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Entries with the tag: atlanta thrashers

My Thoughts on the Winnipeg Situation

Earlier today, I posted my thoughts regarding the potential reloaction of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg over at Chris Wassel’s terrific hockey blog, The Hockey Program.

You can click here to read it or continue below:

If It Happens, It is the Right Move
By Patrick Hoffman

Even with tremendous Stanley Cup Playoff action going on between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning and the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks, many people’s attention has shifted to what is going on off the ice in Atlanta.

There has been lots of talk regarding the Atlanta Thrashers moving to Winnipeg and while I certainly feel for the die hard Thrasher fans, this would be the right move. I am not a Thrasher hater or anything like that and instead, am someone who is thinking realistically.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers

All About Hope Now

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.

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  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

Out of Their Hands

That is exactly what it has come to for the New York Rangers after being shutout tonight by the Atlanta Thrashers by a score of 3-0 at Madison Square Garden.

Since it is Thursday night, that means I did not get to watch the game as I had my weekly men’s league hockey game. With that said, it was extremely disappointing to come home and see that the blueshirts lost to a team that is not even fighting for a playoff spot.

With that said, and based on the highlights on NHL on the Fly, it appears that the Thrashers got the better of the scoring chances and that the Rangers were flat. This is somewhat surprising considering the huge effort they delivered on Monday night at the Garden when they defeated the Boston Bruins by a score of 5-3.

Now, prior to the team’s regular season finale against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday afternoon, the Rangers will be scoreboard watching tomorrow night. The ninth place Carolina Hurricanes, who are just two points behind the Rangers, take on the Atlanta Thrashers tomorrow night in Atlanta with an opportunity to tie the Rangers in points heading into Saturday. The Hurricanes then close out their season on Saturday night with a home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, boston+bruins, carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Matt Gilroy As a Forward

With New York Rangers’ forward Ryan Callahan injured, head coach John Tortorella decided to give defenseman Matt Gilroy a shot at forward.

While this may seem odd, it really isn’t because Gilroy started out as a forward and did not become a defenseman until he went to Boston University. So really, the position should come naturally to Gilroy.

Here is what Rangers’ beat writer Andrew Gross had to say about the switch to forward:

Gilroy has been a healthy scratch the past six games and it would be surprising for Gilroy to log heavy minutes as a fourth-liner - think around 7 or under - though he could see time on the power play.

What will help Gilroy most is his skating ability and coach John Tortorella said Gilroy just needed to keep it simple. Gilroy was a forward through most of his sophomore season at Boston University before injuries necessitated his move to defense, where his game blossomed.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, john+tortorella, matt+gilroy, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan

Another Day, Another Big Game for the Blueshirts

The Carolina Hurricanes continue to put pressure on the New York Rangers for one of the final playoff spots in the tight Eastern Conference as they shutout the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 3-0.

With the win, the Hurricanes have pulled to within two points of the Blueshirts. The Rangers will have a chance to increase that lead to four points tonight when they take on the Atlanta Thrashers.

The Rangers are coming off an extremely emotional win over the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden on Monday night. The team fought from three goals back to win the game 5-3. Unfortunately, they lost Ryan Callahn, the heart and soul of the team, to a broken ankle in the process.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, boston+bruins, henrik+lundqvist, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan

A Wake Up Call

That is exactly what you can call the game between the New York Rangers and the New York Islanders tonight.

I had men’s league hockey tonight so I did not get to watch much of the game, so it was extremely disappointing to come home and see that the Blueshirts lost 6-2 to a team that is not contending for the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season. With that said, I am NOT taking anything away from the Islanders because they have come a long way in the last few months and have played some excellent hockey.

Based on reading the game reports, it appears that an Islanders’ 4-goal second period did the team in and put them behind the eight ball for the rest of the hockey game. What is even more concerning is the team’s recent struggles on offense as they only scored two goals tonight, none yesterday in a 1-0 shutout loss to the Buffalo Sabres and one in a 1-0 shutout win over the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon.

This is not the time to be struggling to put the puck in the net. The team still has four games left to play and their not exactly easy opponents as they take on the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday afternoon, the Bruins next Monday night at Madison Square Garden, the Atlanta Thrashers next Thursday night at the Garden (the Rangers SHOULD win that one) and the New Jersey Devils next Saturday afternoon at the Garden.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, boston+bruins, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers

All The Help They Can Get

This is what the New York Rangers need if the team wants to hold onto one of the top eight spots in the Eastern Conference.

Last night, the Blueshirts got some help from the Pittsburgh Penguins as the Penguins were able to defeat the eighth place Buffalo Sabres by a score of 3-1. With the loss, the Sabres sit at 72 points and remain two points behind the Rangers, who are in action tonight against the Anaheim Ducks.

Besides doing themselves a favor and coming up with two points against the Ducks tonight in Anaheim, the Rangers should hope that the ninth place Carolina Hurricanes, just three points behind the Blueshirts in the ninth spot, lose tonight to the Atlanta Thrashers. Given the way things have gone for the Thrashers lately, the best thing the Rangers could do tonight is pick up two points to go up four on the Sabres. If the Hurricanes win tonight, than the Rangers would still be three points up if they manage to beat the Ducks.

It is a lot of scoreboard watching but it is what makes this time of year so exciting for hockey fans. Could you imagine if the Blueshirts in the Western Conference? I am sure that many of you would have had a heart attack by now.

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, atlanta+thrashers, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins

WIN - Nothing Else Matters

This is how the New York Rangers should approach tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators.

After dropping a 3-1 contest to the Minnesota Wild last night at Madison Square Garden, the Blueshirts now find themselves in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings, just two points ahead of the ninth place Buffalo Sabres and three points in front of the tenth place Toronto Maple Leafs. With that in mind, the Rangers’ have once again forced themselves to be in a tough situation tonight in Ottawa.

The Senators have nothing to play for. They pretty much know that they are not going to make the playoffs this season and as such, have been playing extremely loose and have become a tough team to play against. The Senators’ victory last night over the Atlanta Thrashers is a perfect example of this.

The Rangers, on the other hand, can feel the pressure mounting as April gets closer and closer. Every single game they play from hear on out is important and the team cannot afford to be giving points away. The team has to go into Ottawa tonight with a “WIN” mentality and except nothing less.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, henrik+lundqvist, jose+theodore, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, philadelphia+flyers

Gaborik Update: Disappointing 4-2 loss for the Rangers

Marian Gaborik Update: From NBC’s NHL Extra Twitter Account:

An update on Marian Gaborik from earlier today, he left the game with a concussion.

From Earlier: In a game in which the New York Rangers outshot the Philadelphia Flyers 39-24, the Blueshirts managed to lose the game 4-2 at Madison Square Garden this afternoon.

A lot of credit has to be given to Flyers’ netminder Brian Boucher. Boucher was on top of his game in making 37 saves and was especially big in the third period when he stopped 14 of 15 Ranger shots.

With that said, however, this game was once again a perfect example of how the Blueshirts still lack some finish to their game. In the third period, Rangers’ forward Artem Anisimov could not get his stick on a cross crease pass on what could have been an easy goal.

Overall, it wasn’t a terrible game for the Blueshirts. They put plenty of pressure in the Flyers’ zone, put plenty of pucks on net but just couldn’t get the goal that mattered in the third period.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, atlanta+thrashers, brian+boucher, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, tampa+bay+lightning, washington+capitals

Where was the Offense?

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.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, henrik+lundqvist, johan+hedberg, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers

Getting Off to a Good Start

After going three days without a game after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-3, the New York Rangers will be back in action tonight at Madison Square Garden against the Los Angeles Kings.

Both of these clubs are in the midst of a playoff race as the Blueshirts currently sit in the seventh spot in the eastern Conference while the Kings sit in the ninth spot in the Western Conference. The margin of error for each team is extremely small as the Rangers are only four points ahead of the ninth place Buffalo Sabres and Atlanta Thrashers while the Kings are just one point out of the eighth and final spot in the West.

With that said, tonight’s game is extremely important for both teams, especially the Rangers who will begin a span of three games in four days against solid hockey teams in the Kings, New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers. It is crucial that the Rangers get off to a good start and get as many points as possible so that come April, they’ll be in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, buffalo+sabres, john+tortorella, kris+newbury, los+angeles+kings, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, steve+eminger, wojtek+wolski

Rangers Power Play Clicks In Victory Over the Penguins

As our fearless leader Paul Kukla mentioned in my previous blog, I need to start writing about the New York Rangers needing to win now in order to get the team going.

This afternoon at Madison Square Garden, the Blueshirts did just that in a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, snapping their six game winless strerak. The team was also able to get its power play as the team went three for five with the man advantage.

The game certainly did not start great for the Rangers as they found themselves 2-0 after the Penguins scored two goals on their first four shots. After Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella called a timeout, the team responded in a positive manner and exploded offensively.

The Blueshirts got goals from Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan (2), Vinny Prospal and Artem Anisimov with Callahan, Prospal and Anisimov all connecting on the power play. It just goes to show you what a good power play can do to a hockey team as this afternoon, it certainly raised the level of the Rangers.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, atlanta+thrashers, brian+boyle, carolina+hurricanes, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, los+angeles+kings, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan, vinny+prospal

The Goal is Simple: Win

This is exactly how the New York Rangers should look at this afternoon’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Blueshirts are winless in their last six games and the streak has put them dangerously close to falling out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference. The Carolina Hurricanes, who are in the eighth spot, and the Atlanta Thrashers, who are in the ninth spot, are both just two points behind the Rangers and each have games in hand.

The team’s offense must find ways to put pucks in the net on a more consistent basis. Marian Gaborik, and it seems like we have talked about him all season, needs to start scoring goals. He played well on Friday night against the Thrashers but could not score on the penalty shot he was awarded in the third period. Had he scored on the penalty shot, the team may have come away with a victory rather than a 3-2 loss.

The Rangers also need to start finding a way to close out games. During their winless streak, they haven’t been terrible by any means. In fact, they had a chance to win most of the games but simply could not find a way to do so. This needs to change immediately.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, carolina+hurricanes, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins

Winless Streak Hits Six for the Blueshirts

Last night’s game against the Atlanta Thrashers was one that the New York Rangers needed to come away with two points.

Simply put, they did not and managed to extend their winless streak to six games. It was a game that was essentially worth four points because it was against the Thrashers. With the loss, the Carolina Hurricanes are only three points behind in what has become an extremely interesting Eastern Conference race.

In their winless streak, the Blueshirts have lost four in a row. The team still holds the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference but are now just two points in front of the Thrashers, who hold the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

With a 2-1 lead in the third period, all the Rangers needed to do was play tight defense, stay out of the box, get big saves from Henrik Lundqvist and at the same time, push for an insurance goal. The Rangers were able to do three out of four and the one exception was one that hurt them the most.

Rangers’ defenseman Michael Del Zotto took a tripping penalty in the third period when he was not able ot control a bouncing puck along the boards behind the net and had to trip Nik Antropov as he came in alone on Lundqvist. The Thrashers were able to get a power play goal from Evander Kane, his second of the game, which gave the Thrashers a 3-2 lead and ultimately, the hockey game.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, brandon+dubinsky, evander+kane, henrik+lundqvist, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, ondrej+pavelec, pittsburgh+penguins

Is Tonight the Biggest Game of the Year for the Blueshirts?

Everyone involved in the New York Rangers’ organization from the brass, to its players and to its fans should answer that with a resounding YES.

The team is winless in their last five games and tonight, take on an Atlanta Thrashers hockey team that is just four points behind them in the Eastern Conference standings. To make things a bit more interesting, the Carolina Hurricanes are only three points behind their Blueshirts with one game in hand.

The Rangers need to stop the bleeding before they have nothing left and find themselves out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight season. To get back on the right track tonight, the team is going to need some offense, smart play in the neutral zone and strong goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, who should be between the pipes tonight.

When it comes to the team’s offense, Marian Gaborik needs to step up and contribute. This is a guy who can skate and shoot with the best of them and yet, he has not been able to do so this season. If Gaborik can get a goal or two tonight, it should boost his confidence and may be get him going.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, brandon+dubinsky, brian+boyle, carolina+hurricanes, erik+christensen, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, sean+avery, vinny+prospal

Rangers Missing the Playoffs: Can It Actually Happen?

This is the question that New York Rangers’ fans are asking themselves after a tough 3-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings at the Joe Louis Arena last night.

After working extremely hard to stay in the thick of the ever tight Eastern Conference playoff race, the team’s current five game winless streak has put them in the seventh spot in the conference. The Blueshirts are just four points in front of the eighth place Carolina Hurricanes and the Atlanta Thrashers.

The team is struggling to score the big goal, having trouble on the power play and not getting contributions from its scoring sniper, Marian Gaborik. All of these things lead to a much less potent Rangers’ hockey club and one that could very well find themselves golfing come April rather than competing for the Stanley Cup.

With regards to the team’s power play, the coaching staff needs to figure out a system that plays to the team’s strengths, which is working hard down lo and scoring the dirty goals. Instead, the team is electing to pass rather than shoot, giving the opponent a very easy read on the Rangers’ power play.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, carolina+hurricanes, detroit+red+wings, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers

Power Play Hurts the Rangers in 3-2 loss to the Wings

New York Rangers’ fans probably figured that tonight’s game would come down to the team’s power play and they were certainly right.

Unfortunately for Blueshirt fans, the game did not end well as the team lost 3-2 to the Detroit Red Wings at the Joe Louis Arena while wasting a 5-on-3 turning into a 5-on-4 for the last few minutes of the hockey game. It was a game in which the Rangers’ fired 47 shots on Wings’ goaltender Jimmy Howard but could not get the one behind Howard that would tie the game.

You cannot blame this game on Rangers’ netminder Martin Biron. Biron was stellar between the pipes for the Blueshirts in making 32 saves and once again giving his team every opportunity to win a hockey game.

And yes, the team did get goals from Derek Stepan and Brandon Dubinsky but where was Marian Gaborik? Where was Wojtek Wolski? Where was Vinny Prospal? And again, where the heck was the power play?

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, brandon+dubinsky, derek+stepan, detroit+red+wings, jimmy+howard, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, new+york+rangers, vinny+prospal, wojtek+wolski

Rangers Look to Get Back on Track Against the Canadiens/Update

UPDATE: According to web site beat writer Jim Cerny, New York Rangers’ head coach has elected to go with Martin Biron in goal against the Canadiens this afternoon:

Quick pre-game media session with Torts: Marty Biron start in goal and same defensive pairings, meaning Steve Eminger remains out.

From Earlier

The New York Rangers need to stop this losing skid before it keeps growing.

The team will get that opportunity this afternoon when they take on the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens are on a two game winning streak while the Blueshirts have not won in three games.

Looking at the positives during the winless streak, the Rangers were in all three games and probably should have won all three games. They put pucks to the net, they kept the games close, they battled back and they worked hard, all things that will keep a head coach happy.

What won’t make a head coach happy is inconsistent goaltending, which is what Henrik Lundqvist has provided over the last three games. He hasn’t been terrible by any means and has made some terrific saves but unfortunately, he has not made the saves that have ended up helping the team win.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, detroit+red+wings, erick+christensen, erik+christensen, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers

A Look Back at the Kovalchuk Trade

Over at RLD Hockey today, I take a look back at the trade that sent Illya Kovalchuk to the New Jersey Devils and where both organizations are today.

You can either click here to read it at the site or can continue below.

The Kovalchuk trade: One year later

A year ago today, the Atlanta Thrashers traded star sniper Illya Kovalchuk and defenseman Anssi Salmela to the New Jersey Devils for Niclas Bergfors, Johnny Oduya, and Patrice Cormier. It was easily the biggest blockbuster of last year’s trading season.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, illya+kovalchuk, new+jersey+devils

Lineup UPDATE/Another Tough Test on Tap for the Blueshirts Tonight

UPDATE: Per New York Rangers’ beat writer Andrew Gross, goaltender Martin Biron will start tonight against the Washington Capitals:

Biron playing because Torts refuses to play Lundqvist 5 games in 7 nights. Why tonight vs. Caps and not tomorrow vs. Panthers? “Why not?”

To clarify: Marty Biron starting tonight vs. Capitals. Lundqvist should play tomorrow at MSG vs. Panthers.

EARLIER: It seems like every game these days is a test for the New York Rangers.

The test consists of questions such as:

- Can they overcome injuries to win a hockey game?
- Can they score enough goals to win a hockey game?
- Can head coach John Tortorella keep the lines consistent?

Well, more than half way through the season, it is easy to say that the team has passed each test they have been given. With that said, will the team pass the test they face tonight against the Washington Capitals?

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  Tags: andrew+gross, atlanta+thrashers, brandon+prust, dan+girardi, evgeny+grachev, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, martin+biron, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, washington+capitals

Injury Update/Rangers Earn a Point in hard Fought Game with the Thrashers

Injury/Call-Up Update: According to team beat writer Andrew Gross, Mitch Beck of Howlings Today for the Connecticut Whale said that both Evgeny Grachev and Michael Del Zotto have been been called up by the Blueshirts to replace Brandon Prust and Dan Girardi, who are both day-to-day after getting hurt in tonight’s game.

This was one of those games where the New York Rangers really needed a big goal to salvage a hockey game and tonight, they got it from one of the most improved players in the league in Brian Boyle.

With just over six minutes to go in the third period, Brian Boyle beat an Atlanta Thrashers’ defenseman to a puck in the Thrashers zone and skated to his left and flicked a shot past Thrashers’ netminder Ondrej Pavelec to tie the game up at 2-2. This goal helped the Blueshirts get into overtime and evenutally, the shootout where Mats Zuccarello scored the winning goal, giving the Blueshirts a 3-2 victory and two very important points in the Eastern Conference.

The Blueshirts got a solid performance out of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who made 20 saves and stopped all three shots he faced in the shootout for his 21st victory of the season. He battled his way through the game and showed that when injuries amount, as the Blueshirts lost Dan Girardi (after fighting Andrew Ladd to stick up for his defense partner Marc Staal) and Brandon Prust (blocked a shot in the first period off his right shot) in the game, good goaltending can still win you hockey games.

This was an extremely gutsy victory for a team needing a win in a big way as injuries continue to add up. They continue to work hard and just do not quit, which is why they continue to pick up points when they need to.

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  Tags: andrew+ladd, atlanta+thrashers, brandon+prust, brian+boyle, dan+girardi, henrik+lundqvist, mats+zuccarello, new+york+rangers, ondrej+pavelec

Sloppy Defensive Effort Hurts Blueshirts in Loss to the Hurricanes

After pounding seven goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night, the New York Rangers were held to one goal in a 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC Center.

Specifically, they were held to one goal by the terrific netminding of Cam Ward, who made 39 saves in the game. The Rangers had their chances to score a bunch of goals by time and time again last night, Ward was able to make the save.

If you’re a die-hard Blueshirts’ fan, I am sure that you expected the team to deliver that kind of effort last night after scoring a bunch of goals the night before. With that said, however, the team had a lot of opportunities and had those chances gone in, we could be talking about another big win.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, new+york+rangers

Time to Start Going Goals

With the New York Rangers having dropped three of their last four games all by one goal, the time has come for the team to start putting the puck in the net at the right time.

The team will get the chance to do that tonight when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs in an original six matchup at Madison Square Garden.

The Blueshirts need to come out and be offensive and aggressive for a full 60 minutes rather than just the last period of the hockey game, which was the case in back-to-back losses this weekend to the Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers. Had the team played the way they did in the third period on both nights, we could easily be talking about a three game winning streak.

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  Tags: andrew+gross, artem+anismov, atlanta+thrashers, carolina+hurricanes, derek+stepan, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, mats+zuccarello, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ranger+rants, ruslan+fedotenko, toronto+maple+leafs, washington+capitals, wojtek+wolski

Predictable

Simply put, the New York Rangers’ 6-4 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers was very predictable.

Prior to last night’s tough loss, the Blueshirts had won three straight games and did so by playing smart, getting good goaltending and timely scoring. A pretty simple formula for success in hockey if you ask me.

Last night, however, the team did not do any of the above and it cost them. They do this year in and year out and last season, it was one of the reasons the team did not make the playoffs.

Yes, the Blueshirts were able to score four goals but they did not get the timely saves from Martin Biron and the team’s overall effort was too little too late as time ran out on them in the third period after they cut the Thrashers’ 5-2 lead to 5-4.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, new+york+rangers

Rangers to Battle The Thrashers Tonight

Tonight at Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers take on the Atlanta Thrashers in what will be a good test for the Blueshirts to see if they can keep up the consistency they’ve displayed in their last three games.

The Blueshirts will once again be looking to the likes of Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Ryan Callahan, Sean Avery, Ruslan Fedotenko and others to provide offense while relying on the team’s defensive corps to do their job. Considering the way things have gone the last three games, it’s safe to say that these folks will do their part.

The question, however, remains who will be in goal tonight for the Blueshirts? It’s easy to see that Henrik Lundqvist is on somewhat of a roll after his excellent play this weekend against the Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils. With that said, however, it’d be easy to use back-up goaltender Martin Biron in a game like this and save Lundqvist for Friday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, new+york+rangers

A Few Quick Thoughts on Todd White

Rangerland woke up today as the team acquired 35-year-old center Todd White from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for forwards Patrick Rissmiller and Donald Brashear.

On paper, this looks like one heckuva steal, especially considering that the Thrashers decided to buy out the remainder of Brashear’s contract and put him on waivers. In White, the Blueshirts get a player who can produce and provide secondary scoring to a team that severely lacks in that department.

Last season, White missed some time due to injury but put up 26 points in 65 games. Prior to last season, however, White had 73 points (22 goals and 51 assists) in 82 games.

As such, this is a player, when healthy, that should be able to put up in upwards of 50 points and take some of the pressure off guys like Marian Gaborik and Vinny Prospal.

What do you folks think of the deal?

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, donald+brashear, new+york+rangers, patrick+rissmiller, todd+white

Let’s Not Get Carried Away

The New York Rangers snapped their four game losing streak last night in Atlanta by defeating the Thrashers by a score of 5-2.

It was nice to see both Marian Gaborik (1 goal, 2 assists) and Vinny Prospal (2 goals, 1 assist) wake up and get the offense going while it was also nice to see goaltender Henrik Lundqvist make 29 saves in picking up his 27th victory of the season. It’s amazing what the team can do when these three all play well.

Since this is a team game, I figured I’d also mention the strong play of Ryan Callahan (1 goal, 1 assist) and Chris Drury (2 assists). Both Callahan and Drury seem to be the only Blueshirts who have played well since returning from the Olympic break.

However, let’s not get carried away here folks. Yes, it was a win and yes, it was nice to pickup two points. Remember though, only the top eight teams from each conference make the playoffs and if the playoffs were to start today, the Blueshirts would be on the outside looking in as they currently sit in ninth place, three points behind the eighth place Boston Bruins and five points behind the seventh place Montreal Canadiens.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, st.+louis+blues

Rangers Continue to Fall; Ferrall’s View on the Game

Last night was obviously a game that the New York Rangers would like to have back and unfortunately, it’ll go down in the loss column as the Blueshirts continue to struggle.

The Blueshirts did not raise their game, including goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Sure, Lundqvist did not receive much help but he needed to be better than he was and could not do so.

While it was nice to see both Vinny Prospal and Erik Christensen score, it was another quiet game for Marian Gaborik. Yes, he had an assist but he’s just not the same out there and one has to wonder if there is still something wrong with him.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers

Not an Easy Road

The title above is perfect when it comes to talking about the New York Rangers.

In three of their last four games, the Blueshirts have picked up four out of eight points and have played well enough to stay in games. They lost in OT to the Pittsburgh Penguins last Thursday night. They lost 2-0 to the Washington Capitals on Saturday night and lost in OT on Sunday night to the Buffalo Sabres.

These were all games that the Rangers played well enough to earn two points instead of 1 or 0. However, the team is still two points out of the eighth and final playoff spot and the road to the end of the regular season certainly does not get any easier.

The Rangers had a golden opportunity to beat the Buffalo Sabres in overtime on Sunday night but were not able to do so. Sure, the team battled hard to tie the game up at 1-1 with less than two minutes to go but were once again foiled in OT, much like they were against the Pittsburgh Penguins last Thursday night.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, boston+bruins, montreal+canadiens, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, st.+louis+blues

More Attention on Kovalchuk than Ovechkin Last Night at MSG

From good friend of the blog Jim Cerny at Rink Rap:

Just 24 hours prior Thrashers GM Don Waddell had released information that Kovie rejected a pair of mega-deals—-$101 million over 12 years, $70 mill over seven years—-and was opting to head to UFA status this summer. As a result, Waddell announced that Kovie would be traded.

But to whom? And how soon?

Speculation flew around the press room at The Garden as reporters checked in with sources, shared what they had heard, and probably made up a few rumors, as well. I made a note to myself that it just seemed funny there was little to no chatter about the upcoming game at MSG, and Kovie’s name was mentioned a heckuva’ lot more than Ovie’s.

What followed was one wild night, just a great fun night to be a hockey reporter. The Rangers and Caps played an exciting seesaw contest where goals and the power play ruled the day in a 6-5 Washington victory.

Click here for more thoughts on the Kovalchuk deal.

 

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, atlanta+thrashers, illya+kovalchuk, jim+cerny, rink+rap, washington+capitals

Johnson Poised in Loss to Thrashers

Do the New York Rangers have a backup goalie they can rely on?

Well, they certainly did last night in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Atlanta Thrashers, where goaltender Chad Johnson made his first career start. Despite the loss, Johnson was quite impressive in making 31 saves and giving his team a chance to win a hockey game, which is what a backup netminder is supposed to.

Johnson was poised, was rarely out of position, made first and second saves and let the puck hit him. He reminded me of former Ranger goaltender Corey Hirsch when he made his debut against the Detroit Red Wings back in 1993 in a 2-2 or 3-3 tie.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, chad+johnson, new+york+rangers

The Perfect Description

Sitting down at my computer this morning, I was trying to figure out how to describe last night’s performance by the New York Rangers against the Atlanta Thrashers.

Why did they lose? Who played well despite the loss? Who played poorly in the losing effort? Why did Henrik Lundqvist have to allow that fourth goal?

As it turns out, Scott over at Scotty Hockey describe the team’s loss perfectly:

Don’t let the 5-3 scoreline or the 36-27 shot total fool you, the Rangers were dominated tonight by the Atlanta Thrashers. Yep, the Atlanta Thrashers.

It was atrocious, and yet the Blueshirts were a post and a crossbar away from winning the game. I guess that is a good thing, but walking out of the Garden I don’t feel the least bit good about the Ranger performance. Atlanta kept them bottled up in their own end for long stretches, had little trouble breaking up most Ranger rushes and kept the shots away from the danger zones. You would think that after finally getting a few days off to practice the Rangers would be better, not worse. You would think that.

Efforts like this make you wonder if the team has tuned out Tortorella already or simply have no clue or capability to play his hard-nosed, open ice hockey. The slot remains empty with no one paying the price to go to the net, the defense isn’t helping the offense and isn’t playing defense, and players are passing up good shots while taking bad ones.

Click here for more from Scotty.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, new+york+rangers

Dreaming about Kovalchuk

From Steve Zipay at Blue Notes:

So, they’d want a forward and a prospect and a pick, at least. Zherdev? I’d do it.
Dubinsky? Tough call, but yes. Anisimov? Hmm. Not all three. Grachev? No.

But where’s the money coming from? The Rangers have to clear some more space. The $4 mil from Naslund helps, but isn’t enough.

Click here for more.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, illya+kovalchuk, new+york+rangers

All Eyes on The King

When the puck drops tomorrow night at the Verizon Center, all eyes will turn to New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist as the Blueshirts take on the Washington Capitals in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

If the Blueshirts are going to advance to the next round, the “King” will need to be at his best when he faces the likes of offensive machines Alex Ovechkin (56 goals, 54 assists, 110 points), Nicklas Backstrom (22 goals, 66 assists, 88 points), Alexander Semin (34 goals, 45 assists, 79 points) and stud defenseman Mike Green (31 goals, 42 assists, 73 points).

Lundqvist will face pucks from all angles and will have to steal at least one of the first two games of the series if the team wants to give themselves any kind of shot when the series shifts back to Madison Square Garden.

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, alexander+semin, atlanta+thrashers, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, mike+green, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, nicklas+backstrom, washington+capitals

Biggest Game of The Year

Tomorrow night will mark the New York Rangers’ biggest game of the season to date. After the Florida Panthers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins last night, the blueshirts find themselves tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 89 points.

With three games to go in the regular season, their uphill battle will continue tomorrow night when they take on the Montreal Canadiens, a team that is seventh in the conference with 92 points and is catching fire at the right time (5-3-2 in their last 10 games). The Rangers can beat the Canadiens but again, with the tension mounting and the games becoming more and more important by the day, it is not going to be an easy task.

The team has games with the Habs and Philadelphia Flyers (two) to determine whether or not this year’s Rangers will clinch a playoff spot for the fourth consecutive season. The Panthers, on the other hand, have games against the Flyers,  Atlanta Thrashers, and Washington Capitals. Both teams have competitive schedules but now, it will come down to just three games to determine who gets the last playoff spot in the conference. 

The team has no one to blame but themselves for being in this situation. Problems with consistency, the power play, line juggling, personnel changes, etc. have all contributed to the team’s issues this season. Now, however, is the time to put those off to the side and go out there and get the job done because the last thing the team wants to do is miss the playoffs and disappoint the thousands of Ranger fans that will be at the Garden both tomorrow night against the Habs and Thursday night against the Flyers.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, eastern+conference, florida+panthers, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, washington+capitals

Some Gloomy Rangers Reading

With a tough game against the Boston Bruins slated for tomorrow afternoon, the New York Rangers are in an extremely difficult position.

If the Florida Panthers beat the Atlanta Thrashers tonight, they will be tied for the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference and should the Rangers lose tomorrow afternoon and the Panthers win again on Sunday evening against the Pittsburgh Penguins, they’ll be in ninth place heading into the final week of the regular season.

For more on last night’s 4-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, check out the following links:

- Scotty Hockey
- Ranger Rants
- SNY Rangers Blog
- New York Post

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, boston+bruins, carolina+hurricanes, eastern+conference, florida+panthers, new+york+post, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ranger+rants, scotty+hockey, sny+rangers+blog

Where Are They Going?

The New York Rangers dropped their second straight game yesterday afternoon in a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The loss keeps the Blueshirts in seventh place with 87 points. However, the Montreal Canadiens are in the eighth spot just one point (86 points) behind them and the Florida Panthers are in the ninth spot just two points behind (85 points).

The Rangers showed some character by battling back from a two-goal and one-goal defecit while also killing off nine Penguins’ power plays. However, Sid “the Kid” Crosby’s great effort put the Penguins ahead midway through the third period, giving the Penguins a 12-1-2 record in their last 15 games.

As we’ve said on this blog before, the club’s remaining schedule will not make things any easier for the Blueshirts. Tomorrow night, they take on the Atlantic Division leading New Jersey Devils followed by games against the red hot Carolina Hurricanes, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, and a home-and-home series against the Philadelphia Flyers to close out the regular season. 

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, boston+bruins, carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers, ilya+kovalchuk, montreal+canadiens, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

A Waste of Two Points

As I mentioned in my blog yesterday, yesterday’s game against the Atlanta Thrashers should have been an easy two points. It was a game against a team that was in 14th-place in the Eastern Conference and well on their way to thinking about next season.

So what happened? The New York Rangers blew a three-goal lead and lost 5-4 in a shootout thanks to undisciplined defensive play and some poor goaltending by netminder Stephen Valiquette.

Through the first two periods, the team seemed to be doing everything right. They were getting contributions from their big guns, scoring on the power play, killing penalties and playing a sound defensive game.

Unfortunately, this worked for the first 40 minutes of the game and then things fell apart as the team missed defensive assignments, failed to score on a two-man advantage, and Valiquette allowed two soft goals to allow the Thrashers to get right back in the game.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers, john+tortorella, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, stephen+valiquette

Big Two Points Up For Grabs in Atlanta

On paper, a tilt with the Atlanta Thrashers looks like an easy two points but for the New York Rangers, every game is like a playoff game and as such, should be treated like one.

The team is coming off a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild in a game where they played down to the Wild’s level. They were able to generate an array of scoring chances but once again had some difficulty finding the back of the net and were forced to play a tight defensive game, something fans are all too familiar with thanks to former head coach Tom Renney.

With that being said, good defense at this time of year certainly isn’t a bad thing but to win games, this team still needs to score more goals. Sure, they’ve scored more goals under new head coach John Tortorella but they need to do it on a consistent basis, something they have struggled with all season long.

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  Tags: adam+graves, atlanta+thrashers, boston+bruins, carolina+hurricanes, john+tortorella, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, tom+renney

Where’s the Spark?

Things certainly started right last night at Madison Square Garden when the New York Rangers raised Adam Graves’s No.9 to the rafters. It was a night filled with Ranger stars such as Mark Messier, Mike Richter, Brian Leetch, Rod Gilbert, Eddie Giacomin, Mike Gartner, as well as guys like Glenn Healy, Sergei Nemchinov, Tie Domi, Darren Langdon and Jeff Beukeboom, all there to give praise to one of their greatest mates, Adam Graves.

It was unfortunate that the current Ranger squad had to play afterwards because they put on a dismal performance against the lowly Atlanta Thrashers and lost 2-1 in a shootout. Yes, the team peppered Thrashers’ netminder Kari Lehtonen. Yes, Nikolai Zherdev played a tremendous game by generating many scoring chances. The team also got a good look at Artem Anisimov, who played well but needs more playing time to be effective. And yes, the team got a solid performance, with the exception of the shootout, from their goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

However, it still wasn’t enough to be the second worst team in the NHL while also being a game in which they could have gained some ground on the New Jersey Devils as they lost to the Washington Capitals 5-2 last night.

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  Tags: adam+graves, artem+anisimov, atlanta+thrashers, brian+leetch, chris+drury, darren+langdon, eddie+giacomin, glenn+healy, henrik+lundqvist, ilya+kovalchuk, jeff+beukeboom, mark+messier, markus+naslund, mike+gartner, mike+richter, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, nikolai+zherdev, patrick+roy, rod+gilbert, scott+gomez, sergei+nemchinov, tie+domi, tom+renney, washington+capitals

All About Two Points

The New York Rangers hope to extend their win streak to three tonight when they take on the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center.

The Blueshirts are coming off an impressive 3-1 win last night over the Anaheim Ducks, getting goals from Chris Drury, Nigel Dawes and Nikolai Zherdev. The team also got another strong performance from their goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 19 of 20 shots.

It doesn’t appear that the whole Mats Sundin situation is a distraction to the team as all they are focused on is winning.

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, atlanta+thrashers, chris+drury, henrik+lundqvist, los+angeles+kings, mats+sundin, new+york+rangers, nigel+dawes, nikolai+zherdev, san+jose+sharks, steve+valiquette, steve+zipay, tom+renney

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