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Entries with the tag: brandon prust

Small Signing in Jeff Halpern

It really has been a quiet summer for the New York Rangers this off-season. Sure, they have made some news but certainly not the big splashes we are used to seeing the team make during the free agency season.

Yesterday, the Blueshirts made another small move in signing forward Jeff Halpern to a 1-year deal worth $700k. Definitely cannot complain about the terms or the money being given out with this deal as Halpern certainly fits the bill.

Halpern is a solid depth player who will help on faceoffs as well as on the penalty kill. With both Brandon Prust and Ruslan Fedontenko no longer on the Blueshirts, Halpern will fit in nicely on the penalty kill and should really help the team in that area.

With the signing, the team has certainly shored up its third and fourth lines. With that said, the team’s first two lines need some tinkering and one has to wonder if Rangers’ general manager Glen Sather is getting set to make another move.

There may still be some time left in the off-season but one has to wonder if this could be a summer without a big move made by the Blueshirts. Certainly seems to be headed down that path, doesn’t it?

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  Tags: brandon+prust, glen+sather, jeff+halpern, new+york+rangers, ruslan+fedotenko

Definitely Tougher

It appears that I did not miss much while I was on vacation when it comes to the New York Rangers.

The team did not trade for Rick Nash, did not get Zach Parise or Ryan Suter and really made no significant moves to help upgrade their rosters. Instead, the team lost perhaps one of their better players in the postseason in Ruslan Fedotenko to the Philadelphia Flyers while also losing Brandon Prust to the Montreal Canadiens.

With that said, the team definitely got a bit tougher by signing Arron Asham (has now played for all five Atlantic Division teams) and Taylor Pyatt. While I do not exactly agree with the Asham signing, Pyatt might be a good one for the Blueshirts.

Pyatt can produce every once in awhile (scored four in the postseason), can hit, can fight and can play a physical brand of hockey. At just 30 years of age, Pyatt has played in well over 700 NHL games and has fulfilled his role on the teams he has played for.

It was also nice to see the team re-up with defenseman/forward Stu Bickel. Bickel proved last season that he can get the job done in either role and was certainly a nice surprise on John Tortorella’s club this past season.

Other than that, there is nothing much doing in Rangerland. No offense has really been added and for a team that really needs it, that could end up hurting in the upcoming season.

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  Tags: arron+asham, brandon+prust, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ruslan+fedotenko, ryan+suter, stu+bickel, taylor+pyatt, zach+parise

Rangers Will Miss Prust If Not Re-Signed

Over the weekend, New York Post mentioned that New York Rangers’ general manager Glen Sather said that the team is unlikely to re-sign forward Brandon Prust.

Sather said the following about Prust:

“I don’t think we’re going to get that one done,” said Sather during the first round of the NHL Draft on Friday. “I like him, the team likes him, everybody likes him ... but I’m not married to him.”

While Prust may not add a lot of offense or be a big name in the league or even on the team, Prust was an extremely valuable Blueshirt since he was traded to the club in 2010. He worked hard, played hard every game, played within John Tortorella’s system and was one of the more versatile forwards the Rangers had on their roster.

Prust is also a fan favorite. Rangers’ fans loved watching him be physical, go out and block shots, kill penalties, get in fights now and then and do his job well. In turn, Prust loves/loved the fans right back.

Brandon Prust ‏@BrandonPrust8
I wish management wanted me back as much as the fans.. Thanks for the love everyone

While Sather probably has his reasons for not wanting to re-sign Prust, the team and its fans will miss Prust and wish him well wherever he ends up signing.

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  Tags: brandon+prust, glen+sather, john+tortorella, new+york+rangers

Devils’ Late Goal Sinks Rangers’ Comeback Efforts

At the end of the day, it does not matter how many goals you allow as long as you are the team that has more when the final buzzer sounds.

In tonight’s Game 5 between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden, it was Devils’ forward Ryan Carter’s goal with less than five minutes to go in the hockey game that lifted the Devils to a 5-3 victory. The Devils’ defense may not have been great but in the end, it was their offense that got the crucial goal to give their team a 3-2 series lead.

For the Rangers, it was the things that happened both early and late in the game that hurt them the most. In the first period, the Devils scored three goals on six shots (Stephen Gionta, Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac) to go up 3-0 less than 10 minutes into the hockey game. Then, in the third period, Carter scored the Devils to put them up 4-3 after the Blueshirts had gotten themselves back into the game and that was followed by a Zach Parise empty net goal with 1:32 to go in the hockey game.

Had it not been for those 15-minutes, this could have been a Rangers’ victory. Even when the club was down 3-0, they did not quit and battled hard to tie the game as they got goals from Brandon Prust, Ryan Callahan and Marian Gaborik.

The team was also able to take advantage of a somewhat shaky Martin Brodeur (25 saves) to get back into the hockey game. With that said, Brodeur battled to the end and made the big saves late in the third period when it mattered most and more importantly, he put his team one victory away from a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, brandon+prust, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, martin+brodeur, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, patrik+elias, ryan+callahan, ryan+carter, stephen+gionta, travis+zajac

Prust Suspended for Game 4

From NHL.com:

It appears as though the New York Rangers will be without Brandon Prust on Monday night.

Multiple media outlets are reporting that the rugged forward has been suspended for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New Jersey Devils after his hit on Anton Volchenkov during the second period of Saturday’s 3-0 win at the Prudential Center.

Volchenkov was carrying the puck along the boards and chipped it out of the zone when Prust landed an elbow to the back of Volchenkov’s helmet. Volchenkov, was down on the ice for almost a minute afterward, but was able to continue playing.

Click here for more.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, anton+volchenkov, brandon+prust, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers

Prust to Have Hearing Tomorrow

From NHL.com:

New York Rangers forward Brandon Prust will have a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Sunday morning after connecting with the head of Anton Volchenkov during a 3-0 win against the New Jersey Devils in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday.

Volchenkov was carrying the puck along the boards and chipped it out of the zone when Prust landed an elbow to the back of Volchenkov’s helmet in the second period. Volchenkov was down on the ice for almost a minute afterward, but was able to continue playing. No penalty was called on the play.

Click here for more on Prust.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, anton+volchenkov, brandon+prust, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers

Quiet on The Offensive Front for the Blueshirts

As everyone knows, goals are at a minimum in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With the exception of the first round between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers, there have been many low scoring games in this postseason. This is due to tighter defenses, players diving all over the place to block shots and great goaltending.

While these things have certainly been a factor for the New York Rangers, they are not the only reason why the team’s offense has been very quiet in their second round series with the Washington Capitals.

For starters, the Rangers are not getting any secondary scoring. Guys like Ruslan Fedotenko, Brian Boyle, Brandon Prust, Derek Stepan, John Mitchell, Carl Hagelin, Mike Rupp, and others have all been stymied and have not been able to put the puck in the net.

This is a problem because it ends up putting a ton of pressure on the likes of Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, and Ryan Callahan to put the puck in the net. While it is right to expect them to be able to put the puck in the net because of what they accomplished in the regular season or in past postseasons, that does not mean that they can come through whenever the team needs them to.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, brad+richards, braden+holtby, brandon+prust, brian+boyle, carl+hagelin, derek+stepan, john+mitchell, marian+gaborik, mike+rupp, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, ruslan+fedotenko, ryan+callahan

What the Rangers Need to do to Win Game 7

While the NHL regular season does not mean much when it comes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, there are things that a team did during the regular season that helps when it comes to playing in hockey’s second season.

This is the case when it comes to the New York Rangers. Tonight, the Rangers will host Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Ottawa Senators. It is the Rangers’ first Game 7 at Madison Square Garden since they won Game 7 against the Vancouver Canucks in 1994 in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Rangers were extremely successful in the regular season and the three games they won in their series against the Senators because they played “Ranger Hockey”. Ranger hockey is something that team head coach John Tortorella came up with and it has worked to a ‘T’ when implemented correctly.

For starters, playing Ranger hockey is all about having a team first mentality. This means that playing a physical brand of hockey and blocking shots are almost mandatory and when the Rangers have won in this series, they have done both extremely well.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, brad+richards, brandon+prust, brian+boyle, dan+girardi, henrik+lundqvist, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, ryan+callahan, ryan+mcdonagh

Rangers Win Classic in Philly

When the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers were a part of the press conference at the Citizens Bank Ball Park to announce that they were the two clubs in the 2012 Winter Classic, Rangers’ general manager Glen Sather said that his team would win.

While it was no Mark Messier-like guarantee, his and head coach John Tortorella’s team did all the hard work to beat the Flyers by a score of 3-2. The win enables the Rangers’ to stay in first in the Eastern Conference while also giving the team a four-point lead over the Flyers in the Atlantic Division.

For the Rangers, this was a typical victory for them. The team overcame a 2-0 lead by working hard, forechecking, getting different guys to contribute and getting timely goaltending from their netminder.

In this particular instance, the Rangers came back from a 2-0 deficit on two goals by Mike Rupp. On both goals, Rupp put two accurate shots through Flyers’ netminder Sergei Bobrovsky and showed that if put on the ice with the right guys, he can provide some offense.

The team’s go-ahead and game winning goal also came from a summer pick-up in Brad Richards. Richards, known for his clutch plays and being in the right place at the right time, did those two things to give the Blueshirts a 3-2 lead 5:21 into the third period.

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  Tags: 2012+winter+classic, brad+richards, brandon+dubinsky, brandon+prust, daniel+briere, glen+sather, henrik+lundqvist, john+mitchell, john+tortorella, marc+staal, mike+rupp, 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

Getting Back on Track

That is something that the New York Rangers (15-6-4) will look to do tonight against the Buffalo Sabres (14-11-2) in Buffalo.

Buffalo is coming off a 2-1 overtime victory over the streaking Florida Panthers last night. It was a hard fought battle so there is no doubt that the Sabres may be a bit tired.

On the other side, the Blueshirts are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night. According to team beat writers, the team had a good practice yesterday before heading off to Buffalo for tonight’s tilt.

The Rangers come into this game having not won since last Saturday night when they defeated the Lightning by a score of 4-2. Since that game, the Blueshirts have lost to the Leafs (4-2 on Monday Night night) and the Lightning and picked-up one point in those two games combined.

Even with their recent “winless streak”, the team still sits fifth in the Eastern Conference with 34 points and is two points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins (fourth in the Eastern Conference) and three points behind the Philadelphia Flyers (first in the Eastern Conference). If the team is able to pick up two points tonight, they will have a chance to move up a bit in the standings, which always feels good to any NHL hockey club.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brad+richards, brandon+dubinsky, brandon+prust, brian+boyle, buffalo+sabres, florida+panthers, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, ruslan+fedotenko, ryan+callahan, toronto+maple+leafs

Rangers Need Secondary Scoring

In order to get everything clicking, the New York Rangers must be able to start getting some secondary scoring.

Going into the season, many hockey pundits, bloggers and prognosticators believed that this year’s Rangers’ hockey club had the most depth it has had in a very long time. With that said, it has yet to show up this season for the Blueshirts.

Obviously, the team’s top line consisting of Derek Stepan (for now), Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik will be asked to do the primary scoring. So far, Gaborik has doen his part and Richards has set up a bunch of goals and scoring opportunities.

It is the team’s second line of Artem Anismov-Brandon Dubinsky-Ryan Callahan that needs to steup to the plate and start producing. Ryan Callahan has not done much since the team’s opening weekend in Sweden and Dubinsky has been inconsistent at best. Unfortunately, Anisimov has been almost non-existent so far this season.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brad+richards, brandon+dubinsky, brandon+prust, brian+boyle, derek+stepan, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ruslan+fedotenko, ryan+callahan, winnipeg+jets

Timing is Everything

That was certainly the case last night for the New York Rangers as they scored with just over a second left in overtime to defeat the Calgary Flames by a score of 3-2.

Brandon Dubinsky did all the work to get the puck into the offensive zone and feed the puck to defenseman Dan Girardi, who then fired the puck wide off the boards for defenseman Ryan McDonagh to come in and put the puck into the open side of the net. Some might say it was a set play but it was really all about the timing.

In the team’s second straight win, the Blueshirts got solid performances from the likes of Marian Gaborik (1 goal and 8 shots), Brandon Prust (shorthanded goal), and of course, Henrik Lundqvist, who made 33 saves. The club also got a terrific game out of their penalty killing unit as the team was once again somewhat undisciplined.

The Blueshirts find themselves with two straight wins on this four game Western Canada road trip and should be feeling pretty good about themselves. With that said, there are still a few things that the team needs to work on such as staying out of the box, not allowing high quality scoring chances and getting scoring from their second line.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brandon+dubinsky, brandon+prust, calgary+flames, dan+girardi, edmonton+oilers, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, ryan+mcdonagh, toronto+maple+leafs, winnipeg+jets

Liking This Team

If you are a New York Rangers’ fan, this is how you should feel about the hockey club they love.

Overall, this team has had a really good summer. First off, the team went out and signed the top unrestricted free agent on the market in Brad Richards. With a nine-year pact, Richards is going to have to be a big part of the team’s future and will also be in charge of getting Marian Gaborik going again.

Secondly, the team locked up its two best young players in Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan. Last week, the team locked up Dubinsky for four years and just two days ago, the team signed Callahan to a three-year pact. Both of this guys are leaders on and off the ice while one is certainly captain material in Callahan. These two will be expected to carry the Blueshirts into the future and to make them a competitive hockey club for the next few seasons.

Lastly, look at what the team had coming into this season. Players like Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Marian Gaborik, Brian Boyle, Brandon Prust, Derek Stepan, Artem Anisimov, and more. These players, or at least most of them, are young and still have a lot to offer the Blueshirts.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brad+richards, brandon+dubinsky, brandon+prust, brian+boyle, dan+girardi, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan

Well Deserved Playoff Berth and What They Need to do to Win

This can definitely be said when it comes to this year’s New York Rangers.

It was a roller coaster season for the Blueshirts that featured lots of injuries, some untimely losses as well as some inconsisten play. With that said, however, there was a lot more good than bad from the Rangers this season, which is why there is a possibility that they can make a long run in this year’s postseason.

To beat the No. 1 seed Washington Capitals, you have to first look at Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist. It is more than likely that Lundqvist will face a barrage of shot in the first round from the likes of Alexander Ovechkin, Alex Semin, Nicklas Backstrom, Jason Arnott, Mike Knuble, Mike Green, John Carlson and others. Luckily for the Rangers’, Henrik was quite good against the Capitals this season in shutting them out twice and winning another.

The team will also need to get timely goal scoring. Guys like Brandon Dubinsky, Marian Gaborik, Vinny Prospal, Artem Anisimov, Derek Stepan, Brian Boyle and even Brandon Prust will have to do everything they can to put the puck in the net.

This is especially true because the team will be without their heart and soul player, Ryan Callahan. Callahan was instrumental on the team’s power play, penalty kill and knew how to score when the team needed it the most. Certainly a big piece of the puzzle to replace at such an important time.

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  Tags: alex+semin, alexander+ovechkin, artem+anisimov, brandon+dubinsky, brandon+prust, brian+boyle, dan+girardi, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, jason+arnott, john+carlson, marian+gaborik, mike+green, mike+knuble, new+york+rangers, nicklas+bakcstrom, vinny+prospal, washington+capitals

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

Good, but not Great

Good morning folks. Unfortunately, I did not get to catch the New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators game last night as I had a hockey game of my own to play in.

With that said, I was somewhat disappointed to come home and see that the Blueshirts lost 2-1 in a shootout to the Senators, snapping the team’s five game winning streak. Yes, the Blueshirts were able to pick up an important point but as always, there were two points to be had in this game and the Blueshirts failed to get the other one.

It was nice to see that Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist had another solid game between the pipes in making 29 saves. He seems to be on top of his game and right now, that is a very good thing for the Blueshirts.

It was also nice to see Rangers’ forward Brandon Prust pick up his 12th goal of the season. Prust works hard, is not afraid to go into the corners, sticks up for his teammates, goes to the net and has shown that he can contribute offense to this hockey club.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, brandon+prust, buffalo+sabres, henrik+lundqvist, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators

Rangers Blank Panthers in Big Win on Garden Ice

It certainly wasn’t the most exciting hockey game but the New York Rangers did what they needed to do in shutting out the Florida Panthers by a score of at Madsion Square Garden.

The win gives the Blueshirts points 83 and 84, is their fifth straight victory and also marks Henrik Lundqvist’s 10th shutout of the season as well as his 32nd win on the year. All big things happening for the Blueshirts right now and with the way the team is playing, it is certainly well deserved.

The Blueshirts had plenty of scoring chances throughout the game but Panthers’ netminder Tomas Vokoun was up to the task time and time again. That is, until Rangers’ forward Brandon Dubinsky put in a great pass from Ryan Callahan and gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead close to eight minutes into the third period.

The team also got strong performances from the line of Brandon Prust-Brian Boyle-Ruslan Fedotenko as that line peppered Vokoun all night long, forechecked hard, generated scoring chances and play well on both sides of the puck. Marian Gaborik also had another strong night as he had four shots on goal, showed a lot of speed and looked more and more like the Gaborik of last season.

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  Tags: brandon+dubinsky, brandon+prust, buffalo+sabres+and+montreal+canadiens, carolina+hurricanes, dan+boyle, florida+panthers, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, ruslan+fedotenko, ryan+callahan, tomas+vokoun

Big Win for the Blueshirts

Tonight’s game between the New York Rangers and the New York Islanders was one that the Blueshirts needed to have on home ice.

Mission accomplished. The Blueshirts came out and beat the Islanders by a score of 6-3 and picked up points 77 and 78 on the season.

Believe it or not, the Rangers got three power play goals and a shorthanded goal tonight. Erik Christensen, Bryan McCabe (his first as a Ranger) and Marian Gaborik all connected with the man-advantage while Brandon Prust picked up the shorthanded goal in the first period to give his team a 1-0 lead.

With the win, the Rangers now have sole possession of the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference as the Carolina Hurricanes shutout the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 1-0.

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  Tags: brandon+prust, bryan+mccabe, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, erik+christensen, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, montreal+canadiens, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins

Not Great but Not Bad

That would be the phrase to describe the play of the New York Rangers last night in their 3-2 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden.

The team got off to a great start and was up 2-0 in the second period on goals by Brandon Prust and Artem Anisimov. However, the Penguins scored three goals to take the lead before Ryan Callahan tied it up with a power play goal on Jordan Staal’s five minute penalty (he got tossed from the game).

This was a game that the Blueshirts should have been able to pick up two points but instead, come away with one. They had trouble finishing both in the third period and in the shootout and ultimately, that is what did them in as they had numerous chances to get the game winning goal.

With that said, there were some positives in the game. For starters, it was great to have Callahan (1 goal) and Brandon Dubinsky (1 assist) back in the lineup. These are two of the hardest working Blueshirts and it showed last night as they generated several scoring opportunities. Callahan definitely showed some rust but since he had not played for over a month, it is excusable.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brandon+dubinsky, brandon+prust, jordan+staal, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan

Rangers Head Into Much Needed Break With 4-3 Loss to the Panthers

It certainly was not their best game of the season but it wasn’t exactly their worst as the New York Rangers fell to the Florida Panthers by a score of 4-3.

The Panthers got the game-winner when Panthers’ Mike Weaver took shot from the point that was going wide and instead, it ended up hitting Rangers’ forward Artem Anisimov’s shoulder and popped up in the air and landed behind Lundqvist to give the Panthers a 4-3 lead and ultimately, the victory.

While that was a negative for the Blueshirts, there were also several positives. Down 3-1 going into the third period, the Rangers’ battled back on goals by Brandon Prust and Dan Boyle to tie the game. For Boyle, it was his team leading 18th goal of the season, a number that I don’t think anyone expected him to have heading into the season.

Another positive for the Rangers was the play of Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello picked up three assists. Zuccarello knows how to set-up his teammates, knows how to get to loose pucks and knows how to use his speed to create scoring opportunities, all skills that will allow him to have success in the NHL.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brandon+prust, dan+boyle, florida+panthers, henrik+lundqvist, mats+zuccarello, michael+del+zotto, mike+weaver, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins

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

My Rangers’ All-Stars

With the NHL announcing the rest of the All-Star selections yesterday, I figured now would be a good time to look at the players who have been all-stars for the New York Rangers this season.

Some of my selections were baded on point-production while other selections were due to their overall fine play in the first half of the season.

Let me know what you think:

- Brandon Dubinsky: The Rangers’ 24-year-old has been by far and away the team’s best offensive player this season. In 44 games, Dubinsky has 37 points (17 goals and 20 assists) and has shown those throughout the organization that he has the potential to be a 30 to 35-goal scorer. Not only does he contribute offensively, but “Dubi” also plays well on the other side of the puck and is used in all game situations whether it’s power play, penalty kill, the extra man, etc. He’s done it all for the Blueshirts this season and hopefully for the Rangers, he will do much of the same in the second half of the season.

- Ryan Callahan: Before suffering a broken hand against the Pittsburgh Penguins in December, Rangers’ forward Ryan Callahan was also making a name for himself to be the top Rangers’ player. In 32 games, the 25-year-old had put up 23 points (10 goals and 13 assists) and also become the perfect role model for the Blueshirts. He sacrificed his body to block shots, he skated hard at both ends of the ice, he played on the power play and penalty kill and he was a leader on and off the ice. While the Blueshirts have played well without him, he will certainly be welcomed back into the lineup with open arms.

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  Tags: brandon+dubinsky, brandon+prust, brian+boyle, dan+girardi, john+tortorella, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan

All About Hard Work for the Blueshirts

It may have been a 7-2 drubbing of the New York Islanders, but the New York Rangers certainly worked hard for their 21st victory of their season.

For starters, defenseman Matt Gilroy had a terrific game for the Blueshirts. He picked up his first two goals of the season, played well on both sides of the puck and looked poised and confident on the blueline. This is something that Gilroy needs to do conisistently but he certainly seems to be getting his game together at the right time for his hockey club.

It was another excellent game for grinders Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust. Boyle picked up his 13th goal of the season and added two assists for three points. As always, Prust worked hard, battled in the corners and generated several scoring opportunities for the Blueshirts.

The same can be said of Brandon Dubinsky and Derek Stepan, who are both having quite a season for the Rangers. Dubinsky scored his 15th goal of the season and added an assist while Stepan extended his goal-scoring streak to three games with his 11th goal of the season as well as picking up an assist.

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  Tags: brandon+dubinsky, brandon+prust, brian+boyle, chris+drury, derek+stepan, marian+gaborik, mats+zuccarello, matt+gilroy, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers

Playing to a Weaker Opponent’s Level at MSG

How did most New York Rangers’ fans know that a game like last night’s loss to the Ottawa Senators was going to happen?

Unfortunately, they knew because this is how the Blueshirts play sometimes. When a weaker opponent comes into Madison Square Garden, the Rangers will often play down to their level and often either lose or win a close game.

Last night, the Senators came into MSG not having scored in their last nine periods and yet, the team managed to put in three (one empty net goal) against the Rangers in winning the hockey game 3-1.

Early on in the game, one could tell that the Rangers were going to struggle given that they were badly outplayed by a team that had played the night before in a 1-0 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Yet, the Senators were all over the puck in the Rangers’ zone and also played tight, defensive hockey.

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  Tags: brandon+prust, brian+boyle, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, ruslan+fedotenko

Rangers’ Fourth Line Getting It Done

From great friend of the blog Nicholas Montemagno at The Rangers Tribune:

Head coach John Tortorella, in all of his years behind the bench, has never once been a coach to that has used his fourth line all that often. By that I mean, he rather shorten the bench and rotate three lines in crucial situations and occasionally throw the fourth out there once or twice a period. That is, until he was confronted with the Shelley-Anisimov-Prust combination that has taken the coaching staff, and the fan base for that matter, by surprise.

Since Tortorella began rolling four lines, the team has been 7-1-1 and making a magical run at a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Not only has Torts changed to a four-line coach, but he has even went as far as starting the fourth trio in games, like last night’s against the Philadelphia Flyers for example.

Click here for more great stuff from Nicholas!

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brandon+prust, jody+shelley, new+york+rangers

Can He Help?

As most, if not all, New York Rangers fans know by now, the team has acquired Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust.

On paper, this looks like a pretty good deal as the Blueshirts were able to get rid of two underachievers on Broadway. If they find their scoring touch in Calgary, good for them but the Rangers’ are hoping that they got the better end of the deal with the potential offense that Jokinen can bring playing with Marian Gaborik.

More from the team website:

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  Tags: brandon+prust, new+york+rangers, olli+jokinen

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