by Patrick Hoffman on 04/09/11 at 04:59 PM ET
The New York Rangers did what they had to do this afternoon in defeating the New Jersey Devils by a score of 5-2 at Madison Square Garden.
With the victory, the Blueshirts finished the regular season with 93 points, putting them up two points over the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight and should they lose in regulation time or overtime, the Rangers will clinch the final playoff spot and prepare for a first round matchup with the first place Washington Capitals.
It was great to see hard-working guys like Chris Drury, Brandon Prust, Ryan McDonagh and Vinny Prospal all beat future hall-of-fame netminder Martin Brodeur. For Drury, it was his first goal of the season and a big one at that. He also did well on face-offs and overall, was a positive factor for the Blueshirts this afternoon.
For McDonagh, it was his first career NHL goal. It could not have come at a better time for the Blueshirts as it gave them a 3-2 lead in the second period as well as a game-winning goal for #27.
Unlike Thursday night’s game with the Atlanta Thrashers, the Blueshirts did not look as tight out on the ice this afternoon. The team’s passes were crisp, they threw the puck on net without hesitation and they did what they had to do to come away with the necessary two points.
The team also got good goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist when they needed it the most. In making 24 saves, Lundqvist earned his 36th victory of the season.
Team head coach John Tortorella did a great job of making sure that the team came into the game confident and relaxed and again, it certainly showed. Tortorella has had his club’s back all season and while he will not win the Jack Adams’ trophy as the NHL’s best coach (that should go to Dan Bylsma of the Pittsburgh Penguins), his name should certainly be thrown into the hat for it.
With all of that said, it was an interesting regular season for the Blueshirts. It was filled with injuries to key players, surprises, solid coaching, great goaltending, lots of sacrifice, a ton of unselfish play and through all that, an identity was born.
Should the Rangers make the playoffs, this identity will need to come up big every game with the hope that it leads to something more. If the team does not make the playoffs, this identity will need to show itself for 82 games next season.
Whatever happens, it has been fun blogging about the Blueshirts for you folks this season. Let’s hope that there is more to blog about after tonights Hurricanes vs. Lightning game!
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: atlanta+thrashers, brandon+prust, carolina+hurricanes, chris+drury, dan+bylsma, john+tortorella, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+mcdonagh, tampa+bay+lightning, vinny+prospal
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.