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Entries with the tag: marian gaborik

Rangers Should Lean on and Follow Callahan and Stepan

After attending last night's New York Rangers vs. Winnipeg Jets' NHL game at Madison Square Garden, it is easy to see who the real catalysts are for this Rangers' hockey club in terms of playing the game the right way.

Believe it or not, I am not talking about players such as Rick Nash (he has been great this season), Brad Richards or Marian Gaborik. While Nash is the only player that has really stepped up unlike Richards and Gaborik, even he is not doing what the players I am about to talk about are doing.

These Blueshirts are team captain Ryan Callahan and his linemate Derek Stepan. At 28 and 22 years old, respectively, these two players represent all that is right with the club as well as being a big part of the core of the franchise moving forward.

Callahan has always been an exemplary Ranger. He hustles, he blocks shots, he plays the body, he goes hard to the net and this season, has shown that he has soft hands.

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  Tags: brad+richards, carl+hagelin, derek+stepan, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ondrej+pavelec, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, winnipeg+jets

Keep Moving Forward

When it comes to the New York Rangers as a franchise, we have seen many consistent themes each and every season.

One of those themes has to do with streaking. Going into Thursday night's game against the Florida Panthers, the Blueshirts have won two straight games in beating the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night and the New Jersey Devils last night.

With the two victories, the Rangers find themselves in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with the same amount of points that the sixth place Carolina Hurricnaes and seventh place Toronto Maple Leafs have (32). What this means for the Blueshirts is that they need to keep moving forward and keep picking up two points whenever possible.

As I mentioned above though, the Blueshirts seem to run into a theme of winning a few and then losing a few. Prior to the Rangers winning two straight this week, they had dropped their last three games and were outscored 9-2 in those three tilts.

In a shortened season such as this one, the Rangers cannot afford to be up and down. Yes, the team currently holds a playoff spot but because of their extremely inconsistent play this season, they could just as easily be in the bottom seven of the Eastern Conference.

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  Tags: brad+richards, carl+hagelin, carolina+hurricanes, derek+stepan, florida+panthers, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, toronto+maple+leafs

Placing Some Blame on Tortorella

With the New York Rangers on a three game losing streak, many Blueshirts' fans are clamoring to have team head coach John Tortorella fired.

While it is typical for fans to overreact and make impulse decisions, it is a somewhat understandable feeling. After making it to the Eastern Conference Finals last season and getting Rick Nash during the off-season, many fans thought that the team had the makings of getting to the next level and once again being a Stanley Cup contender.

Unfortunately, these same fans have been let down. As of this writing, the team is tenth in the conference and three points out of the eighth spot. What is even worse for Rangers' fans is that the New York Islanders currently have one more point than their favorite hocckey team.

This is not the way it was supposed to be this season. The Blueshirts were supposed to be one of the best teams in both the East and the NHL and instead, are flirting with the possibility that they might not make the postseason at all.

While it is on the players to perform and produce, it is understandable that some of the blame must be placed on Tortorella. There is no doubt that while playing a defense-first system is smart, the team that Tortorella has includes several high-end forwards who might be being held back.

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  Tags: brad+richards, derek+stepan, glen+sather, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ryan+callahan

Another Disappointing Effort for the Blueshirts

For a team that is fighting to stay in the top eight in the Eastern Conference, the New York Rangers sure did not play with any kind of fight tonight in a 3-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg.

It what has been a consistent theme this season for Blueshirts, the Rangers did not generate too many quality scoring chances, allowed too many quality scoring chances to the Jets and looked like they lacked the energy that is needed to win a hockey game.

Furthermore, Rangers' forward Marian Gaborik was denied on a penalty shot by Jets' netminder Ondrej Pavelec in the first period. Gaborik got in too close to Pavelec and ended up losing control of the puck, which was then smothered by Pavelec.

Smothered would be the perfect word to describe what the Rangers' play has been in these last two games. The club cannot find the open holes to generate quality scoring chances, cannot find good shots to get on the power play and then when they do get a scoring chance, they make the opposing netminder look like the next Patrick Roy.

This word would also describe what is happening to some of the team's top players. Guys like Gaborik, Rick Nash, and Brad Richards have been quiet in these last two games and if one of those guys is not scoring, that means trouble for the rest of the Rangers' team. 

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  Tags: brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ondrej+pavelec, pittsburgh+penguins, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, winnipeg+jets

Nash Needs to Lead Rangers’ Offense

On Thursday night in their 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, the New York Rangers fired 42 shots on goal and created offense by not being afraid to go to the net, by not being afraid to put pucks on net and lastly, by following the lead of one of their own players.

That player was power forward Rick Nash. Besides getting on the scoresheet with two points on one goal and one assist, Nash had a game-high 12 shots on goal and was a force all over the ice.

Nash created offense by driving through the Lightning defense, by going to the dirty areas where goals are scored, by using his quick and smooth stickhandling skills and by using his size. The rest of the team followed suit and it resulted in a victory.

While the team also has the likes of Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, Carl Hagelin, and Ryan Callahan, it is Nash's offense that the team needs to follow. Nash creates scoring opportunities by not getting too fancy and by keeping the game simple, something the Rangers have struggled with this season.  

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  Tags: biffalo+sabres, brad+richards, carl+hagelin, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, tampa+bay+lightning

Trying to Build Consistency

That is something the New York Rangers will look to do tonight when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

On Thursday night against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden, the Blueshirts skated away with a 4-1 victory. The team got terrific performances out of J.T. Miller, Chris Kreider, Ryan McDonagh and Henrik Lundqvist and did everything else they needed to do to win a hockey game.

For the Rangers to get all parts of their game going, the team's power play must start clicking. More often than not, the Rangers have been given ample opportunitites to build on their momentum by scoring a goal with the man advantage and more often than not, the Rangers come out of it goal-less.

When one thinks about it, it does not make any sense that the Rangers are not producing on the power play. The team has the talent, the shooters, the guys to go to the front of the net and the point men to get the puck to the net.

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  Tags: chris+kreider, henrik+lundqvist, j.t.+miller, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ryan+mcdonagh, tampa+bay+lightning

Clarkson, Brodeur Beat Blueshirts 3-1

For the New York Rangers, tonight must have seemed familiar as the team was beaten by the strong performances of New Jersey Devils' forward David Clarkson and netminder Martin Brodeur in a 3-1 loss.

Clarkson continues to show that last year was not a fluke as he picked up his sixth and seventh goal of the year by doing something the Rangers have not done often enough this season and that's being in the right position in the slot. On both goals, Clarkson was left open in front of Rangers' netminder Henrik Lundqvist and he made them pay for it.

The Blueshirts also ran into the hot goaltending of Brodeur. Brodeur, who stopped 24 or 25 shots on the night, made several great saves in the first period to keep the Rangers off the board and then made a terrific glove save on Blueshirts' forward Carl Hagelin in the third period to help preserve the victory.

The loss puts the Rangers at 4-5 this season and also shows just how inconsistent the club really is. The team continued to struggle on the power play, played careless defense in front of Lundqvist and did not get the offense they need to win a hockey game.

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  Tags: brad+richards, carl+hagelin, david+clarkson, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, rick+nash

Not Going to be Easy

Update: According to Rangers' beat writer Steve Zipay, it appears that Rangers' back-up goaltender Martin Biron will make his first start of the season tonight

That will certainly be the case tonight for the New York Rangers when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in Tampa.

The Blueshirts are coming off one of their worst performances of this young season. On Thursday night at Madison Square Garden against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Rangers were kept quiet offensively, took another careless too many men on the ice penalty and lacked the energy that is needed to be competitive in a hockey game.

At the other end of the ice, the Lightning are just the opposite. The team is scoring goals like crazy (beat the Winnipeg Jets 8-3 last night), cashing in on the power play and at the time of this writing, is the top team in the Eastern Conference with a 6-1 record, having won five straight games.

For the Rangers to start winning hockey games, their offense is going to need to step up in a big way. Besides the line of Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, and Rick Nash, the team's forwards have been very quiet.

The team needs the likes of Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin to start putting the puck in the net. These two players have not played badly but they are not finding themselves on the scoresheet, which could become a problem as this season goes further.

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  Tags: brad+richards, carl+hagelin, derek+stepan, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, rick+nash, tampa+bay+lightning, winnipeg+jets

60-Minute Hockey

For the first time this season, that is exactly what the New York Rangers played in their 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden last night.

The team dominated in all facets of the game and did all the little things to win a hockey game. This style of hockey is what made the Blueshirts so successful last season and last night against the Leafs, it was the perfect blueprint for a win.

The Rangers once again got another great performance from Marian Gaborik. With two goals and two assists for four points, Gaborik is now fifth in the league in scoring with nine points (5 goals and 4 assists) and has eight points in his last three games.

The team also got some offense from its blue line last night. Marc Staal scored the game-tying goal in the third period for his first goal of the season and took the shot from the point that was deflected by Gaborik for the game winning goal while defenseman Michael Del Zotto added two assists. 

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  Tags: brad+richards, james+reimer, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, rick+nash, toronto+maple+leafs

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

Cautious Optimism

This is exactly how New York Rangers' fans should approach the upcoming 48-game shortened NHL season.

Last season, the Blueshirts shocked many and were one of the best teams in the entire league last season. They did it with great goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, great defense, and a committment by the whole team to play well on both sides of the puck.

Considering that the team's coach, John Tortorella, is still in place, the team will more than likely use the same philosphy this season. With that said, there is reason for the team and its fans to believe that this season could end up being a very special season on Broadway.

For starters, the team now has a balanced offense. With newcomer Rick Nash now in the fold, the Blueshirts now have two snipers in their arsenal with the likes of Nash and Marian Gaborik to go along with the likes of Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, and others.

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  Tags: brad+richards, carl+hagelin, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ryan+callahan

Why the Rangers Can Win the Cup This Season

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rangers’ Del Zotto Must Continue to Improve

When you are in the National Hockey League, it is not enough to have just one good season. 

This is the kind of attitude that New York Rangers' defenseman Michael Del Zotto must have when the puck drops on the upcoming season, whenever that may be. In fact, for Del Zotto, it is the only way that he will survive under team head coach John Tortorella.

When the 22-year-old entered the league in the 2009-10 season, Del Zotto showed how gifted he was and how he could be too four defenseman in the NHL. That season, Del Zotto posted 37 points (9 goals and 28 assists) in 80 games. Four of the nine goals were on the power play and he even managed to score one game-winning goal as well.

However, one statistic that was quite alarming was Del Zotto's -20. While there was no doubt that Del Zotto could play well on the offensive side of the puck, his defensive abilities certainly did not measure up to other defensemen in the league.

In his second season, Del Zotto hit the "sophomore slump" and struggled mightily with the Blueshirts. Due to his struggles, Del Zotto played in just 47 games with the Rangers scoring 2 goals and adding 9 assists to go along with a dismal -5. 

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  Tags: brad+richards, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan

Youth Will Be Served on Broadway

No matter when the next NHL season starts, it will be about youth when it comes to the New York Rangers.

Since the NHL lockout in 2004-05, the Blueshirts have been on a much different path than they were prior to the lockout. Instead of being a team that went out and signed or traded for old veterans or free agents, they have become an organization focused on developing their prospects/younger players while also being a team looking for the right pieces to fill the Rangers' organizational puzzle.

Much like last season, the upcoming season will be about developing the club's younger players while hoping guys like Rich Nash, Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik (when he comes back from injury), and others can continue to help the team continue on the path to their ultimate goal: the Stanley Cup.

One such youngster who will have a lot of eyes on him is forward Chris Kreider. After winning a national college championship with the Boston College Eagles, Kreider burst onto the Stanley Cup Playoffs scene on Broadway when he made his NHL debut against the Ottawa Senators in Game 3. 

While Kreider did not produce in his first game, he showed that he had tremendous speed, a nose for the net and that he was definitely an offensively gifted player that the Rangers would be lucky to have. Little did the Rangers know that Kreider offensive gifts would come to fruition in Game 6 when he scored the game winning goal for the Blueshirts to force a Game 7.

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  Tags: brad+richards, carl+hagelin, chris+kreider, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, ryan+mcdonagh

A 1-2 Punch That is Not Guaranteed

In the hockey world, there have been several instances where two players display great chemistry together.

Last season, the New York Rangers had hoped for that with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik. Unfortunately, while they did play well together at times, they certainly did not do so on a consistent basis. While each player had solid seasons last year, they did so on different lines because when it came down to it, their talents did not work as well together as people hoped.

Unfortunately for the Blueshirts, this was also a problem in the postseason. With Gaborik scoring over 40 goals last season, many hoped and expected that Richards and Gaborik would find their groove together when it mattered most and it never ended up working out. Gaborik played hurt for much of the postseason and again, the two players found themselves on different lines.

With Rick Nash now in the fold, many will expect Richards and the former Columbus Blue Jacket to work together like clockwork. Nash can undoubtedly put the puck in the net and Richards is someone who knows how to set-up his teammates (41 assists last season).

For the Rangers, Nash and Richards will need to be the 1-2 punch for the start of next season. With Gaborik out of the lineup until November/December, the team needs to have guys that can put the puck the net and Nash needs to come in and be that guy with the help of Richards.

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  Tags: brad+richards, columbus+blue+jacket, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, rick+nash

A Steal by Sather?

UPDATE: Dreger said this as well:

Darren Dreger ‏@DarrenDreger
Nash, cond.3rd (goes back to CBJ if NYR make Cup final), mnr leaguer Steve Delisle to NYR for Anisimov, Dubinsky, Erixon and 1st rnd pick.

Darren Dreger ‏@DarrenDreger
Howson managed this trade his way, but the components of this deal were availabe at the deadline and again at the Draft.

It appears that New York Rangers’ general manager Glen Sather is more than capable of making solid hockey deals for the Blueshirts.

According to Darren Dreger at TSN, the Blueshirts will be acquiring Columbus Blue Jackets’ sniper Rick Nash for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, young defenseman Tim Erixon and a 1st round pick. The trade is still pending the official call but should it go through, the Rangers should be considered the winners in this deal.

While Dubinsky has scored more than 20 goals before, he did not look the same last season. He did not look as confident, had trouble putting the puck in the net and was quiet offensively.

Anisimov, although a decent offensive player, was someone who was easily knocked off the puck and was not noticeable in every single game. Again, he was not a bad player but is someone who still has things to work on.

When it comes to Erixon, there is no doubt that he is a good, young defenseman but the Rangers already have a good stock of those. As such, Erixon became expendable.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brandon+dubinsky, columbus+blue+jackets, glen+sather, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, tim+erixon

Scoring, Scoring, and Scoring

Looking at the team that just won the Stanley Cup, the Los Angeles Kings, it was easy to see why they won hockey’s Holy Grail.

They got great goaltending with Jonathan Quick, got timely goal scoring up and down the lineup and played terrific defense. This is what teams in hockey need to do to win and the Kings did it to a “T”.

Looking at the New York Rangers, the team has two of the above mentioned three characteristics it takes to win a Cup. In goal, the Blueshirts have perhaps the best netminder in all of hockey with Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes. The “King” was brilliant this year and whenever he was in net, the Rangers always had a chance to win a hockey game.

The Rangers’ defense was also outstanding. They block a lot of shots, they break up a lot of plays, they know when to join the rush and they do a good job of protecting Lundqvist.

However, when it comes down to it, the team just did not and does not have the scoring that was needed to win in the postseason. Marian Gaborik scored 41 goals in the regular season but in the postseason, was quiet on the offensive side. For now, we will just say it was that way because was hurt.

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  Tags: brad+richards, chris+kreider, derel+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, los+angeles+kings, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, zach+parise

It Finally Happened

That’s right folks. New York Rangers’ forward Marian Gaborik has “finally” gotten significantly injured as a member of the Blueshirts as we all found out today that he will need to have surgery on his rotator cuff and could miss up to six months.

This might explain why Gaborik struggled during the postseason this year. Gaborik admitted that he got hurt in Game 3 of the first round of the Ottawa Senators but he just tried to take care of it and play through it.

“I think it was Game 3 [vs. Ottawa],” he said when asked if he knew when the injury occurred. “I went into the boards behind the net shoulder-first. I think it was Game 3 or Game 4. I just tried to take care of it as much as I could.

“I don’t try to think about it. I try to play according to the situation. I don’t want to make excuses.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, this means that they will be without their 41-goal-scorer until at least sometime in December. For a team that struggled to score goals during the regular season this past year, this could end up hurting the the team a bit, even though Gaborik said he is going to try and return as soon as he can.

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, rick+nash, zach+parise

Questions Heading into the Off-Season

With the New York Rangers’ season ending Game 6 loss to the New Jersey Devils now a few days behind us, I wanted to ask you guys a few questions:

1) Why do you think the Blueshirts failed to get to the next level this postseason?

2) What do you think happened to Marian Gaborik during the playoffs this year? Why did he stop scoring after scoring 41 goals in the regular season?

3) To get better for next season, what do the Rangers have to address this off-season?

4) Can you envision current New Jersey Devils’ forward Zach Parise being a Ranger next season? Why or why not?

5) While Rangers’ defenseman Michael Del Zotto certainly had a solid regular season offensively, what can/should he do to improve defensively?

Please leave your comments in this thread and thanks in advance for thinking about these questions.

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  Tags: marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, zach+parise

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

Time to Go Off Script

For the New York Rangers, this postseason has been a story of deja vu.

There have been many similarities in each round from the number of games played, to the goal scorers in each game as well as the general outcome of each tilt. While this is certainly interesting, it is time for the Blueshirts to go off script.

In each series, the Rangers have taken a 2-1 series lead into Game 4 only to lose both times to the Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals, respectively. In fact, only once in this whole postseason have the Rangers been able to win two straight games and that was back in Games 6 and 7 of their first round series against the Senators.

The Blueshirts are coming off a game in which they were badly outplayed by the New Jersey Devils, except for a portion of the third period when they got two quick goals from Dan Girardi and Chris Kreider. Luckily, the team got a terrific 36-save performance from their goaltender Henrik Lundqvist as he made extremely timely saves against the likes of Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, Travis Zajac, Adam Henrique and others.

The Rangers were also very lucky that the goal posts were on their side on Saturday afternoon. The Devils hit four of them and had at least one gone in, it could have been a much different hockey game.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, adam+henrique, brad+richards, chris+kreider, dan+girardi, henrik+lundqvist, ilya+kovalchuk, marian+gaborik, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, travis+zajac, washington+capitals, zach+parise

Heads or Tails?

That is what this Eastern Conference Finals series is between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils because picking which team will advance to the Stanley Cup Final is like flipping a coin.

On one side, you have the No. 1 seed Blueshirts. These Rangers work hard, block a lot of shots, play physical, get great goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist and yet, have not been able to take control of a series for three straight rounds.

On the other side, you have the No. 6 seed Devils. These Devils have speed, know how to put a net front presence in front of Lundqvist, have many two-way players, and have a future hall of fame netminder in Martin Brodeur.

This is why it makes perfect sense that heading into this afternoon’s Game 3 at the Prudential Center, this series is tied up. In Game 1, the Blueshirts rode a three goal third period and the perfect goaltending of Lundqvist to a 3—0 shutout. In Game 2, the Devils fought hard all game long, used deflections to beat Lundqvist and got great goaltending from Brodeur.

For the Rangers to win this game, a number of things need to happen. For starters, the Blueshirts need offense. Guys like Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, and Ryan Callahan need to start scoring like they did in the regular season.

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Rangers Fail To Take Control for Third Straight Round

This is starting to become a familiar story for the New York Rangers in this postseason as the team finds themselves tied with their opponent after two games for the third straight round.

This opponent, the New Jersey Devils, went into Madison Square Garden and played a solid road game in earning a 3-2 victory to even up the series. The Devils got timely goal scoring, got another good game from their goaltender Martin Brodeur and did a good job of closing the door late in the third period to get the big victory.

For the Blueshirts, this was once again a game that they could have won. Rangers’ rookie Chris Kreider scored his fourth goal of the playoffs on a power play that gave the Rangers’ a 2-1 lead with just over 8 minutes left to go in the second period.

With the way Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist has been playing this postseason, one might think that would be enough to get the Rangers a victory and a 2-0 series lead. That did not happen as the Devils’ scored with just over two minutes to go in the second period to tie it (deflection by Ryan Carter) and a goal 2:31 in the third period (David Clarkson) to get a lead they would never relinquish.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, chris+kreider, david+clarkson, henrik+lundqvist, jim+cerny, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ryan+carter

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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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

Late Penalty Hurts Blueshirts Again in Game 4 Loss to Capitals

Much like it did in Game 2 at Madison Square Garden, a late penalty taken by the New York Rangers turned into the game-winning goal for the Washington Capitals in a 3-2 win in Game 4 at the Verizon Center.

This time, the culprit for the Blueshirts was Carl Hagelin. Hagelin took a two minute slashing penalty and Capitals’ defenseman Mike Green took advantage and ripped a slap shot past Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

For the Rangers, this game was a tale of two different teams. On one side, the Rangers’ played like a team that would rely on its goaltender Lundqvist to make timely save after timely save as well as a team that had no offense to supply.

On the other side, the Rangers played like a club that was willing to go to the net, get goals from the dirty areas and play disciplined hockey. Unfortunately for the Rangers, neither of these teams prevailed as the series will now head back to the Garden for Game 5 tied at two games apiece.

On the bright side, the team got a great performance from Artem Anisimov. Anisimov, who had been quiet for much of these playoffs, picked-up a goal and an assist and was more than present in this hockey game.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, artem+anisimov, carl+hagelin, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, mike+green, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, washington+capitals

Keep Pushing Through

This is exactly what the New York Rangers need to continue to do as they prepare for this afternoon’s Game 4 against the Washington Capitals.

Just three days ago, the Blueshirts pulled off a triple overtime win on a goal by Marian Gaborik. It was a goal that Gaborik needed to score, which will hopefully get him going, and it was a win the Rangers needed to prove to themselves that they could win at the Verizon Center in the playoffs after struggling to do so since Game 2 in April of 2009.

While the Rangers were able to come away with a big win in Game 3, that does not mean that they can take this afternoon off. It may not seem like it to some of you but believe it or not, this series is similar to the team’s opening round series against the Ottawa Senators. Like the first round, the Rangers split their first two games with the Capitals in this round and like in Game 3 against the Senators, the Rangers were able to come away with a victory against the Capitals in Game 3.

With that in mind, the Rangers need to take advantage of the 2-1 series lead they have now and use it to get a 3-1 series lead after this afternoon’s game. Of course, one can point out that the Rangers blew a 3-1 series lead in 2009 but this is a much different Rangers’ hockey club than the one that was on the ice three years ago.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, artem+anisimov, brad+richards, brian+boyle, carl+hagelin, chris+kreider, derek+stepan, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, ruslan+fedotenko, ryan+callahan, washington+capitals

Gaborik Comes Through in Triple OT

There was no doubt that going into last night’s Game 3 between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center, Blueshirts’ 41-goal scorer Marian Gaborik was having trouble putting the puck in the net.

Well, that changed last night and did so in very dramatic fashion. Gaborik scored a goal in the third overtime off a nice feed from Brad Richards to give his hockey club the 2-1 victory and a 2-1 series lead.

For the Blueshirts, it was their first triple overtime win since 1971 when they defeated the Chicago Blackhawks at Madison Square Garden on a goal by Pete Stemkowski. The win also marked the Rangers’ first victory at the Verizon Center in the playoffs since Game 2 of 2009.

This was a game that could have gone either way. Both teams certainly played well enough to win but because Gaborik was able to come through and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was able to make one more save than Capitals’ netminder Braden Holtby, the result turned out to be in favor of the Rangers.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, brad+richards, braden+holtby, chicago+blackhawks, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, pete+stemkowski, washington+capitals

Rangers Come Up Short

That is what the New York Rangers did tonight in their 3-2 Game 2 loss of the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden.

After battling back from a 2-1 deficit on a goal by Ryan Callahan, Capitals’ team captain Alex Ovechkin scored the game winner on a power play with less than 8 minutes to go. The power play was a result of a holding penalty taken by Rangers’ forward Brad Richards.

With the win, the Capitals were able to even up the series at one game apiece as both teams will now prepare for Wednesday night’s Game 3 at the Verizon Center. The Rangers do not exactly have to go back to the drawing board but they must find more ways to make life difficult for Capitals’ goaltender Braden Holtby.

To beat Holtby, the Rangers need to do a better job of driving to the net and creating traffic in front of the net. On the first goal of the game, Richards drove to the net and was able to put a Marian Gaborik feed into an empty net. On the second goal, Rangers’ defenseman Michael Del Zotto’s shot from the point was redirected by Ryan Callahan a few feet outside the crease before getting by Holtby.

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Focusing on Round 2

The New York Rangers will be doing just that tomorrow afternoon at Madison Square Garden as the team begins its second round series against the Washington Capitals.

For the Blueshirts, this playoff match-up has no surprises. The two teams met in both the 2009 and 2011 postseason and both times, the Capitals came away with the series victory.

The main difference is the seeding of these two clubs. The Rangers finished in the top spot in the Eastern Conference while the Capitals took the seventh seed.

For the Rangers to be successful in this series, the team will need to once again play “Ranger hockey”. The club will need to be all over the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Brooks Laich. As such, the Blueshirts should be prepared to block a ton of shots this series.

On the other side, the Rangers’ big offensive players need to step up and produce. Marian Gaborik really needs to start scoring some goals while others like Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider must continue to find ways to generate offense.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, alex+ovechkin, alexander+semin, brad+richards, braden+holtby, brooks+laich, chris+kreider, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, nicklas+backstrom, ottawa+senators, ryan+callahan, washington+capitals

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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Rangers Play Their Game to Extend Series to 7

When the New York Rangers play within themselves and play their style of hockey, they are an extremely tough team to beat.

The Blueshirts proved that tonight by beating the Ottawa Senators by a score of 3-2 in Game 6 to tie the series up at three apiece. The two teams will have two days off before meeting on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden for a Game 7.

The Rangers played the game the right way tonight and the way that they played all season long. They were able to capitalize on their power play opportunities, got good performances from the likes of Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider and were able to hold onto a two-goal third period lead. These are the things that made the Rangers successful in the regular season and proved tonight by playing this style of hockey, they can win games when they need to and when it counts.

There is a lot to be said about the play of Kreider. Kreider came to the Blueshirts after winning a National Championship with Boston College and has done nothing but stay in the lineup and show that he can play in the NHL.

Tonight, Kreider picked-up his first career Stanley Cup Playoff goal, a game-winning goal, in an extremely meaningful game. For the Blueshirts, tonight’s tilt was a do or die situation and Kreider came through looking like a veteran rather thank a rookie playing in just his fourth NHL/playoff game.

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Rangers In Serious Trouble After Being Shutout in Game 5

Being that the New York Rangers were shutout 2-0 tonight by Craig Anderson and the Ottawa Senators in Game 5, that could be the understatement of the season.

The Rangers did a much better job tonight of getting pucks on net and crashing for rebounds but Anderson turned away all 41 shots that were thrown at him for his second career shutout. The Rangers are now just one loss away from elimination in what would be an extremely disappointing end to the Blueshirts’ season.

It is clear that the Blueshirts are struggling to score goals when it matters in this series. While Brad Richards had more than a handful of shots on goal, he was not able to put the puck in the net when the team needed him the most. Guys like Marian Gaborik, Derek Stepan, Ruslan Fedotenko, and Brandon Dubinsky were all kept quiet and for a team that needs other players to step up and score goals, that is not a good thing.

The team’s power play also struggled tonight. While this is nothing new for the Rangers, the team’s power play was given a chance to succeed late in the third period but the club failed to generate a quality scoring chance and were not able to tie the game up and finished 0-4 on the night.

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Just Win

When it comes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the only thing that matters is winning hockey games.

It does not matter how you do it, if it was ugly or easy or if you were outplayed. The only thing that matters is subtracting from that number 16.

Tonight, the Rangers will look to cut their number to 13 as they get set to take on the Ottawa Senators in Game 4 tonight at Scotiabank Place. Should the Blueshirts win tonight, they will be able to close out the series in Game 5 on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

With Blueshirts’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist in the zone, the team will need to find a way to provide more offensive support for their superstar netminder. The “King” had to be perfect on Monday and the team was lucky he was as they scored just one goal (Brian Boyle) the entire game.

Players like Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan and Brandon Dubinsky need to start producing. These guys were shut down by the Senators in Game 3 and have been quiet since their performances in Game 1.

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Rangers Look for Game 1 Success to Carry Over into Game 2

Given the way that they played Game 1, the New York Rangers have every reason to come into tonight’s Game 2 with the Ottawa Senators in a very cocky manner.

However, that would not be this year’s team style. Throughout the regular season, the Blueshirts never let themselves get too high or too low and because of that attitude, it allowed them to stay focused on the task at hand.

Tonight’s task for the Rangers will be to play the same exact way they did in Game 1. This means getting good goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, getting big goals from their goal scorers in Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, getting secondary offense from their depth players and playing disciplined.

On the other hand, there are some things that the Rangers could probably do better in tonight’s game. For starters, they need to generate more scoring opportunities on the power play. As most Rangers’ fans know, the team’s power play was inconsistent (that might be an understatement) throughout the regular season and often killed any momentum that they had until they started to click down the stretch. Special teams play is crucial in the postseason so the Rangers need to take advantage of any such chances they get this playoff season.

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Rangers’ Offense Comes Up Big in Game 1 Win

Coming into the series between the New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators, no one really knew what to expect except for what was on paper.

In Game 1 tonight at Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers showed their fans and the league why they finished where they did in defeating the Ottawa Senators by a score of 4-2. For a Senators team that had dominated the Blueshirts at MSG the last few seasons, this was a nice change for Blueshirts’ fans.

There are several reasons why the Rangers won tonight’s game. For starters, the team got goals from players that are supposed to score goals. Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik, and Brad Richards all scored for the Blueshirts while the team also got a goal from hard-working forward Brian Boyle.

The team’s defense was also terrific for the Rangers’ tonight. As expected, the team came out and blocked a lot of shots, broke up a lot of passes, and let their goaltender Henrik Lundqvist see the puck.

Speaking of Lundqvist, he was solid in making 30 saves on 32 Senators’ shots. There is no doubt that he kept the team in the lead at 1-0 in the first 10 minutes of the second period and in general, made the big saves when the team needed him to do so.

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So It Begins

Well folks, it is finally here. The New York Rangers embark on their playoff journey tonight as they get set to take on the Ottawa Senators in Game 1 at Madison Square Garden.

A lot has been said and debated regarding this series and for now, it is time to put that all aside. Believe it or not, what was said means absolutely nothing because as fans, you do not and cannot control what will go on the ice in this series.

While this series looks easy for the Blueshirts based on the regular season standings, it will not be such once it begins. Remember, the Senators won the regular season series 3-1 and while it may mean nothing now, there is no doubt that the Senators have a history of giving the Blueshirts trouble.

The Senators know how to put the puck in the net. With players like Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Erik Karlsson, there is no doubt that the Senators will be able to generate some offense on Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist.

With that said, the Blueshirts know how to play defense. They block shots, they play the body, they know how to move the puck out of the zone and were third in the league in goals against.

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Top Spot in the Division and Conference

That is what the 2011-12 New York Rangers are in terms of the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference this season.

With their 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers last night, the Blueshirts clinched the top spot in both their division and conference for the first time since 1994. Yes, we all know what happened that year but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The Blueshirts jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first period last night and never really looked back. Sure, they allowed the Flyers to score 3 goals and yes, Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist certainly had to come up big but for the most part, this game was won in the first period.

The team got solid performances from Marian Gaborik (1 goal and 1 assist), Ryan McDonagh (1 goal and 1 assist), Brad Richards (2 assists) and Lundqvist (37 saves on 40 shots). The other usual suspects such as Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, and Brian Boyle also put forth solid efforts in the clinching victory.

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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

Finding Ways to Win

That has been the story for the New York Rangers all season long and has led them to the top spot not only in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, but also in the entire National Hockey League.

The Blueshirts proved once again last night that they can find ways to win without having their best stuff in a 4-3 shootout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. It certainly was not their prettiest game but it was one in which they picked-up two more points to stay ahead of the charging Pittsburgh Penguins in the division and Conference.

Last night, the Blueshirts got a great performance from their leading scorer Marian Gaborik. Gaborik scored two goals (36 and 37) and was dominant offensively for his hockey club.

The team also got another solid performance out of Brad Richards. Richards picked-up two assists and also set up Gaborik’s terrific second goal of the game.

Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist made enough saves to give his team a chance to win a hockey game. He was not at his best and once again allowed three goals but made some great saves late in the third period and in the shootout to pick-up his 35th victory of the season.

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Looking to Close Out the Homestand with a Win Against the Sabres

Prior to the 7-game homestand, the New York Rangers knew that it would be a great opportunity to really establish home ice before the postseason and pick-up some points to help build on their Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference standings lead.

In six games so far, the Blueshirts have gone 4-2. The team has beat the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings while losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Colorado Avalanche.

Tonight’s game between the Rangers and Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden is an important one for both clubs. For the Rangers, it is an opportunity to go back to being three points ahead of the Penguins as the Penguins beat the Nashville Predators last night by a score of 5-1.

For the Sabres, it is an opportunity to get two huge points to put them in the top eight in the Eastern Conference. The Sabres have been playing playoff hockey for the last month or so and have really turned their season around after a rough few months and after last night’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Penguins, the Sabres can move into the eighth spot over the Washington Capitals with a win.

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Step It Up

The New York Rangers need to do that with their play tonight against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden.

After all the hockey action this weekend, the Rangers are just now one point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Atlantic Division- and Eastern Conference- lead. Oh yeah, the Philadelphia Flyers are not playing too badly either as they are now just three points behind the Blueshirts.

The Blueshirts are coming off a 3-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche over the weekend. The team fired 42 shots at Avalanche netminder Semyon Varlamov but Varly was tremendous in turning aside 41 of them.

With that said, and it has been mentioned before, this Rangers’ team needs more offense. Right now, the only line that is producing is the Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards and Carl Hagelin line. Other than that trio, the offense has been extremely quiet.

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Get it Back

The New York Rangers need to find a way to get back their consistent hockey and a win tonight against the Colorado Avalanche would be a great start.

The Blueshirts are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was a game that with fewer defensive lapses and more offense from players other than Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, and Carl Hagelin, the team could have come away with a win.

With that said, this is an extremely inconsistent hockey club right. The club’s goals against has gone up, there seems to be more holes in the defensive zone and the team is having trouble generating offense from three of its four lines.

Due to these past few weeks, the Rangers find themselves just four points up on the Penguins in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. Now that Crosby is back for the Penguins and with the team riding a 10-game winning streak, the race might become that much tighter down the stretch.

Tonight, the Rangers will face an Avalanche hockey club that is currently in a battle to hold onto one of the last playoff spots in the Western Conference. The team has been playing playoff hockey for the last few months and is 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.

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  Tags: brad+richards, carl+hagelin, colorado+avalanche, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan

Blueshirts Overpowered by the Penguins in 5-2 loss

Going into the game without starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, defenseman Michael Del Zotto and team captain Ryan Callahan, one knew tonight’s game against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden was going to be tough for the New York Rangers.

It was certainly tough for the Blueshirts as the team lost by a score of 5-2. The club did not have the depth to match what the Penguins were throwing out on the ice and unfortunately, it hurt them in the end.

Pittsburgh Penguins’ captain and arguably the best hockey player in the world, Sidney Crosby, had himself a solid first game back. Crosby picked-up an assist, was a +3 and had 16:00 minutes of ice time. He was also smart enough not to put himself into dangerous areas as to avoid getting hit too hard or being too vulnerable.

The Rangers were not terrible tonight but they certainly were not great. Defensive lapses early on in the second period really hurt the club as the Penguins were able to score two goals with the first 2:30 of the frame to go up by a score of 3-1.

The Blueshirts were able to cut the lead to 3-2 on a goal by Marian Gaborik but that would be the last time the team would find the back of the net tonight.

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  Tags: and+buffalo+sabres., brad+richards, carl+hagelin, colorado+avalanche, detroit+red+wings, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan, sidney+crosby

One to Remember?/UPDATE: Biron to Start Tonight for Blueshirts

UPDATE: According to Dave Lozo at NHL.com, Rangers’ back-up netminder Martin Biron will be starting tonight against Crosby and the Penguins as Henrik Lundqvist is still recovering from the flu.

“I was hoping to play tonight, but being off the ice for three days, I had a feeling it might be tough to be game-ready right away,” said Lundqvist, who took part in the team’s morning practice but won’t dress for the game. “There’s no health issue. It’s just sitting at home doing nothing. Just laying in bed for two days doesn’t really help.”

FROM EARLIER


This is what many hockey folks are wondering when it comes to tonight’s tilt between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden.

For starters, it is both a divisional- and conference- battle. The Blueshirts currently hold a six point lead over the Penguins as the top spot in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

On the other side, the Penguins have won nine straight games. Their team is getting contributions up and down the lineup and have done so without their team captain and arguably the best player in the world today, Sidney Crosby.

That brings us to our next point. Tonight’s tilt marks the return of No.87 to the Penguins’ lineup. Rangers’ fans have made it well known how they feel about Crosby and as such, will more than likely be all over him throughout tonight’s game.

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  Tags: brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

Gaborik-Richards-Hagelin Line Gets it Done in Win Over Hurricanes

When it comes to the National Hockey League, there have been many get trios when it comes to offensive lines.

While they may not be considered great right now, the New York Rangers’ line of Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, and Carl Hagelin sure got it done for their hockey club tonight in the team’s 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden.

The trio combined for a terrific 9 points. Richards, who looks like a brand new player out there, had two goals and three assists. After tonight’s tilt, Richards has 23 goals and 30 assists for 53 points, good for second on the club.

Gaborik, who continues to contribute to the Rangers’ offense on a nightly basis, had a goal and two assists. With his three point performance, Gaborik now has 34 goals (3rd in the league) and 30 assists for 64 points, good for tops on the team.

Hagelin, the rookie, is showing just what kind of offensive ability he has by playing with two of the team’s top two forwards. Hagelin picked up a goal and two assists and now has 32 points (13 goals and 20 assists).

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  Tags: brad+richards, cam+ward, carl+hagelin, carolina+hurricanes, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins

UPDATE: Biron to start tonight/Focus on the Now

UPDATE: According to Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants, New York Rangers’ back-up goaltender Martin Biron will start tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes while starter Henrik Lundqvist is out with the flu.

From Earlier

This is what the New York Rangers need to do when it comes to tonight’s game with the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden.

It would be very easy for the Blueshirts to simply forget about tonight and turn their attention to Thursday night’s tilt with the Pittsburgh Penguins. With Sidney Crosby announcing that he will definitely be in the lineup for that game, it would be even easier to do so.

With that said, the team must continue to take things one game at a time. The Rangers are coming off a 4-3 overtime win over the New York Islanders on Sunday night and hopefully, will use it as a start of another winning streak.

In order to get back on the winning track, Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist needs to find the consistency that has made the league’s top goaltender this year. Lundqvist has allowed 13 goals in his last four games, something that I am sure lundqvist will try and remedy quickly.

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  Tags: brad+richards, carolina+hurricanes, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

A Win is a Win

That is exactly what can be said of last night’s 4-3 overtime win by the New York Rangers over the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden.

While the Rangers were/are on top of both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, last night’s game was one that the Rangers needed to get two points in order to distance themselves from the Pittsburgh Penguins, who visit the Rangers and MSG on Thursday. The team was able to do so by getting big performances from their two big offensive players in Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik.

Richards had three points last night on two goals (his 20th and 21st of the season) and an assist. His goals are the perfect example of what happens when you put the puck on net and what he can do with the puck.

Gaborik’s 33rd goal of the season came when the Rangers needed it the most and that was in overtime. It was his seventh game winning goal of the season and one that helped the Blueshirts get back on the winning track.

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  Tags: brad+richards, carolina+hurricanes, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins

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

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