Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

Entries with the tag: boston bruins

Easy As 1-2-3 for the Blueshirts in Win Over the Devils

That is the perfect description for the New York Rangers' 4-0 shutout this afternoon at Madison Square Garden over the New Jersey Devils.

The Devils did not seem to be interested in playing a meaningless game and that showed in their loss this afternoon. The Blueshirts were able to catch the Devils out of position on all four of their goals as the team simply took advantage of a poor Devils' performance today.

For Rangers' netminder Henrik Lundqvist, it was a relatively easy 20-save shutout. The shutout was his second of the season while the victory was his 24th of the season.

It may not be a 30-win season for the Blueshirts' 31-year-old netminder but given the way he played in the regular season, it could garner another Vezina Trophy nomination or even win. In 43 games, Lundqvist went 24-16-3 with a 2.05 GAA, a .926 save percentage and two shutouts.

The team also got strong performances out of the likes of Derek Stepan (one goal and one assist), Ryan Callahan (one goal and one assist), Rick Nash (two goals), and Brad Richards (two assists). These four players are going to have to continue their offensive production come next week in the postseason in order for this Rangers' hockey club to have success.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, brad+richards, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, montreal+canadiens, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, pittsburgh+penguins, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, washington+capitals

Seeding On the Line for the Blueshirts

While the New Jersey Devils might not look at this afternoon's game as a meaningful one, it will be the opposite for the New York Rangers.

The Blueshirts might have clinched a playoff spot in their 4-3 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night but what is still to be decided is what spot the team will finish in. It is said that come playoff hockey time, the regular season does not matter but for the Rangers, they should do everything they can to get a higher seed.

As of this writing, the Rangers find themselves in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. That would mean that they would play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round, which should be something the team should try and avoid given the Penguins' dangerous offensive arsenal and the way they have played the Blueshirts this season.

Should the Rangers beat the Devils, however, it will make things very interesting in terms of seeding. With a win, the Rangers would have 56 points,  which would give them one more point than the New York Islanders and possibly two more points than the Ottawa Senators, who take on the Philadelphia Flyers tonight and the Boston Bruins tomorrow.

If the Rangers manage to take the sixth spot, they will end up facing the Washington Capitals. The Rangers have met the Capitals in each and every postseason they have been in since 2009, with the Rangers winning one of their three series against the Caps.

Should the Rangers finish in seventh, it could mean a series with an Original Six franchise in the Bruins or Montreal Canadiens. Coming into tonight's slate of games, the Bruins and Habs are tied with 61 points but the Bruins have a game in hand.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, carolina+hurricanes, montreal+canadiens, new+jersey+devils, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, washington+capitals

Tough Test on Tap Tonight for the Blueshirts

Past the quarter mark of the season, every game from here on out is going to get tougher and tougher as the league inches towards the Stanley Cup Playoiffs.

Tonight at Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers will have a tough test of their own when they take on the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens are currently 10-4-1 and find themselves atop the Northeast Division and one point behind the Eastern Conference leading Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Canadiens also come into tonight's game having won four straight. In those four games, the Canadiens have outscored their opponents 12-4 and have picked-up two shutouts in the process.

At the other end of the ice, the Blueshirts are not doing too shabby either. The club is 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and while they currently sit in the eighth spot in the East, they are not that far behind the fifth place Boston Bruins.

The Rangers are coming off a 2-1 win over the visiting Washington Capitals on Sunday night. The Blueshirts got terrific goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, great play out of Carl Hagelin and a clutch power play goal in the third period by Derek Stepan.

The game might have been one of the Rangers' best efforts of the season. They threw plenty of pucks on net, did not take many stupid penalties, were perfect on the penalty kill and did all the little things a hockey team needs to do in order to win games.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, carl+hagelin, carolina+hurricanes, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, washington+capitals

Building on a Win Streak

That is officially what the New York Rangers have and what they will look to do tonight against a struggling New York Islanders' hockey club at Madison Square Garden.

After beating the Boston Bruins 4-3 in a shootout at the TD Garden on Tuesday night, the Rangers have now won three straight games and are starting to find ways to gain traction in an extremely competitive Eastern Conference. The Rangers currently find themselves in the eighth spot in the Conference with 14 points, which puts them five behind the leading New Jersey Devils.

At the other end of the spectrum, the club is also just one point of the ninth spot. With such a shortened schedule, each Conference is a lot more competitive than it usually is, which is pretty amazing considering how tight each Conference is every season.

This is why it is important for the New York Rangers to continue building on this winning streak. Every point matters and in the end, the eight teams with the most points in the East make the playoffs and with the roster the Blueshirts have, they should be one of those eight teams that gets to play for the Cup in May and June.

While I did not get to see the game on Tuesday night (I had a hockey game of my own to play in), it was nice to see Rangers' forward Carl Hagelin score again. After struggling out of the gate to start the season, Hagelin now has six points (four goals and two assists) and is starting to play with a lot of confidence.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, carl+hagelin, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers

Three in a Row

That is what the New York Rangers will be looking for tonight in terms of wins when they take on the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.

This will be the final regular season game this year between these two teams. The series is currently split and one game apiece with tonight being the grudge match.

The Blueshirts are coming off two games in which they have had no trouble finding the back of the net. In fact, in the last two games combined, the Blueshirts have scored nine goals, with most of them coming during even strength play.

Speaking of the team's last two games, the club's defense and goaltending have been stellar. The team has allowed just two goals in that span and starting netminder Henrik Lundqvist is starting to look more like the Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender that he was last season.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers

Big on Even Strength

This is the perfect way to describe tonight's New York Rangers' win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

All goals were even strength as the Blueshirts got even two goals from Carl Hagelin (two goals and one assist) a goal from team captain Ryan Callahan, a goal by fourth liner Arron Asham (his first as a Ranger) and power forward Rick Nash (one goal and one assist) to lead the Rangers to a 5-1 victory at Madison Square Garden. With the win, the Blueshirts moved over the .500, albeit one game, mark for the first time this season.

The Rangers essentially won this game in the first period. Hagelin scored 31 seconds into the game and Callahan scored with just over five minutes to go in the period to put the Rangers up by a score of 2-0 going into the second.

In that first period, the Rangers were all over the Lightning in the offensive zone. The team got to loose pucks and were not afraid to put it on net as the team fired 15 shots on Lightning netminder Mathieu Garon, who ended up being pulled after Hagelin notched his second of the night about ten minutes into the second period.

That second period was quite interesting as a Rangers' error at their own bench allowed Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier to score his team's only goal. On the play, the Blueshirts had trouble making a line change and ended up getting caught shorhanded in their own zone. Rangers' netminder Henrik Lundqvist (19 saves) made two great saves prior to the goal but Lecavalier was able to sneak one in just under Lundqvist's outstretched left arm.

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  Tags: arron+asham, boston+bruins, carl+hagelin, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, mathieu+garon, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, tampa+bay+lightning, vincent+lecavalier

Getting Used to Back-to-Back

With a shortened season and condensed schedule, this is something that the New York Rangers need to get used to quickly to avoid performances like tonight in Philadelphia.

After beating the Boston Bruins last night by a score of 4-3 in overtime, the Rangers were flat in the first two periods and it cost them in a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Not enough offense, too much time in their own zone and untimely penalty caused the Blueshirts problems and ultimately, the hockey game.

Going into this game, everyone knew that the Flyers were a desparate hockey club. The club was off to an 0-3 start, they have a bunch of guys that are hurt and were having trouble putting the puck in the net.

While the Flyers did not exactly light up the scoreboard, they did generate a ton of scoring chances, did a good job controlling the puck and limited the Blueshirts' scoring opportunities. The Flyers also did a good job of slowing day what was already a tired hockey club in the Rangers.

What the Flyers also did was kill a big 5-on-3 Rangers' power play in the third period. The Rangers were not able to get many pucks on net, spent too much time setting up at the perimeter of the zone and towards the end of the power play, they let the Flyers control the puck for way too long.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, rick+nash, taylor+pyatt, toronto+maple+leafs

Gaborik’s Hat Trick Lifts Blueshirts to OT Victory

Sometimes, someone just needs to step up and put the puck in the net to help his club win a hockey game.

Tonight against the Boston Bruins, it was New York Rangers' forward Marian Gaborik who scored an overtime goal to give himself a hat trick (14th of his career) and more importantly, his team, a 4-3 victory. These were two points that Rangers' badly needed and Gaborik made it happen.

In overtime, Bruins' defenseman Andrew Ference struggled with a bouncing puck at that point and once Gaborik saw that, he got the puck and took off for the races. He went in on Bruins' netminder Tuukka Rask and was stopped on the first shot but was able to bat the rebound down and into the net to give his team their first win of the season.

Coming into tonight's tilt, Gaborik had been quiet offensively. He had not generated that many scoring chances, did not have too many shots on goal and just did not look like the Gaborik from last season.

Gaborik changed that persona tonight and fueled the team offensively from the get go. One main reason for that could be because he was placed on a line with Rick Nash and Brad Richards.

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  Tags: andrew+ference, boston+bruins, brad+richards, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, rick+nash, taylor+pyatt, toronto+maple+leafs, tuukka+rask

Time To Turn Things Around

After an 0-2 start to the 48-game season, this is something that the New York Rangers need to do beginning tonight with their tilt against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden.

The Blueshirts are coming off two games in which they did not play well defensively, took some bad penalties and did not get the offense they need from guys other than Brad Richards and Rick Nash. Put these three things together and it spells disaster for the New York Rangers.

Tonight, they take on a 2-0 Bruins hockey club, with one of those wins coming against the Blueshirts this past Saturday night in Boston at the TD Garden. In the team's, the Rangers were badly outplayed and left their netminder, Henrik Lundqvist (31 saves on 34 shots), out to dry.

With the roster that the Rangers have, there is no reason to believe that this will be a long losing streak. The team does have guys that can put the puck in the net, does have one of the best defensive corps in the league and also has one of the best goaltending tandems in the NHL.

With that said, however, there is still some work to be done. For starters, the Rangers need to do a much better job in front of their goaltender. Too often on Saturday and Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, both Lundqvist and back-up netminder Martin Biron were hung out to dry as the opposition looked for rebounds or got into great position on top of the crease or in the slot. 

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  Tags: boston+bruins, brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, rick+nash

Not Putting It Together

Through the first two games of the season, this seems to be the problem for the New York Rangers.

After losing to the Boston Bruins last night at the TD Garden by a score of 3-1, the Blueshirts were once again a step behind, this time tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden. The Blueshirts lost their second straight game to go 0-2 after losing by a score of 6-3.

Once Rangers' captain Ryan Callahan tied the score up at 1-1 with a power play goal in the first period, things seemed to fall apart for the Blueshirts. They allowed two more goals in the first period to go down 3-1 and then at one point in the third period, the team was down 5-1 before Taylor Pyatt put one in for the Rangers to make it 5-2.

Meanwhile, for the second straight game, the Penguins got the offense they needed to win a hockey game. The team got goals from James Neal (2), Tyler Kennedy, Matt Niskanen, Pascal Dupuis and Kris Letang while getting good enough goaltending from Tomas Vokoun (30 saves on 33 shots). 

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  Tags: boston+bruins, henrik+lundqvist, james+neal, kris+letang, martin+biron, matt+niskanen, new+york+rangers, pascal+dupuis, pittsburgh+penguins, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, taylor+pyatt, tomas+vokoun, tyler+kennedy

Quiet On the Offensive Front

With a somewhat revamped offense and Rick Nash in the lineup, the New York Rangers' offense was quiet in their season opening 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins.

Obviously, it was the first game and players still have to get used to each other, but nevertheless, the Blueshirts did not generate enough offensive pressure. While the Bruins' defensemen are big and do a good job of blocking shots, the Rangers did not do nearly enough to get the puck on Bruins' goaltender Tuukka Rask (just 20 shots on goal) nor did they create enough traffic in front of Rask to bother the Bruins' netminder..

What is somewhat worrisome, even though it was just the first game, the offense also looked lost. The club lacked finish, did not know when and where to put the puck on net from and did not generate the quality scoring chances that are needed to score in the NHL.

For the Rangers, believe it or not, this is nothing different. Many nights last season, the team relied on the goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist to keep them in the game long enough for their offense to may be score one or two goals.

Tonight, that simply did not work. The team took three penalties within a span of nine minutes in the first period and while they killed them off thanks to Lundqvist and his defense, the Bruins would manage to find the back of the net with just over six minutes to go in the period thanks to Milan Lucic.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, milan+lucic, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, rick+nash, tuukka+rask

And So It Begins

Here we are folks. About two and a half months after the season was suppossed to begin, the New York Rangers will open up their regular season tomorrow night in Boston with a tilt against the Boston Bruins.

For the Blueshirts, this game has been a long time coming. It marks the debut of Rick Nash and what will hopefully be a more dynamic offense both in even strength situations, and on the power play.

The game also represents the start of what some predict will be a great 48-game season for the Blueshirts. While it is too early to start talking about hockey's Holy Grail, it is definitely something that the Rangers should be able to contend for this year.

The Rangers were 3-1 last season against the Bruins. The Blueshirts outscored the B's by a 11-7 margin and in those games, got great goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, who had a memorable 40-save shutout in Boston back on February 14.  

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  Tags: boston+bruins, brad+marchand, brian+boyle, dan+girardi, david+krejci, derek+stepan, dougie+hamilton, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, johnny+boychuk, milan+lucic, nathan+horton, new+york+rangers, patrice+bergeron, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, tuukka+rask, tyler+seguin, zdeno+chara

It’s Tuukka Time in Boston

For the Boston Bruins, it has certainly been a strange past two seasons, especially when it comes to netminding.

When the 2010-11 season began, many folks in the media and fans alike felt that Bruins' netminder Tuukka Rask would be the starting goaltender for the team. This was mostly based upon the fact that Rask was terrific in 2009-10 when he went 22-12-5 with a 1.97 goals against average, a .931 save percentage and 5 shutouts.

Unfortunately for Rask, he got off to a slow start in 2010-11 and the starting goaltender position went back to Tim Thomas, who ended up having a season to remember for his hockey club. In the regular season, Thomas went 35-11-9 with a 2.00 goals against average, a .938 save percentage, and 9 shutouts en route to winning the Vezina Trophy as the league's best netminder in the regular season.

Of course, Thomas then had a postseason to remember. Thomas led the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in 39 years and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the league's most valuable player in the postseason.

For Rask, this meant a lot of time riding the bench and playing every once in awhile. When he did play last season, Rask was solid in winning 11 games, posting a 2.05 goals against average, stopped .929 of the shotes he faced and picked up 3 shutouts.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, tim+thomas, tuukka+rask

Why the Rangers Will Win Tonight

When it comes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, there is nothing like the excitement, nervousness and other emotions that come to life in a Game 7.

Tonight, the New York Rangers and their passionate fans will be experiencing all kinds of feelings when they take on the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden.

For both the Rangers and Capitals, this game marks the second seventh game of the postseason that they will be participating in. The first time around, the Rangers were able to beat the No. 8 seed Ottawa Senators by a score of 2-1 while the Capitals, the No. 7 seed, were able to beat the No. 2 seed Boston Bruins in overtime by the same score of 2-1.

While the Capitals’ have had success against the Rangers in Game 7’s before, this year will be different and for the first time since the 1996-97 season, the Blueshirts will be headed to the Eastern Conference Finals. Here are the reasons why:

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, boston+bruins, brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, tampa+bay+lightning, washington+capitals

Blueshirts Off to the Second Round

For the first time since the 2007-08 season, the New York Rangers are off to the second round after defeating the Ottawa Senators by a score of 2-1 in Game 7 at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers played “Ranger hockey” by blocking a ton of shots, playing physical, getting timely goal scoring and big-game goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist (26 saves). It was a style that they need to play tonight in order to win this tilt and luckily, the Rangers were able to implement it perfectly.

For starters, a lot of credit has to be given to the Rangers’ defense. Not only did they block a ton of shots and break up many passes, but they also helped score the only two goals of the game as both Marc Staal and Dan Giradi were able to put the puck in the net in the second period.

The line of Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan also had themselves a terrific game. While he has only played in five NHL games, Kreider is showing that he belongs in the NHL. He has speed, he has size, he has strength and soft hands, all skills that will make him a very, very, good NHLer.

Stepan, after not scoring a point in the first five games of the series, finished up the first round with 5 points (1G 4A). He is playing with a lot more confidence and is getting a lot of scoring chances playing with Callahan and Kreider.

Callahan played like a captain should always play. He played hard, physical and was able to help this team get into the second round of the postseason.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, boston+bruins, chris+kreider, dan+girardi, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, marc+staal, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, ryan+callahan, washington+capitals

Rangers Can Clinch Tonight in Philly

If there was ever a chance for the New York Rangers to upset the Philadelphia Flyers and their fans, tonight is the perfect opportunity.

Tonight, the Blueshirts will take on the Flyers in Philadelphia and should the Rangers win, they will clinch both the top spot in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. While the Flyers really had no chance at either, it will still more than likely be a bit of a snipe at both the team and its fans.

The Flyers are coming off an emotional and hard-hitting 6-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. There was a bunch of fisticuffs, including one that resulted in Flyers’ head coach Peter Laviolette being fined $10,000 due to his spat with Penguins’ assistant coach Tony Granato.

The Rangers’ are coming off a 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins. It was a game in which the Rangers’ could have won if not for the great effort of Bruins’ netminder Tim Thomas.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, new+york+rangers, peter+laviolette, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, tim+thomas, tony+granato

Rangers Can’t Find Tying Goal in 2-1 Loss to the Bruins

With a chance to clinch first place in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference last night at Madison Square Garden against the Boston Bruins, the New York Rangers could not find the equalizer in the third period in a 2-1 loss.

The Blueshirts fired 19 shots at Bruins’ netminder Tim Thomas in the third period but Thomas turned them all aside. The Bruins’ battling goaltender finished the game with 33 saves and even Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella said that Thomas was the difference in the hockey game.

This felt like a playoff game for both clubs. There was lots of hitting, lots of blocked shots, and timely goal scoring in what could end up being a playoff match-up later on in the spring.

The loss snapped the Rangers’ four game winning streak as well as chance to clinch the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. On the other side, the Bruins clinched their third Northeast Division title in the last four years with the victory and will end up facing the No. 7 team in the conference in the first round.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, john+tortorella, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, tim+thomas

A Chance to Clinch the East Against the Bruins

Coming into the season, not many hockey pundits and fans alike knew what to expect of the New York Rangers.

Tonight, their questions could be answered. If the Rangers manage to beat the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden tonight and the Philadelphia Flyers manage to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins this afternoon, the team will finish the season as the No.1 team in the Eastern Conference.

The Blueshirts have won four straight games and come into tonight’s game as Atlantic Division leaders, Eastern Conference leaders and tied for first in the entire NHL. The team is starting to get consistent goal-scoring, Henrik Lundqvist is starting to look like himself in goal again and the team’s power play is starting click.

The Rangers also come into tonight’s tilt looking to sweep the season series against the Bruins. The team has won five straight games against their Original-Six rival and has won 9 of their last 11 games against the Bruins as well.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins

Rangers Continue To Roll

They may have already clinched a playoff spot and they may have somewhat of a tight grip on the top spot in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference but the New York Rangers are on a roll right now.

Tonight, the team won its 50th game of the year by beating the struggling Montreal Canadiens by a score of 4-1 at Madison Square Garden. The team got another strong performance out of both Marian Gaborik (1 goal and 1 assist) and Brad Richards (1 goal and 2 assists) while also getting the goaltending they needed from Henrik Lundqvist (19 saves on 20 shots).

Gaborik and Richards are on fire at the right time for their hockey club. Gaborik picked up his 39th goal of the season and added an assist while Richards added his 25th goal of the season as well as two assists.

It may have taken a long time for Gaborik and Richards to work well together on the same line but it just goes to show you that patience is everything in the NHL. Yes, Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella broke the pair up earlier in the season but was smart enough to put them together later on when their games were both going strong.

Another Rangers’ player who is on fire, believe it or not, is defenseman Michael Del Zotto. Del Zotto picked-up 2 goals (his first 2-goal game of his career) and an assist and now has 10 goals and 31 assists for 41 points on the season.

While his defensive game still needs some work, Del Zotto has had a terrific bounce back season for the Blueshirts this year. He looks a lot more confident with the puck and his offensive game looks much like it did in his first season in the league back in 2009-10.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, steven+mcdonald+extra+effort+award

Rangers Set to Take on The Canadiens

Things are certainly in flux when it comes to the Montreal Canadiens these days.

Their GM was fired yesterday, their head coach will more than likely be gone after the season and the team is currently in last place in the entire Eastern Conference. Not so rosy, right?

This should be good news to the New York Rangers as they look to build up on their five point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for first in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference when they take on the Canadiens tonight at Madison Square Garden. The Blueshirts are 7-3 in their last 10 games and are on a three game winning streak heading into tonight’s tilt.

The Rangers are coming off a 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets, a game in which they showed their never say die style. The team came back from a 2-0 deficit and scored four unanswered goals to win the hockey game.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, winnipeg+jets

Going Over the Hudson

This is exactly what the New York Rangers will be doing tonight as the travel across the Hudson River to take on the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.

These two clubs last met last Monday at Madison Square Garden, where the Blueshirts took care of business and shutout the Devils by a 2-0 score. It was not the most exciting game as there was only 28 combined shots.

The Blueshirts are coming off a big 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins on Sunday afternoon at MSG. The team continues to get goal scoring from Marian Gaborik (32 goals on the season) and excellent goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, both of which have contributed greatly to the Rangers’ success this season.

Going forward, those two will have to continue to play better but others must step up and contribute a bit more. There is no doubt that Brad Richards can create scoring chances and setup teammates (27 assists).

With that said, it would be nice to see him do that on a more consistent basis as well as putting the puck in the net a bit more. Yes, Richards has 18 goals and yes, 7 of them have been game winners but this team needs to see a bit more goals from him if they want to have success in the postseason.

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  Tags: anders+nilsson, boston+bruins, brad+ricahrds, brandon+dubinsky, henrik+lundqvist, madison+square+garden, marian+gaborik, new+jersey+devils, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, prudential+center

Rangers Win Wild One Against Bruins

Going into the afternoon tilt, one probably thought it was going to be a defensive battle for 60 minutes.

Instead, 7 goals were scored with the New York Rangers coming out on top over the Boston Bruins by a score of 4-3. It was not easy but the Rangers did what they had to do to win.

For starters, the team was able to get two big ones in the first period on goals by Ruslan Fedotenko and Carl Hagelin. The goals came 1:10 apart as the team took advantage of a somewhat tired Bruins hockey club coming off a 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders yesterday afternoon at the TD Garden.

However, Bruins’ head coach Claude Julien called a timeout after the second Blueshirts’ goal and did not say a word. Sometimes, silence really is golden.

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  Tags: benoit+pouliot, boston+bruins, carl+hagelin, claude+julien, dennis+seidenberg, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, jordan+caron, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ruslan+fedotenko, tim+thomas

Big Game on Tap for Blueshirts Against The Bruins

That is the case this afternoon for the New York Rangers as they get set to take on the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers are coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night in Tampa. The Rangers were able to come away with a point because Brandon Dubinsky scored the game-tying goal with 3:27 to play in the third period.

Up until that goal, it had been an up and down performance for the Blueshirts. They were able to generate several good scoring opportunities, get goals from the likes of Artem Anisimov, Marian Gaborik and Dubinsky while also getting a solid game from Henrik Lundqvist (27 saves) on his birthday.

With that said, the team was a bit inconsistent defensively and allowed the Lightning to get into the slot way too often and force the puck in on Lundqvist. In fact, the Rangers were outshot by a 13-3 margin in the opening period.

This afternoon against the Bruins, the Rangers will go up against a much bigger team with grittier forwards. The Bruins like to throw pucks on the net from anywhere and crash for rebounds, something that the Blueshirts need to try and prevent this afternoon.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, boston+bruins, brandon+dubinsky, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Three In a Row for the Blueshirts

With starting netminder Henrik Lundqvist given the night off, and team captain Ryan Callahan, out day-to-day with a bruised foot, back-up goaltender Martin Biron needed to give the New York Rangers a strong start against the Carolina Hurricanes, especially considering the way he had played in his last few starts.

As it turned out, Biron came up big for the Blueshirts in a 3-2 victory in Carolina. After allowing the Hurricanes’ only goal of the game in the second period, Biron really shut the door and played a solid game in making 21 saves.

For Biron, it was his 11th win of the season. In 17 games, Biron is now 11-3-2 and continues to show team head coach John Tortorella that it is okay to rest Lundqvist.

The team also got a solid performance out of the Marian Gaborik, Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov line. Gaborik picked-up his 30th goal of the season as well as an assist for points 54 and 55 on the season. Stepan also had a strong game in adding two assists while Anisimov scored his 12th goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1 in the second period.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, boston+bruins, brandon+dubinsky, carolina+hurricanes, daniel+girardi, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan, ryan+mcdonagh, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning

Going to Carolina

The New York Rangers will be in Raleigh tonight to take on the Carolina Hurricanes as the team looks to extend its winning streak to three games.

The Blueshirts are coming off a 2-0 shutout win over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night at Madison Square Garden. The team allowed just 13 shots in Henrik Lundqvist’s eighth shutout of the season, which is just two more than their lowest recorded total on home ice back in 1981 against the Calgary Flames when they only allowed 11 shots.

It will be important for the team to play a full 60-minutes as things do not get any easier for the Blueshirts heading into the stretch. They take on the Hurricanes tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night and the Boston Bruins at MSG on Sunday afternoon.

Luckily for the Blueshirts, this team has played as a cohesive unit all season long. They battle for each other, they stick up for each other, they play together as a team and because of this, have been one of the league’s top teams all year.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, calgary+flames, carolina+hurricanes, henrik+lundqvist, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Rangers Look to Regain Focus Tonight against the Sabres

After last night’s 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders, the New York Rangers need to get back on track with a win tonight against the Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden.

For both teams, it will be a back-to-back situation as the Sabres are coming off a 2-1 shootout win over the Boston Bruins. The Sabres have a lot to play for as they find themselves just five points out of the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference after winning three straight and going 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.

While the Rangers may be first in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, this game should be important to them as well. Over the last week or so, the team has gotten away from the things that made them successful in the first place and that has really come through in their last four games against the Chicago Blackhawks (4-2 loss), Columbus Blue Jackets (3-2 overtime win), Pittsburgh Penguins (2-0 loss) and Islanders (4-3 shootout loss).

On the other side, the Sabres have been playing some terrific hockey. They are getting great goaltending from Ryan Miller, who now looks like his old self, while also getting a lot of offense from the likes of Derek Roy, Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, and Drew Stafford.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, buffalo+sabres, chicago+blackhawks, columbus+blue+jackets, derek+roy, drew+stafford, jason+pominville, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+miller, thomas+vanek

Struggling Blackhawks Visit Blueshirts

The New York Rangers, one of the league’s hottest teams right now, will take on a struggling Chicago Blackhawks hockey club tonight at Madison Square Garden.

The Blackhawks have lost nine straight games and are currently struggling in all areas of their game. They are not scoring goals like they used to, not playing tight defense and getting wildly inconsistent goaltending from both Corey Crawford and Ray Emery.

On the other end, the Blueshirts come into tonight’s tilt having won four straight games. In their most recent game, which was on Tuesday night in Boston against the Boston Bruins, the team got a 42-save shutout performance from their netminder Henrik Lundqvist in a 3-0 victory.

For the Rangers, a game like tonight’s might actually be considered a “trap” game. The Rangers have won four straight, are one of the best team’s in the NHL, have played well at home and will be facing a team that is at the other end of the spectrum right now.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, chicago+blackhawks, columbus+blue+jackets, corey+crawford, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers, ray+emery

Lundqvist Dominates Bruins in 3-0 Shutout Win

There should no reason to be surprised anymore when it comes to New York Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

Last night, the “King” made 42 saves in a 3-0 shutout victory over the Boston Bruins. It was Lundqvist’s seventh shutout of the league, which puts him first in the league.

Lundqvist’s statistics are simply terrific when it comes to NHL netminders. The soon to be 30-year-old netminder now has 27 wins (4th in the league), a 1.77 goals against average (2nd in the league), a .941 save percentage (1st in the league) and as mentioned above, 7 shutouts (1st in the league).

It may have been a 3-0 win but Lundqvist was busy all night in Beantown. In the third period alone, Lundqvist made 18 saves and in the period before that, stopped 14 shots. He was simply terrific and was the main reason why the Blueshirts won the game.

The team got goals from Ryan Callahan (a power play goal…his 23rd of the season), Ryan McDonagh (his second goal in as many games), and Artem Anisimov (2 goals in his last three games). The club also did a good job of clearing rebounds, blocking shots and working hard in front of their netminder.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, boston+bruins, chicago+blackhawks, henrik+lundqvist, martin+biron, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, ryan+mcdonagh

Big Tilt in Beantown

The New York Rangers and Boston Bruins, two of the NHL’s Original Six franchises, happen to be two of the top teams in both the Eastern Conference and NHL this season.

With that said, it is the Blueshirts that come into this game with the better record and position in the standings. The Rangers are seven points up on the second place Bruins going into tonight’s game.

The Blueshirts are coming off a weekend sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals. Combined, the Rangers outscored their opponents 8-4 this past weekend and hope to carry that offense tonight against a very good defensive hockey team.

The Rangers are being led by their captain, Ryan Callahan, right now. Callahan is coming off a 4-goal weekend and is now second on the team in scoring with 22 goals and 19 assists for 41 points.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan, washington+capitals

Finding Another Gear

That is exactly what the New York Rangers are doing and for right now at least, it seems to be working.

Coming off a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers yesterday afternoon, the team knew that it would be in tough this afternoon against the Washington Capitals. Like the team has much of this season, the Blueshirts stood tough and came away with a 3-2 victory over Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals.

The team got another terrific performance from their goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist made 24 saves on 26 shots for his 26th win of the season. If he continues to play this way, the Vezina Trophy for the league’s top netminder should be his come near the end of June.

The club also got a big goal from defenseman Ryan McDonagh. McDonagh gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead 13:21 into the second period and it turned out to be the game winner.

The goal did not come so easily for McDonagh as on the follow through, he twisted awkwardly and got his skate caught in the ice and fell. He was helped to the dressing room but luckily, returned to finish the game.

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, boston+bruins, detroit+red+wings, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan, ryan+mcdonagh, washington+capitals

Rangers Do It Again Over the Flyers

There is no doubt that the National Hockey League would probably love to have both the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

If you are asking yourself why, just look at the four games that have been played between the two clubs this season. The games have had it all from timely goal scoring, big hits, fights, and great goaltending.

Unfortunately for the Flyers, they have lost all four tilts at the hands of the Blueshirts. Yesterday afternoon at the Garden, the Rangers were physical, blocked a ton of shots, got timely goal scoring and clutch goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist.

Playing in their Winter Classic uniforms, the Rangers put on a great show for their fans. The team got solid performances out of guys like Lundqvist, Artem Anisimov, Derek Stepan, Marian Gaborik, Dan Girardi, Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky.

It was a complete team effort, one that gave them another two points in the standings. With the victory, the Blueshirts remain in first place in the Eastern Conference with 71 points, which is three points more than the second place Boston Bruins and five points more than the fourth place Flyers.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, boston+bruins, brandon+dubinsku, dan+girardi, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan

UPDATE/Back to the Grind

UPDATE: Per Rangers’ beat writer Andrew Gross’s Twitter, Martin Biron will be starting between the pipes tonight for the Blueshirts:

Biron in net tonight vs. Devils. Otherwise same lineup for Rangers.

That is what the New York Rangers will be doing tonight at the Prudential Center when they take on the New Jersey Devils.

Coming into tonight’s tilt, the Blueshirts are on a two game winning streak. Two Saturday’s ago, the Rangers beat the Bruins in overtime by a 3-2 score and then three nights later at Madison Square Garden, the club shutout the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 3-0.

The Rangers also currently find themselves in the top spot in the Eastern Conference with 66 points and are one point behind the league-leading Detroit Red Wings. For the Rangers to keep up this kind of pace, they are going to have to get things started on the right foot tonight in New Jersey.

Luckily for the Blueshirts, they have several players who have performed well over the last few games. Lundqvist was terrific in Boston and was good when he had to be against the Jets.

Marian Gaborik, the NHL All-Star MVP, scored two goals against the Bruins and picked-up a hat trick and an assist in the All-Star Game. His confidence should be at a high level right now.

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One more Before the Break

The New York Rangers are back in action tonight to take on the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden before taking a few days off for the NHL All-Star break.

The Blueshirts are coming off a big 3-2 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins thanks to a goal from Marian Gaborik. It was the Rangers’ 30th win of the season and as it stands right now, the team is tied for first in the Eastern Conference with the Boston Bruins with 64 points.

Tonight, the Blueshirts take on a team that they have beaten twice in the Jets. In both of those games, the team got excellent goaltending from Martin Biron. As such, one has to wonder if he will be in between the pipes tonight for the red, white, and blue Rangers.

For the Rangers, tonight’s tilt could be looked at as a “trap” game. As I mentioned earlier, the Blueshirts are tied for first in the East while the Jets are 10th in the East and three points out of the eighth and final spot.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, eastern+conference, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, new+york+rangers, winnipeg+jets

Rangers’ PP Comes Through in the Clutch In Win Over the Bruins

For much of the season, the New York Rangers’ power play has been lackluster to say the least.

It looked like that was going to be the case again this afternoon against the Boston Bruins until overtime when the Rangers’ were awarded a five minute power play when Andrew Ference hit defenseman Ryan McDonagh from behind. It was then that Rangers’ sniper Marian Gaborik came through by beating Bruins’ netminder Tuukka Rask to give the Rangers a 3-2 victory.

It was Marian Gaborik’s second goal of the afternoon, giving “Gabby” 25 goals on the season. His first of the afternoon came of a blocked shot on Carl Hagelin and he sniped one past Rask to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead.

This was a game that lived up to everyone’s expectations. There was lots of hitting, lots of blocked shots, great goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist (32 saves) and Rask (30 saves), and had the feel of a playoff game.

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  Tags: andrew+ference, boston+bruins, eastern+conference, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, madison+square+garden, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ryan+mcdonagh, tuukka+rask, winnipeg+jets

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

Holding Onto the Top Spot

That is what the New York Rangers continue to do as the team picked-up a 3-0 win over the Nashville Predators last night at Madison Square Garden.

Due to playing in a hockey game of my own, I was not able to catch any of the game. With that said, it was nice to see Henrik Lundqvist get another shutout and the team come out with a much better defensive performance than they did against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night in Montreal.

It was also nice to see that John Mitchell scored another goal for the Blueshirts. No one really knew whether or not Mitchell would fit in with this Rangers’ team but he has come in and gotten the job done by working hard every night, forechecking hard, going to the net and cashing in on opportunities when they present themselves.

This is a team that continues to show that it can respond well after a loss. Too many times in the past few seasons would the Rangers follow up a loss with another bad game but this season, team head coach John Tortorella has seemed to keep that to a minimum.

With the win, the Rangers improved to 29-11-4 for 62 points. The team has a one point edge over the Detroit Red Wings for first in the league and a three point edge over the Boston Bruins for first in the Eastern Conference.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, detroit+red+wings, evgeni+malkin, henrik+lundqvist, james+neal, john+mitchell, john+tortorella, montreal+canadiens, nashville+predators, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

Rangers Impressive in Shutout win over the Leafs

It may not have been the most exciting game but the New York Rangers got the job done tonight with a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

For the Rangers, it was important for the club to get their offense going and for the most part, the team did just that tonight with goals from guys who do not score many of them (except for one guy). The Blueshirts got goals from Mike Rupp (4th goal of the season), Brian Boyle (his first goal in 22 games and 3rd goal of the season) and Derek Stepan (10th goal of the season and an assist).

Rangers’ netminder Martin Biron also had a solid game for his hockey club tonight. Biron picked-up his second shutout and 9th win of the season. While he was not bombarded with shots, Biron was good when he needed to be in making 19 saves and also adding his third assist of the season on Stepan’s goal.

With the win, the Rangers improved to 28-10-4 with 60 points. That has them first in the Eastern Conference (three points ahead of the Boston Bruins) and as of this writing, first in the NHL, one point ahead of the Vancouver Canucks.

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  Tags: bell+centre, boston+bruins, brian+boyle, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, joffrey+lupul, martin+biron, mike+rupp, mikhail+grabovski, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, phil+kessel, toronto+maple+leafs, vancouver+canucks

Rangers In Toronto to Battle the Leafs

Coming off a 3-0 shutout loss to the Ottawa Senators, the New York Rangers will look to turn things around tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.

For the Rangers, their focus has to be on getting pucks to the net and making most of their chances. In their last two games, the team has scored just one goal in regulation while not being able to convert on many scoring opportunities.

The Blueshirts will be without forward Brandon Dubinsky once again tonight as he is nursing a sore shoulder. The team head coach, John Tortorella, wants to be careful with “Dubi” because he knows that they cannot afford to have him out of the lineup for an extended period of time.

“It’s still the same,” coach John Tortorella said of Dubinsky’s shoulder, which was initially hurt on a check by the Coyotes’ Taylor Pyatt in the first period of Tuesday’s 2-1 shootout victory, though Dubinsky finished that game. “We just don’t want it to turn into a bigger problem…We’re just trying to be careful.”

According to Andrew Gross of The Record, back-up netminder Martin Biron will get the start tonight for the Blueshirts. Biron will be looking for his ninth win of the season and more importantly, getting the Rangers back on the winning track.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, brandon+dubinsky, eastern+conference, john+tortorella, martin+biron, new+york+rangers, phoenix+coyotes, taylor+pyatt, toronto+maple+leafs

Rangers Come Through Again With Win Over Panthers

It seems like every single time the New York Rangers play, they find a way to win.

The team did just that tonight by defeating the Florida Panthers 3-2 in overtime on a goal by Marian Gaborik at Madison Square Garden. Gaborik had been buzzing around the Panthers’ net all night long and was finally rewarded when he got the overtime winner, his 23rd of the season.

With the win, the Rangers improved to 25-9-4 to remain in first in the Eastern Conference by 1 point over the Boston Bruins. The win was also the Blueshirts’ 11th on home ice as the team now has a 12-3-2 record on Garden Ice.

Besides Gaborik, the Rangers also got solid performances from Brad Richards (1 assist), Derek Stepan (1 assist), Ryan Callahan (1 goal), Michael Del Zotto (1 assist) and Dan Girardi. It was also nice to see defenseman Marc Staal get a bit more ice time with 12:51 minutes tonight.

Even though the Panthers scored first and also managed to knot the game up at 2-2, the Rangers controlled most of the game. The Blueshirts outshot the Panthers 41-21 and did a terrific job of getting pucks deep, forechecking and going hard to the net.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, brad+richards, dan+girardi, derek+stepan, florida+panthers, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan

These Blueshirts Are for Real

As the New York Rangers get set to kick of 2012, it might be safe to say that these New York Rangers are for real.

Both team general manager Glen Sather and team head coach John Tortorella had a vision for this team and for once, it was the same. As such, the product on the ice has been quite successful this season so far.

The Rangers’ identity is one that is hard-working, competitive every night, has a never say die attitude and promotes team depth. Put all of these characteristics together and you have where the Rangers are today.

As of this writing, the Blueshirts are first in both the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division with a 23-9-4 record. The team is one point ahead of the second place Boston Bruins and two points ahead of the fourth place Philadelphia Flyers.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, boston+bruins, brad+richards, dan+girardi, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan

War On Ice: New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers

When it comes to the greatest rivalries in the National Hockey League, many fans will point out the obvious ones whether is the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens, and so on and so forth.

One rivalry that deserves attention is one that will get just that on Monday afternoon at the 2012 Winter Classic, the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers.

When the NHL decided that the 2012 Winter Classic would be between the New York Rangers and the host Philadelphia Flyers, I do not think they thought that at this point in this season, it would end being such a big tilt.

The New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers have one of the greatest rivalries in the league. However, over their 44-year history of playing against each other, it has turned into more than a rivalry.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, brandon+prust, chicago+blackhawks, detroit+red+wings, henrik+lundqvist, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, toronto+maple+leafs, wayne+simmonds, zac+rinaldo

What Happened to Raycroft?

As every hockey fan knows, being a goaltender in the National Hockey League is not an easy job.

You can be great for one game, one season etc. and then the next game or season, completely lose it. Just look at what happened to the likes of Jim Carey or Blaine Lacher.

Another goaltender who has had both good times and bad is recently waived member of the Dallas Stars Andrew Raycroft. After winning the Calder Trophy as the league’s rookie of the year in the 2003-04 season, Raycroft has never been the same netminder.
When Raycroft got started in the NHL in the 2003-04 season, he was absolutely terrific. He played big, was confident, did not allow many soft goals and put up great numbers with 29 wins, a 2.05 goals against average, a .926 save percentage and 3 shutouts.

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  Tags: andrew+raycroft, boston+bruins, colorado+avalanche, dallas+stars, kari+lehtonen, toronto+maple+leafs, vancouver+canucks

Average

That is exactly what the New York Rangers were last night in their 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals.

The team was not terrible but they certainly were not great either. This was a game that with better defensive coverage and less turnovers could have easily been a much better game for the Blueshirts.

What was interesting to see was how the Capitals played. Their team certainly played with a lot of energy and may have even looked like the Capitals of old.

With that said, the chances were there for the Rangers’ taking. There were plenty of juicy rebounds left by Capital’s netminder Tomas Vokoun but the Blueshirts failed to cash in on them.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, eastern+conference, florida+panthers, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, martin+biron, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, phoenix+coyotes, tomas+vokoun, washington+capitals

Tops in the East

That is exactly what the New York Rangers are after shutting out the New York Islanders last night by a score of 3-0 at Madison Square Garden.

With the win, the Rangers improved to 22-8-4, which is good enough for first in the Atlantic Division and now, first in the Eastern Conference. The team is one point ahead of the Boston Bruins and two points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers.

The team used a solid 60-minute effort to beat the Islanders last night. After coming back from the holiday’s, many wondered how this Rangers’ club would respond due to the time off. The Blueshirts came back, skated hard and showed why they are one of the tops teams in the National Hockey League this year.

For starters, the team got another solid performance out of netminder Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist made 28 saves for his third shutout of the season and how has statistics that make him one of the best netminders in the NHL with 15 wins (6th in the league), a 1.95 goals against average (4th in the league), a .936 save percentage (third in the league) and 3 shutouts (4th in the league.

The club also got another goal from their sniper Marian Gaborik. Gaborik now leads the NHL in goals with 21 and has a 5-game goal streak.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, carl+hagelin, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, washington+capitals

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

The Marian Gaborik Show

That is exactly what it was for the New York Rangers’ last night in their 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.

Marian Gaborik picked-up the game winning goal, an empty net goal and added an assist for a three point night. The game before, he picked-up another two goals and now has 19 on the season.

Gaborik looks like the player he was for the Rangers two seasons ago. The puck seems to be following him and he obviously knows how to make things happen.

Not only is he scoring goals and putting up points, he is also playing consistently well on the other side of the puck. He has made some solid defensive plays this season and backchecks a lot more than he used to.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, boston+bruins, derek+stepan, marian+gaborik, new+jersey+devils, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers

Something to Debate on Tim Thomas?

With the Hockey Hall of Fame announcing its inductees today, I figured now would be a good time to bring up a topic that will more than likely spark up a debate both amongst hockey fans and hockey media.

When all is said and done, will Boston Bruins’ netminder Tim Thomas be a candidate to get inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame? This is something that is going to be debated by the hockey media and fans alike since Thomas completed one heck of a season in the National Hockey League this year.

Thomas was the netminder to beat this season as he won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender, the Conn Smythe Trophy as the league’s best player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the ultimate trophy in the sport, the Stanley Cup. Easily a goaltender’s dream season, eh?

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  Tags: boston+bruins, tim+thomas

Giving Chiarelli his due

Over at RLD Hockey today, I wrote about how some credit should be tossed over to Boston Bruins’ general manager Peter Chiarelli for how he built this team into a Stanley Cup Champion.

You can read it here or continue below:

While a lot of credit has to be given to the play of Boston Bruins players such as Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Mark Recchi and many others for the Stanley Cup victory, general manager Peter Chiarelli deserves a lot of credit as well.

Chiarelli deserves props for not only the moves he made to make the Bruins a formidable threat in the regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but he also deserves high marks for not making some moves that could have potentially hurt the team.

When it comes to moves Chiarelli made, picking up forward Nathan Horton and defenseman Dennis Seidenberg immediately come to mind. The 26-year-old Horton finished with 53 points (26 goals and 27 assists) and was having himself a terrific first postseason until he was knocked out by Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome. Up until that point, Horton had 17 points (8 goals and 9 assists) in 21 games and was making a case for himself to be a potential Conn Smythe Trophy winner.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, peter+chiarelli

Canucks Under Pressure To Get it Done Tomorrow Night

When it comes to an elimination game in any series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, many hockey fans figure that the pressure is on the team that is one loss away from being knocked out.

While that is certainly an understandable point, that will not be the case in tomorrow night’s Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks. Tomorrow night, the pressure belongs to Roberto Luongo and the rest of his Canucks’ teammates.

For starters, the Canucks have clearly struggled at the TD Garden in this series. In Games 3 and 4 in Boston, the Canucks were outscored 12-1 despite putting a combined 79 shots on goal. While in Boston, Canucks’ defenseman Aaron Rome was suspended for the rest of the series for his hit on Bruins’ forward Nathan Horton while Roberto Luongo had plenty of trouble keeping the puck out of the net.

Secondly, Luongo still has to shake off the choke label both the media and fans have placed on him. Yes, Luongo has two shutouts in this series and yes, Luongo was terrific in Game 5. With that said, he still needs to show that he can get it done when it matters the most and tomorrow night, that will certainly be one of those situations for Luongo and the rest of his mates.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, vancouver+canucks

Why Thomas Should be the Conn Smythe Winner

When all is said and done with the Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks, the Conn Smythe Trophy as the league’s best player in the playoffs should go to Bruins’ 37-year-old netminder Tim Thomas.

Win or lose, Thomas has been by far and away the best player in this series, which is surprising considering that other big players that are involved in this series such as the Sedin twins, Ryan Kesler, Patrice Bergeron, Roberto Luongo, David Krejci and more. With that said however, there should be no doubt when all is said and done.

Looking at Thomas’s numbers in this series, he has gone above and beyond in between the pipes. He is 2-3 with a goals against average of under 2 and a save percentage hovering around 97 percent.

In each game of the series, Thomas has been the best player on the ice not only for the Bruins’, but between the two clubs as well. Sure, there have been some other players in this series who have stepped up but none have stepped up to the degree that Thomas has.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, tim+thomas

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