Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

Entries with the tag: atlantic division

Why the Rangers Can Win the Cup This Season

The New York Rangers surprised many people throughout the league last season when they not only won the Atlantic Division, but when they finished atop the Eastern Conference and were second in the entire NHL.

This season, should the Rangers do something similar, it should not come as a surprise. In fact, this season, there is a good chance that the Blueshirts can win their second Stanley Cup since 1994.

For starters, they have the best netminder in the league. With Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes, anything is possible.

Last season, Lundqvist became the first Ranger since John Vanbiesbrouck to win the Vezina Trophy as the league's best netminder. He did so by putting up great numbers and by being the team's best player on the ice night in and night out.

With a shortened season and many games in many nights, Lundqvist will be called upon a lot this season. For Lundqvist, that is just the way he likes it.

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  Tags: atlantic+division, brad+richards, carl+hagelin, chris+kreider, dan+girardi, derek+stepan, eastern+conference, henrik+lundqvist, john+vanbiesbrouck, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ryan+callahan

The Value of Martin Biron

When it comes to hockey, there is no doubt that goaltending is a key cog in the machine that makes up a hockey team.

For the New York Rangers, the main cog between the pipes is Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist is everything a team could want in a starting netminder as he is consistent, plays and wins a lot of games, makes key saves at the right time, gets his team into the postseason and more importantly, makes them a contender in what is a very talented Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

With that said, it is important that the machine has a backup cog in case something goes wrong with the main one or if it needs to be replaced so that it can rest. In the case of the Blueshirts, this particular cog is back-up goaltender Martin Biron.

Since joining the Blueshirts in the 2010-11 season, Biron has been a netminder that the Rangers can rely on to give them a chance to win when he is between the pipes. In his two seasons on Broadway, Biron has won 20 games, picked-up two shutouts and has posted impressive goals against averages of 2.13 and 2.46, respectively.

While the numbers clearly show that Biron is more than just your average back-up goaltender, there is a lot more to him than just the stats. For starters, Biron's experience as a starting goaltender for both the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers has helped him in his transition to being a full-time back-up NHL goaltender.

This is important because Biron knows how to prepare for games. He knows what it takes to start in games and he knows what he needs to do to be ready. When between the pipes for the Rangers these last two years, his preparation has shown with his steady play when team head coach John Tortorella puts him in net.

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  Tags: atlantic+division, buffalo+sabres, eastern+conference, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, martin+biron, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers

Big Tilt in Beantown

When the NHL calendar came out, there probably were not many people thinking that the game between the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers would mean much on Saturday, January 21.

As it turns out, these people are probably surprised that today’s tilt could end up being one of the best games to watch this season. Heading into the key match-up between the two Original Six franchises, both the Bruins and the Rangers are not only at the top of their respective divisions, but are also number one (Rangers) and two (Bruins) in the Eastern Conference heading into this afternoon’s game.

For much of the season, the Boston Bruins have been the story of the National Hockey League. After starting out the season with what appeared to be a “Stanley Cup hangover”.

However, once November hit, the Bruins started like playing the defending Stanley Cup champions that they were supposed to be. They did not lose a game in regulation and are currently 30-13-1 with 61 points.

The club has offensive depth, a strong defense and possibly the best goaltending tandem in the NHL. Hard to beat, right?

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  Tags: atlantic+division, boston+bruins, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers, northeast+division

How About Six?

That is what the New York Rangers will be looking to do tonight against the hot Ottawa Senators.

The Blueshirts have won five in a row and are currently playing a great brand of hockey. The club is getting timely goal scoring, great defense and excellent goaltending from both Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron.

The team is also showing that they can win hockey games in many different ways. The Blueshirts can take a team down in regulation, overtime, or a shootout while also being able to come from behind or hold a lead going into the third period.

On the other side, the Ottawa Senators are also playing some great hockey. In their last 10 games, the team is 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and has won two straight. Through 44 games, the Senators are 23-15-6, which is good for fifth in the Eastern Conference.

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  Tags: atlantic+division, eastern+conference, henrik+lundqvist, martin+biron, montreal+canadies, new+york+rangers, nhl, northeast+division, ottawa+senators, toronto+maple+leafs

View from the Top

That is exactly what the New York Rangers have after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 4-2 last night at Madison Square Garden.

The team came out and played an almost perfect home game by cashing in on their opportunities, never quitting on plays, forechecking, playing solid defense, and getting terrific goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist. Put these all together and you have another solid win on home ice.

With the win, the Rangers are now tied with the Flyers for the Atlantic Division lead and are second in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Boston Bruins. Not bad for a team that no one knew just how good they were going to be or what they were capable of.

For starters, the team was certainly good at deflecting pucks past Flyers’ netminder Ilya Bryzgalov. Derek Stepan did just that on the team’s first goal in the second period when he deflected defenseman Stu Bickel’s shot from the point and surprised Bryzgalov to give the Blueshirts a 1-0 lead. The goal was put under a review but because Stepan’s stick was below the crossbar, the goal counted.

Ruslan Fedotenko did the same thing and his goal was also under review because it was first thought that the team hit the crossbar. However, after reviewing the play, the puck hit the back bar inside the net and the Rangers went up 2-0.

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  Tags: atlantic+division, boston+bruins, derek+stepan, eastern+conference, florida+panthers, henrik+lundqvist, ilya+bryzgalov, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ruslan+fedotenko, ryan+callahan, stu+bickel, washington+capitals, winter+classic

Just a Heads Up

Good afternoon folks. I just wanted to let you guys know that in addition to my musings on Kukla’s Korner, RLD Hockey, and NHL Home Ice, I will also now be contributing to a great new site called PowerScoutHockey.com.

PowerScoutHockey.com is a great tool for fans, analysts, GM’s, members of the media and others throughout the hockey world as it really breaks down the numbers and digs extremely deep to bring up relevant numbers to hockey.

Obviously, I want you folks to continue to enjoy my work here on Kukla’s but feel free to stop by PowerScoutHockey.com and check out my work over there, where I will be covering the New York Rangers and Atlantic Division.

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  Tags: atlantic+division, new+york+rangers, powerscouthockey.com

Atlantic Division Report

Last season, the Atlantic Division was one of the best divisions in all of hockey. Four out of the five teams finished with over 90 points – the Penguins, the New Jersey Devils, the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers.

Early into the 2009-2010 season, it appears that history is looking to repeat itself as all four of those teams have winning records just over a month into the season. Even the New York Islanders are trying to get into the act as they are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games.

Let’s take a look at how the division is shaping up as we head towards the middle of November.

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  Tags: atlantic+division, new+jersey+devils, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins

Let the Games Begin

Tomorrow night, the New York Rangers will begin the second half of their season with a tilt against the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden.

For the Rangers, the second half of the season will determine whether or not they are good enough to win the Atlantic Division title. For the team to do so, they will need to do the following:

- Score goals. It’s that simple folks. Being able to put the puck in the net wins games whether’s it an even strength, power play, or shorthanded goal. For this to happen, guys like Markus Naslund, Nikolai Zherdev, Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky will need to step up and get the job done. And yes, it wouldn’t be a bad thing if Lauri Korpikoski or Petr Prucha were put in the lineup more often and as of this writing at least, it looks like they will be in tomorrow night.

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  Tags: atlantic+division, brandon+dubinsky, carolina+hurricanes, chris+drury, henrik+lundqvist, lauri+korpikoski, markus+naslund, new+york+rangers, nikolai+zherdev, petr+prucha, ryan+callahan, scott+gomez, stephen+valiquette, tom+renney

Not Bad

The New York Rangers went into the NHL All-Star break last night with a 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks.

The team got strong performances from Henrik Lundqvist (not a surprise), Scott Gomez (1 goal and 1 assist), Markus Naslund (1 goal and 1 assist), Blair Betts (blocked a few shots and scored a shorthanded goal) as well as from their special teams, as the team scored two power play goals and two shorthanded goals.

With the victory, the Blueshirts head into the break with a 28-16-4 record, good enough for 60 points and the top spot in the Atlantic Division for now. As such, as inconsistent as this team has been, Blueshirt fans really cannot complain too much.

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  Tags: aaron+voros, anaheim+ducks, atlantic+division, blair+betts, henrik+lundqvist, lauri+korpikoski, markus+naslund, new+york+rangers, nikolai+zherdev, petr+prucha, scott+gomez

Quick Hits

Tonight, the New York Rangers take on the Anaheim Ducks at Madison Square Garden and will look to take over the top spot in the Atlantic Division as the New Jersey Devils currently sit atop the Atlantic thanks to a 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators.

According to various beat reporter blogs, Petr Prucha and Lauri Korpikoski will be the scratches. Aaron Voros and Dan Fritsche will take their spots in the lineup.

Now, I know that the Ducks are a physical hockey club but I believe that by taking out Prucha and Korpikoski, the team is potentially sacrificing at least three-five scoring opportunities. When your offense isn’t that strong as it is, why would head coach Tom Renney do something like this?

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  Tags: aaron+voros, anaheim+ducks, atlantic+division, dan+fritsche, lauri+korpikoski, madison+square+garden, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, petr+prucha, tom+renney

The Captain Gets It Done In Chicago

Every New York Ranger fan knew that tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks was going to be a test for their Blueshirts and the team passed it with flying colors thanks to their captain, Chris Drury, who scored to give the Rangers a 3-2 overtime victory at the sold out United Center.

Many Ranger fans, myself included, were wondering what was wrong with Drury not too long ago. He wasn’t scoring, he wasn’t as sharp defensively and he looked lost. However, in the past two weeks or so, Drury has come alive and in his last six games, has five goals and an assist for six points.

Tonight, both of his goals came on the power play and he scored the way the team should be on their power play all season long: by not being afraid to shoot the puck and go to the net.

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  Tags: atlantic+division, chicago+blackhawks, chris+drury, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, tom+renney

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