5 record through nine games this season, the team simplay cannot afford not to have a power play that works.

When looking at the power play, it is easy to see why it is not working. For starters, the Blueshirts are not getting enough quality scoring chances. Too often, the team is looking for the perfect play with the perfect pass and more often than not, that will not lead to a power play goal.

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  Tags: new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers

Clarkson, Brodeur Beat Blueshirts 3-1

For the New York Rangers, tonight must have seemed familiar as the team was beaten by the strong performances of New Jersey Devils' forward David Clarkson and netminder Martin Brodeur in a 3-1 loss.

Clarkson continues to show that last year was not a fluke as he picked up his sixth and seventh goal of the year by doing something the Rangers have not done often enough this season and that's being in the right position in the slot. On both goals, Clarkson was left open in front of Rangers' netminder Henrik Lundqvist and he made them pay for it.

The Blueshirts also ran into the hot goaltending of Brodeur. Brodeur, who stopped 24 or 25 shots on the night, made several great saves in the first period to keep the Rangers off the board and then made a terrific glove save on Blueshirts' forward Carl Hagelin in the third period to help preserve the victory.

The loss puts the Rangers at 4-5 this season and also shows just how inconsistent the club really is. The team continued to struggle on the power play, played careless defense in front of Lundqvist and did not get the offense they need to win a hockey game.

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  Tags: brad+richards, carl+hagelin, david+clarkson, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, rick+nash

Rangers Looking to be More Than Solid at The Rock

The last time the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils squared off, the Devils scored in overtime to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, where they would lose in six games to the Los Angeles Kings.

Fast forward close to nine months later and things are very different. Both teams are in the midst of a 48-game schedule, both teams have new faces and both clubs are not quite sure where they fit in just yet in the ever competitive Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference and are meeting tonight at the Prudential Center.

The Blueshirts are coming off a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in what was one of their best performances of the season. The team played tight defense, got the scoring they needed and got a big game out of their back-up goaltender Martin Biron.

The team will look to do the same tonight, this time with different faces in the lineup. For starters, Rangers' highly-touted prospect J.T. Miller was called up from the Connecticut Whale and will more than likely utilize him in their upcoming games.  

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  Tags: connecticut+whale, darroll+powe, j.t.+miller, los+angeles+kings, martin+biron, mike+rupp, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, nick+palmieri, tampa+bay+lightning

Stability and Consistency Lead Rangers to Victory

When it comes to winning a hockey game in the NHL, teams must be consistent in their play and have some stability whether it is with their offense, defense or goaltending.

Tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the New York Rangers got the stability in goal they needed from back-up Martin Biron (30 saves) and consistently put pucks on net in a 3-2 victory in Tampa Bay for their first road victory of the season.. Considering that the Lightning were the best team in the Eastern Conference coming into this game and were putting pucks in the net left and right, it was an impressive victory for the Blueshirts.

In his first start of the season, Biron was exactly what he needed to be for the Rangers. He made the big saves when he needed to, slowed down the play when his team needed a breather and have the Rangers the kind of goaltending they needed against a very good Lightning hockey club.

On offense, Rangers' forward Derek Stepan scored his first goal of the season to knot the game up at 1-1 in the second period. For Stepan, it was a much needed goal as he had not scored since Game 6 against the Ottawa Senators in last year's first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The team also got an absolutely great goal from Rick Nash. On the play, Nash used his size and terrific puck-handling abilities to blow by Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and beat Lightning netminder Mathieu Garon to give the team a 2-1 lead.

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  Tags: adam+henrique, carl+hagelin, derek+stepan, martin+biron, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, rick+nash, tampa+bay+lightning, taylor+pyatt

Not Going to be Easy

Update: According to Rangers' beat writer Steve Zipay, it appears that Rangers' back-up goaltender Martin Biron will make his first start of the season tonight

That will certainly be the case tonight for the New York Rangers when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in Tampa.

The Blueshirts are coming off one of their worst performances of this young season. On Thursday night at Madison Square Garden against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Rangers were kept quiet offensively, took another careless too many men on the ice penalty and lacked the energy that is needed to be competitive in a hockey game.

At the other end of the ice, the Lightning are just the opposite. The team is scoring goals like crazy (beat the Winnipeg Jets 8-3 last night), cashing in on the power play and at the time of this writing, is the top team in the Eastern Conference with a 6-1 record, having won five straight games.

For the Rangers to start winning hockey games, their offense is going to need to step up in a big way. Besides the line of Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, and Rick Nash, the team's forwards have been very quiet.

The team needs the likes of Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin to start putting the puck in the net. These two players have not played badly but they are not finding themselves on the scoresheet, which could become a problem as this season goes further.

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  Tags: brad+richards, carl+hagelin, derek+stepan, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, rick+nash, tampa+bay+lightning, winnipeg+jets

Blah

That is exactly the way the New York Rangers played tonight in their 3-0 shutout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden.

The Blueshirts failed to get many quality scoring chances, put too many pucks into the mid-section or right into Penguins' netminder Tomas Vokoun, ran into bad luck with hitting goal posts and struggled on the power play. The team also did not get any offense from their big guns in Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik, and when that happens, the Rangers will lose more often than not like they did tonight.

Rangers' netminder Henrik Lundqvist (26 saves) certainly did what he could to keep his team in the game. Unfortunately for Lundqvist, his teammates did not do the same in return.

It was clear that the Rangers' missed the efforts of their injured team captain Ryan Callahan. While the Rangers were not terrible, they lacked the energy and spark that Callahan provides on every single shift.

For the Rangers the lack of the above mentioned qualities spells disaster. The team had trouble keeping the puck in the offensive zone, did not do a good job of getting the puck deep and did not forecheck the way they need to in order to win a hockey game.

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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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