Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

Skills Competition Bails out Rangers

For the second straight game, the New York Rangers needed a shootout to pick up two points, this time against the Florida Panthers.

It was also the second straight game that both Markus Naslund and Nikolai Zherdev scored in the “skills competition” to give the Rangers a 4-3 victory.

Unlike there many other games that went to the shootout, it was the opposing team that tied up the game with just over a minute to go in the tilt as David Booth ripped in an in-tight shot past Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (38 saves) with 1:33 left to go in the hockey game.

It was a game that featured 87 combined shots, great goaltending from both netminders (Craig Anderson of the Florida Panthers made 43 saves) and an excellent Rangers’ penalty kill that killed of 1:47 worth of a 5-on-3 Panthers’ power play.

This was also a game that the Rangers had to win. Going into the game, the Panthers were tied for last in the Southeast Division with the Tampa Bay Lightning and were coming off a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night. Couple that with the Rangers’ two-game winning streak, the strong play of Markus Naslund and Nikolai Zherdev and Lundqvist’s goaltending, and it should have been a slam dunk win for the Blueshirts.

With that said, the Panthers gave the Rangers some trouble last night as they fired 41 shots on Lundqvist and forced him to make huge saves and also took a lot of penalties. Yes, the team came out on top with the victory but eventually, bad penalties will catch up to them and pucks will start getting past their all-star netminder.

“They’re a really good team, and they work really hard,” Lundqvist told the team’s website.

The good news is that Zherdev and Naslund continue to show a lot of chemistry out on the ice. Zherdev picked up his 8th goal of the regular season and the shootout winner while Naslund assisted on Zherdev’s goal and also scored in the shootout. Both of these players were looking for fresh starts in New York and right now, they look to be enjoying themselves and being productive because of it.

Tomorrow afternoon, the Blueshirts return to Madison Square Garden where they are 10-3-4 to take on this same Panthers’ hockey club. If you were head coach Tom Renney, would you make any lineup changes? Would you consider giving Stephen Valiquette the start in goal? How about playing Petr Prucha, which obviously never came to fruition last night?

Let me hear your thoughts!


Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: craig+anderson, david+booth, florida+panthers, henrik+lundqvist, markus+naslund, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, nikolai+zherdev, petr+prucha, stephen+valiquette, tampa+bay+lightning, tom+renney


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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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