by Patrick Hoffman on 02/19/11 at 01:13 PM ET
In a game that the New York Rangers really needed to get two points to help keep pace in the Eastern Conference, they got none as the team was shutout 1-0 by the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.
The Blueshirts only had 15 shots on Devils’ netminder Johan Hedberg. While Hedberg did make some good saves, many shots were not considered quality scoring chances and this is what hurt the Blueshirts.
As always, the Devils played a very aggressive game defensively. The Devils were able to capitalize when the Rangers’ turned over the puck in the offensive zone only to have Devils’ sniper Illya Kovalchuk go in and score on a breakaway to give his team a 1-0 lead and ultimately, the hockey game.
To me, it seemed like the only Ranger who played well last night was goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist was sharp from the get go and did everything he could to try and get his team two points in making 27 saves.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, the Devils were simply the better team in all areas of the game. They were able to control the puck in the offensive zone, clog up the neutral zone when the Rangers had the puck and did a great job of limiting the number of shots the Rangers took.
With the loss and a Carolina Hurricanes win, the Blueshirts are now only two points up on the eighth place Hurricanes and six points up on the Buffalo Sabres and Atlanta Thrashers. A loss tomorrow to the Philadelphia Flyers coupled with Hurricanes and Thrashers victory’s tonight could really put the pressure on the Blueshirts.
If they want to avoid that tomorrow, the team’s offense will certainly have to show up and put the puck in the net and not put so much pressure on either Lundqvist or Martin Biron to be perfect. That is exactly what they did to Lundqvist last night as there was very little margin for error.
Tomorrow afternoon’s tilt at Madison Square Garden against the Flyers will be a big one as the team hopes to find its offense and pick up two valuable points.
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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.