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Goal Line Report

Entries with the tag: minnesota wild

Just Win Hockey Games

With the Minnesota Wild out of the Western Conference playoff hunt, the New York Rangers will look to go “wild” in Minnesota tonight and pick-up the two points that they need to keep pace in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

With no signs of slowing down, the Pittsburgh Penguins look like the team to beat in the NHL right now. They are just one point behind the Blueshirts for first in the division and conference and their next two games are against the New York Islanders.

Meanwhile, the Rangers are coming off a 4-3 shootout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The win helped the Rangers get over the 100-point mark for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

According to Andrew Gross of The Record, Rangers’ starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will make his sixth straight start. Lundqvist has not looked like himself between the pipes over the last few weeks so it is important that team head coach John Tortorella gives him a chance to get his game in order before the postseason begins.

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  Tags: andrew+gross, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, minnesota+wild, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, the+record, toronto+maple+leafs

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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  Tags: brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, st.+louis+blues, toronto+maple+leafs, winnipeg+jets

Not the Right Fit

This is exactly what could be said of former New York Rangers’ forward Erik Christensen.

There is no doubt that Christensen had a lot of offensive potential. He is a great passer, solid in the shootout and has good vision.

With that said, Christensen never used the above-mentioned talents on a consistent basis. When he was not hurt, Christensen often found himself in head coach John Tortorella’s dog house and rightly so, since his play never fit into the team’s identity.

May be Christensen will be given a fair chance with the Minnesota Wild or may be he will continue to not do the things that made him an NHLer in the first place. The choice is really his.

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  Tags: erik+christensen, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers

Getting It Done in Minnesota

That is what both the organization and its fans are going two months into the season.

The Minnesota Wild currently find themselves tied for first in the Western Conference with the Chicago Blackhawks as both clubs have 31 points (As of this writing…November 29, 2011). With a new head coach and a few new faces in the lineup, this definitely was not expected in Minnesota.

With that said, however, it is easy to see why the team has been successful so far. The team has shown offensive depth, has fed into new head coach Mike Yeo’s system and is getting excellent goaltending from its tandem of Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding.

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  Tags: dany+heatley, devin+setoguchi, jacques+lemaire, josh+harding, matt+cullen, mike+yeo, mikko+koivu, minnesota+wild, niklas+backstrom, pierre-marc+bouchard, todd+richards

Rangers Win By Playing Rangers’ hockey

In today’s 7-0 white-washing of the Philadelphia Flyers, the New York Rangers won by playing the kind of hockey that made them so successful earlier on in the season.

They forechecked, they hit, they blocked shots, they allowed their goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to see the puck, they cleared rebounds and they got timely goal scoring. Normally, this is a good recipe of success for any team in the NHL but for the ost part, this has been a big part of the Rangers’ identity when they have won games this season.

This afternoon’s Ranger of the game was easily Ryan Callahan. Callahan picked up his first career hat trick en route to a 4-goal and 5-point game for the Blueshirts. He drove hard to the net, used his quick release to beat Flyers’ netminder Brian Boucher and with his hard work, managed to crack the 20-goal mark.

The team also got solid performances out of Vaclav Prospal (2 assists), Mats Zuccarello (2 goals), Artem Anisimov (1 goal and 1 assist) and Lundqvist (24) saves, who picked up his league-leading ninth shutout of the season.

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, artem+anisimov, brian+boucher, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, henrik+lundqvist, mats+zuccarello, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan, san+jose+sharks, tampa+bay+lightning, vaclav+prospal

WIN - Nothing Else Matters

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

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

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

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

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

Rangers Set for Minnesota Wild

Once again, the New York Rangers head into tonight’s game with the Minnesota Wild at Madison Square Garden needing to come away with two points in order to separate themselves from the eighth and ninth seed in the Eastern Conference standings.

Unfortunately for the Blueshirts, both of those teams, the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres, play each other tonight so no matter what, someone is going to come away with two points and inch close to the Rangers. With that said, if the Blueshirts can come away with two points themselves, they will certainly be in better position and have a bit of insurance.

The Rangers need to come out and set the tone early. They need to throw the puck on net, finish their chances, protect the lead if they get one and do everything they possibly can to win a hockey game because if they cannot, they could be in trouble when they take on the Ottawa Senators tomorrow night in Ottawa and the Philadelphia Flyers at home on Sunday afternoon.

For the Rangers, it will be important that players such as Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Wojtek Wolski, Mats Zuccarello, Artem Anisimov, Brian Boyle and Vinny Prospal step up offensively. With Marian Gaborik still expected to be out of the lineup, these seem to be the guys that can put the puck in the net. Now, they need to do it on a consistent basis.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brandon+dubinsky, brian+boyle, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, mats+zuccarello, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan, vinny+prospal

Things Getting Tighter and Tighter for the Blueshirts

Last night’s 3-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres was a game that the New York Rangers had to have. Unfortunately, the team’s inability to finish hurt their chances of doing just that and as result, making things tighter and tighter for them as the team heads down the stretch.

Mats Zuccarello had a chance to tie hockey game with just under two minutes to go when Wojtek Wolski deflected a puck to the slot to Zuccarello. Zuccarello took it in all alone on Sabres’ netminder Ryan Miller only to be stopped by Miller’s glove. Had Zuccarello been able to lift it a bit higher, the game surely would have gone into overtime where anything could have happened.

The Blueshirts had the puck in the slot numerous amount of times in the third period but Miller was either able to make the save or be lucky enough to have one of his defenseman block it or have the Rangers miss the net. All in all, Miller made 29 saves in helping his team get to within three points of the Rangers in the Eastern Conference standings.

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  Tags: buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers, mats+zuccarello, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers, ryan+miller, wojtek+wolski

Rangers With Great Response in Minnesota

After losing to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night, the New York Rangers were an entirely different hockey club on Saturday night in their 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.

It was a 60-minute effort that saw timely goal scoring, solid defensive play and a good game from back-up netminder Martin Biron (25 saves). None of these things were present in Colorado on Friday night.

The Blueshirts got goals from Arterm Anisimov, Michael Del Zotto, Alex Frolov, Brandon Dubinsky, and Ruslan Fedotenko en route to the team’s seventh road victory (7-3).

Many fans were probably surprised that Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella went with Biron in goal, especially since Henrik Lundqvist only played a little more than half the game in Colorado on Friday night. However, Tortorella made the right decision in starting the back-up netminder and Biron responded by picking up his fourth victory of the season (4-2-0, 2.33 goals against average, .907 save percentage).

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  Tags: alex+frolov, artem+anisimov, brandon+dubinsky, calgary+flames, derek+boogaard, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, michael+del+zotto, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers, ruslan+fedotenko

Defense and Suspect Goaltending Hurt Rangers in Loss to Avalanche

In hockey, it’s a well known fact that turnovers often lead to offensive opportunities against.

Unfortunately for the New York Rangers, defensive turnovers did them in last night in a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Not only did defensive turnovers hurt the club, but so did the goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist (3 goals allowed on 16 shots) and Martin Biron (2 goals allowed on 10 shots).

It was a game in which despite being tied in shots, the Rangers looked overmatched. Their forwards had trouble putting the puck in the net on Avalanche netminder Craig Anderson. The team’s defense was sloopy with the puck and in their own zone and the goaltending was not there to cover up the team’s mistakes.

One particular player that had a tough game was defenseman Michael Del Zotto. Del Zotto was a -4 and his pinching in the Avalanche zone in the second period led to the first goal of the game and ultimately, was the start of a horrific period for the Blueshirts.

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  Tags: colorado+avalanche, craig+anderson, detroit+red+wings, henrik+lundqvist, martin+biron, michael+del+zotto, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers

Getting Set for Two-games Against Northwest Division

Two games on the road might be just what the New York Rangers need to start another multi-game winning streak.

Tonight, the Blueshirts will take on the Colorado Avalanche. If you remember, Marian Gaborik recorded a hat trick last year in the leading his club to a win. With the way Gaborik is finding the net now, is another three-goal game out of the question?

The Avalanche possess a good, young, and fast hockey club that is coming off a big win against the San Jose Sharks that saw them rally from two goals to win it in overtime. They’ve been playing solid hockey for a team without starting netminder Craig Anderson.

Unfortunately, the Rangers generally struggle against teams that bring a lot of speed so it will be interesting to see how head coach John Tortorella plans to counter that. Obviously, defensemen Marc Staal and Dan Girardi will continue to be the club’s shut-down defensive pairing with Michal Rozsival still out with an injury.

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  Tags: colorado+avalanche, craig+anderson, dan+girardi, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marc+staal, michal+rozsival, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers

Upcoming E-mail Interviews

Good afternoon folks. Is everyone pumped up for this afternoon’s/tonight’s playoff games? I am certainly looking forward to all the Conference Finals action and will be curious to see how everything unfolds.

I just wanted to let you folks know that my next two e-mail interviews will be with Buddy Oakes of PredsOnTheGlass, the terrific Nashville Predators/hockey web site, and Michael Russo, the Minnesota Wild Beat writer for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

I love doing these e-mail interviews so let me know if there is anyone that you folks would like me to try and get.

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  Tags: minnesota+wild, nashville+predators

Will he or Won’t He?

That is the question on every New York Ranger fans mind when it comes to the status of Marian Gaborik tonight as his team gets set to take on his former team, the Minnesota Wild.

As you all know, Gaborik was out of the lineup on Wednesday night against the Islanders and it certainly showed as the Rangers had trouble putting the puck in the net. Against a struggling Wild team (only 6 points this season), may be the team will find a way to put more pucks in the net but remember, most of us thought that on Wednesday night as well.

According to Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants yesterday, Gaborik sounded doubtful about playing tonight against the team that broke him in in the National Hockey League:

Marian Gaborik certainly didn’t sound hopeful today that he’d be able to play tomorrow night, which would ruin his homecoming to Minnesota. The short version: He’s going to make the trip, he’s still sore, he lists himself as day to day, he’ll try to skate tomorrow morning and see how he feels, he won’t try to rush himself back and put himself at further risk for injury.

Still not definitive word on what his injury his but there seems little disputing that it’s a right leg issue. Gaborik had some ink marks just above his right knee, indicating perhaps a thigh or a hamstring problem. His right knee was not wrapped but it could be a knee issue. Gaborik said he was hurt in a collision in front of the net, not along the boards as first believed, and he played a shift after hurting himself. He initially thought the injury was worse.

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  Tags: marian+gaborik, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers

Grading the Blueshirts on July 1

If I had to grade New York Rangers General Manager Glen Sather on yesterday’s performance on the first day of free-agency, I would have to give him an incomplete. Yes, he signed two players and yes, one of them has a lot of potential to succeed on Broadway but we’ve all seen Sather do stuff like this before and nothing ever come to fruition.

Signing Marian Gaborik was extremely risky. On one hand, Sather managed to sign an offensive superstar who has scored 30-or-more goals in five of his eight seasons, including a career-high 42 in the 2006-07 season. He totaled 437 points in 502 career games, all with the Minnesota Wild, and he’s just 27 years old. If these were the only things that Ranger fans knew about him, there’d be no problems and even Sather thinks that the team improved with this signing.

“Gaborik is an exciting guy to watch play,” Sather told Jim Cerny of NewYorkRangers.com. “He can skate, and he does a lot of great things. He’s a great player, and he’s young. I certainly think he’s in the top ten in this league.”

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  Tags: donald+brashear, free+agents, glen+sather, marian+gaborik, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers, washington+capitals

Bergeron Undergoes Back Surgery

From TSN.ca:

The Minnesota Wild say defenceman Marc-Andre Bergeron’s back surgery was a success.

Bergeron had the surgery Tuesday to address what the team called a “disc issue.” He is scheduled to begin a rehabilitation program on Wednesday that will take approximately six to eight weeks.

Click here for more.

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  Tags: marc-andre+bergeron, minnesota+wild

Readers: Thoughts on Coaching and GM Changes

These are two questions that I am posing to all readers:

- Who do you think the next GM and coach of the Colorado Avalanche should be? Why?

- Who do you think the next GM and coach of the Minnesota Wild should be? Why?

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  Tags: colorado+avalanche, minnesota+wild

This Week’s Questions

Much like I did last Friday, I am going to list a few questions related to what’s going on in the hockey world.

Please feel free to post your thoughts on the following questions in the comment section of the blog:

- Will the St. Louis Blues make the playoffs? Why or why not?

- What is happening to the New Jersey Devils? Why are they struggling so much?

- Is this the last hurrah in Minnesota for Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire? If so, where do you think he will end up coaching next? Why?

- Have the Montreal Canadiens finally righted the ship after a dismal February and early March? What have they done differently?

- Does anyone really believe that Philadelphia Flyers’ netminder Martin Biron can lead his club to the Stanley Cup?

- Are the Chicago Blackhawks good enough to make a deep run in the playoffs?

- Do the Detroit Red Wings have good enough goaltending to get them back to the Stanley Cup Finals?

Let’s hear your thoughts!

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, detroit+red+wings, jacques+lemaire, martin+biron, minnesota+wild, montreal+canadiens, new+jersey+devils, philadelphia+flyers, st.+louis+blues

Big Two Points Up For Grabs in Atlanta

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

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

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

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

Two Out Of Four Ain’t Bad

Going into this weekend, all the New York Rangers were focused on was their game. They weren’t focused on who was in front of them, behind them or looking a few games down the road. The team was focused on the here and now.

Their intense focus certainly showed last night at the Garden as the team beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-3. Tonight’s game, against the Ottawa Senators, on the other hand, ended in a 2-1 loss, which means that the team remains in the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference.

While four points would have been great, the team should be satisfied with their play this weekend. They put pucks to the net, used their speed well, did a great job killing penalties (now first in the league) and were competitive in both games. Some other notes from the weekend:

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  Tags: buffalo+sabres, eastern+conference, jim+schoenfeld, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers, nikolai+zherdev, ottawa+senators, ryan+callahan, wade+redden

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