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Goal Line Report

Entries with the tag: new jersey devils

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seeding On the Line for the Blueshirts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Glass Half Full Look at the Blueshirts

When it comes to New York Rangers' fans and the way they view their favorite hockey club, it is always an extreme point of view.

Either fans are in love and ecstatic about their hockey club or they absolutely despise and are fed up with their so called favorite NHL team. There is never a middle ground.

With two games remaining and just one win needed to clinch a postseason spot in the ever tight bottom portion of the Eastern Conference standings, it is time for a glass half full look. Believe it or not, there are things to like about this Blueshirts' hockey club.

For starters, the team has perhaps the best goaltender in the NHL in Henrik Lundqvist. For the last month or so, Lundqvist has been the team's best player and his statistics reflect that. 

In 41 games this season, Lundqvist is 22-16-3 with a 2.08 GAA (seventh in the league), a .926 save percentage (fifth in the league) and one shutout. He is always the main reason why when the Rangers' win and night in and night out, he gives his team a chance to win a hockey game.

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  Tags: brad+richards, carolina+hurricanes, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ryan+callahan

Where is the Rangers’ Playoff Team?

That is what New York Rangers' fans must be wondering after watching their favorite team lost to the Florida Panthers by a score of 3-2.

After scoring 18 goals in three games, the Rangers' offense came up one short tonight in Florida. Panthers' goaltender Jacob Markstrom was solid in making 36 saves and him and the rest of his team was able to survive a late Rangers' power play and a late Rangers' goal by Derick Brassard.

Even though the team had 36 shots on goal, many of them were not of the quality variety. To beat a goaltender like Markstrom, a player needs to be patient and look for the holes because when it comes to Markstrom, there is plenty of room to score goals as he came into tonight's game sporting a 3.26 GAA.

One Blueshirts' forward who seemed to struggle tonight was Carl Hagelin. Hagelin seemed lost and took just two shots on goal.

The Rangers' power play was also a let down. With little time remaining in the third period, the Rangers' had the man advantage and just could not generate a quality scoring chance. Come playoff time, assuming the Rangers get in, this kind of play will be unacceptable. 

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  Tags: carl+hagelin, carolina+hurricanes, derick+brassard, florida+panthers, jacob+markstrom, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, washington+capitals, winnipeg+jets

Richards Getting Hot at the Right Time for the Blueshirts

For most of this shortened season, things have not been easy for New York Rangers' forward Brad Richards.

For much of this year, Richards struggled in all areas of game whether it was on offense, on the power play, handling the puck, etc. A few times this season, Rangers' head coach John Tortorella even went as far to bench the Rangers' nine-year man.

With that said, it really is amazing how fast things can change. After picking up a goal and an assist last night in his team's 6-1 win over the Florida Panthers, Richards went out and scored his first career hat trick in helping the Blueshirts crush the Sabres by a score of 8-4.

If you are counting at home, that is four goals and an assist in the last two games. With his three goals tonight, not only is he in double digits, but he is starting to show that he is not afraid to put the puck on net.

In many games prior to these last two, Richards seemed afraid to put the puck on goal. He was clearly snake bitten and looked like he had lost confidence in his ability to put the puck in the net.

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  Tags: brad+richards, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, florida+panthers, john+tortorella, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers

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

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

Rangers Looking to be More Than Solid at The Rock

The last time the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils squared off, the Devils scored in overtime to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, where they would lose in six games to the Los Angeles Kings.

Fast forward close to nine months later and things are very different. Both teams are in the midst of a 48-game schedule, both teams have new faces and both clubs are not quite sure where they fit in just yet in the ever competitive Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference and are meeting tonight at the Prudential Center.

The Blueshirts are coming off a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in what was one of their best performances of the season. The team played tight defense, got the scoring they needed and got a big game out of their back-up goaltender Martin Biron.

The team will look to do the same tonight, this time with different faces in the lineup. For starters, Rangers' highly-touted prospect J.T. Miller was called up from the Connecticut Whale and will more than likely utilize him in their upcoming games.  

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  Tags: connecticut+whale, darroll+powe, j.t.+miller, los+angeles+kings, martin+biron, mike+rupp, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, nick+palmieri, tampa+bay+lightning

Stability and Consistency Lead Rangers to Victory

When it comes to winning a hockey game in the NHL, teams must be consistent in their play and have some stability whether it is with their offense, defense or goaltending.

Tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the New York Rangers got the stability in goal they needed from back-up Martin Biron (30 saves) and consistently put pucks on net in a 3-2 victory in Tampa Bay for their first road victory of the season.. Considering that the Lightning were the best team in the Eastern Conference coming into this game and were putting pucks in the net left and right, it was an impressive victory for the Blueshirts.

In his first start of the season, Biron was exactly what he needed to be for the Rangers. He made the big saves when he needed to, slowed down the play when his team needed a breather and have the Rangers the kind of goaltending they needed against a very good Lightning hockey club.

On offense, Rangers' forward Derek Stepan scored his first goal of the season to knot the game up at 1-1 in the second period. For Stepan, it was a much needed goal as he had not scored since Game 6 against the Ottawa Senators in last year's first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The team also got an absolutely great goal from Rick Nash. On the play, Nash used his size and terrific puck-handling abilities to blow by Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and beat Lightning netminder Mathieu Garon to give the team a 2-1 lead.

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  Tags: adam+henrique, carl+hagelin, derek+stepan, martin+biron, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, rick+nash, tampa+bay+lightning, taylor+pyatt

An E-mail Interview with Devils’ Franchise Great Ken Daneyko

It is not very often that one gets to conduct an e-mail interview with a former franchise great in the National Hockey League.

This past week, I was lucky enough to have the pleasure of doing just that. It was an absolute honor for me to conduct this e-mail interview with former New Jersey Devils' defenseman Ken Daneyko.

Daneyko, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, was kind enough to take the time and answer some questions about how he got into hockey, what it was like to play in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, what it was like to win the Cup and much more.

PH: How did you get into hockey?
KD: Growing up in Canada, hockey is a religion and I was a fanatic from the day I could walk like so many other kids.

PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player? Why?
KD: In Canada, you were either a Maple Leafs or Canadiens fan. I was a Leaf fan, and I liked Darryl Sittler because he was a good all around player. My real favorite was Bobby Hull of the Blackhawks. He was electrifying and had the booming shot.

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  Tags: ken+daneyko, new+jersey+devils

Happy to be Back

Well folks, it is finally over.

With a new CBA agreement in place, we can now look forward to what should be a very interesting New York Rangers' season. With a shortened season and the Rangers known for being a streaky team, a good start out of the gate could end up leading to something special for the Blueshirts.

What's interesting is that after the 1993-94 season when the Rangers won the Cup, the New Jersey Devils ended up winning the their first Cup in franchise history by sweeping the Detroit Red Wings. With the Devils getting to the Stanley Cup Final last season, may be the Blueshirts will return the favor and get back to the Final for the first time since 1994.

Anyways, now is not the time to look far ahead. For the Rangers, they will more than likely use head coach John Tortorella's approach of one game at a time and will make sure they play well in all areas of the game and are consistent game in and game out.

With a grueling schedule on tap, it might be hard for the Rangers to do all those things but if one thing is certain, it is that they have a roster capable of getting the team to the next level. The addition of Rick Nash up front should also help the team put more pucks in the net both on even strength and in an area they struggled the most with last season, the power play.

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  Tags: 2012+nhl+cba+agreement, detroit+red+wings, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, martin+biron, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, rick+nash

Can They Do it?

This is something that many Los Angeles Kings’ and New Jersey Devils’ fans are wondering when it comes to tonight’s Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at the Staples Center.

What these fans, along with those in the hockey media, are wondering is if the Devils can come back from a 3-0 series deficit to tie the series and force a Game 7 at the Prudential Center on Wednesday night. If you are a Kings’ fan, you have to be just a tad bit nervous considering what the situation is now.

In the Kings’ first three games, the team squeaked out the first two with overtime wins and then came through with a convincing 4-0 win in Game 3. After that, however, it has been all about the Devils.

In Game 4, the Devils got clutch goaltending from future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur and a veteran-like game winning goal from rookie Adam Henrique en route to a 3-1 win. At the time, many fans probably thought that this would be the only Devils’ victory of the series considering that heading into Game 5 at the Prudential Center, the Kings were a perfect 10-0 on the road.

That perfect record was snapped last night as the Devils came up big with 2-1 victory to close the series to 3-2. Both goals came off of strange plays as on the first one, Zach Parise cashed in on a rare Jonathan Quick playing the puck mistake while the Devils’ second goal, scored by defenseman Bryce Salvador, went in off of Kings’ defenseman Slava Voynov.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, adam+henrique, bryce+salvador, jonathan+quick, los+angeles+kings, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils, slava+voynov, zach+parise

Admiring Jonathan Quick

While there is no doubt that New York Rangers’ fans love their netminder, Henrik Lundqvist, these fans should know that there is another goaltender out there who they should admire.

Right now, that is Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings. Quick has his hockey club one win away from the team’s first Cup in franchise history and has done so in unbelievable fashion.

Quick’s statistics this postseason speak for themselves. In 18 games, Quick is 15-3 with a 1.39 goals against average, a .948 save percentage and three shutouts.

In Games 1 through 3 in the Stanley Cup Final against the New Jersey Devils, he was splendid in allowing just 2 goals and picking up a shutout. In those games, he stopped 70 of 72 shots and made the big saves when he had to.

While it is one thing to like Quick from a statistical perspective, there is another reason to like him. It turns out, Quick’s idol growing up was none other than former Rangers’ great goaltender Mike Richter.

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  Tags: henrik+lundqvist, jonathan+quick, los+angeles+kings, mike+richter, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers

Terrible Power Play Hurts Devils in Game 3

When it comes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, special teams play is always key.

There could be times when a team need a big power play goal to get the lead, tie the game or blow the game wide open. At other times, a team needs to kill a penalty to preserve the lead, preserve a tie and to at least stay in the game.

Last night in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Los Angeles Kings and the New Jersey Devils, the Devils did neither. Ultimately, it cost them the hockey game as they lost by a score of 4-0 and are now just one loss away from being swept and losing out on the Cup.

In last night’s tilt, the Devils’ power play went 0 for 6. They had some good looks on Kings’ netminder Jonathan Quick but either Kings’ defensemen were able to get in the way and block shots or Quick was there to make the save when he needed to.

Not only were the Devils not able to score on the power play, but the team had a 5-on-3 advantage for a minute in the first period and could not put the puck in the net. At this point in the hockey game, the score was still 0-0 and had the Devils been able to execute, it could have ended up being a much different hockey game.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, adam+henrique, david+clarkson, ilya+kovalchuk, jonathan+quick, los+angeles+kings, new+jersey+devils, patrik+elias, travis+zajac, 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

Tough to Take

If you are a New York Rangers’ fan, this is most likely what you are feeling regarding what happened to the team tonight.

The New Jersey Devils ended the team’s hope of getting to the Stanley Cup Final by beating the Blueshirts 3-2 in overtime on a goal by rookie Adam Henrique tonight at the Prudential Center. It is certainly disheartening considering the way the Rangers played in this game.

With the exception of the first period, it seemed like the Rangers dominated this game. They outshot the Devils 35-29, forechecked hard, had a lot more puck possession and were once again able to overcome 2-goal deficit to tie the hockey game and put a a major scare into their Hudson River rivals.

Unfortunately for the Blueshirts, it was only a scare they put into the Devils and not the victory. With their playoff lives on the line for the fourth time this postseason, the Rangers were not able to overcome a 3-2 series deficit for the right to play a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.

With that said, one has to wonder what it would have been like had the Rangers turned in better first period performances in this series. Time and time again, it seemed like the Rangers got down early and were forced to play comeback hockey. While the team was not terrible tying up hockey games, it is a tough way to play in the postseason and unfortunately, the Blueshirts learned that the hard way.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, adam+henrique, carl+hagelin, chris+kreider, derek+stepan, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, pete+deboer, ryan+callahan, ryan+mcdonagh

All on Lundqvist

From Sean Hartnett at WFAN.com:

Alone stands a masked man in white.  He is the last line of defense.  His duty is to guard his post from an army of onrushing soldiers dressed in red with the mark of the demon across their chest.

Henrik Lundqvist, the man that Rangers fans call ‘King Henrik,’ is faced with the task of not only keeping goals out of his net, but not allowing the tremendous pressure placed upon him to seep into his consciousness.

Click here for more great stuff from Sean.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, sean+hartnett, wfan.com

Here We Go Again

That’s right folks. Tonight, the New York Rangers will take part in their third Game 6 and second in which they are down 3-2.

The team’s opponent, the New Jersey Devils, are playing for the right to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Final. While they have not been perfect in this series, they have played good enough to beat the Blueshirts three times, including twice in a row in Games 4 and 5.

For the Rangers, none of this should come as nothing new. They have had their backs against the wall multiple times this postseason and each time, the team has come through with a win.

With that said, there is something that definitely feels different about this series. While Rangers’ fans are confident that their favorite team will come out victorious not only in Game 6, but in this series, there is a certain uneasiness that is present.

It could be the fact that the Devils have won two games in a row or it could be that the Rangers have yet to put a full 60 minutes together in this series. Whatever it is, it is something that the Rangers need to figure out before they get down to business tonight.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers

An E-mail Interview with Sean Hartnett of WFAN.com

With the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils battling it out to see who will represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Final, I figured now would be a good time to conduct an e-mail interview with someone who is currently covering the series.

Sean Hartnett, hockey writer/blogger for WFAN.com, was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about how he got into hockey, how he became a hockey blogger as well as his thoughts on the Eastern Conference Finals.

PH: How did you get into hockey?
SH: As a boy, I was fascinated with Mario Lemieux. I enjoyed the artistry he displayed on the ice. He was the ultimate game-changer. The highlight of his spectacular goal in Game 2 of the 1991 Stanley Cup Finals never gets old. He absolutely undressed the Minnesota North Stars’ defense. No matter how many times I watch it, it will never get old.

The first hockey video game I owned was NHL ‘94, so that definitely played a part in building my hockey obsession. I would have NHL ‘94 tournaments with neighbors and close elementary school friends.  Nearly, two decades later… I haven’t really changed that much. At the age of 27, I still have NHL 12 tournaments with friends and they get pretty heated!

PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player?
SH: As a kid, teams weren’t as important to me as individual players who made the game so enjoyable to watch. I mentioned Lemieux earlier and I loved watching Wayne Gretzky set up behind the net in ‘his office’ and work his magic.

Everyone enjoys players who are artists on the ice. Early 90’s Teemu Selanne and Pavel Bure could pull off ‘out this world moves’ like no one I’ve ever seen before or since. Mike Modano, Pat LaFontaine and Brett Hull were the ultimate examples of talented Americans who were great ambassadors for the game.

I had friends who were Rangers, Devils and Islanders fans but I never really got caught up in the rivalry at young age. My mother bought me the 1994 Rangers’ championship t-shirt but it seemed like every couple months I was getting a t-shirt, jacket or jersey of a different team from my mom who spoiled me or another family member.

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  Tags: new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, sean+hartnett, wfan.com

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

Some Nasty Moments in The Rangers/Devils’ Rivalry

From Patrick Hoffman at Sportsnet.ca:

One of the greatest things about pro sports is the rivalries.

The NHL, like all other leagues, is built on a plethora of great rivalries. One of these rivalries is continuing its epic history in this year’s Eastern Conference Finals.

Of course, this is between division rivals the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils. This rivalry has produced a ton of great regular season and playoff games, goals, saves and memories.

In addition to the great parts of this rivalry, there has also been a fair share of the nasty. Dirty hits, wild fights, plenty of jawing and an overall hatred of each other makes the Rangers-Devils rivalry one of the fiercest in the NHL.

Click here for more.

Monday night’s game at the Prudential Center brought this rivalry to the forefront of the sports world. So it only seems logical to take a look at some of the nastiest moments this great rivalry has created.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers

Looking for Answers Tonight in Game 5

Coming into tonight’s Game 5 between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden, it appears that there are more questions than answers regarding the state of the Blueshirts after their 4-1 loss in Game 4.

While the Rangers were not exactly dead in their loss in Game 4, the team certainly was nowhere near its best. The club spent too much time in the penalty box, was outworked, outhustled and outshot and offensively, were too quiet to generate quality scoring chances against future Hall of Fame netminder Martin Brodeur.

Obviously, the team said all the right things both after the game and after yesterday’s practice but one has to wonder what the team is really thinking. For example, what is Rangers’ defenseman Michael Del Zotto thinking after his terrible performance in Game 4 in which he was the main cause of the Devils’ second goal by Travis Zajac and was also benched by head coach John Tortorella?

Another question that needs to be answered tonight is regarding the team’s offense? Where have the likes of Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards gone? While it is not fair to put all of the pressure on Gaborik and Richards to perform, these are the only two guys on the Blueshirts, with the exception of team captain Ryan Callahan, that can produce and put the puck in the net on regular basis.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, john+tortorella, martin+brodeur, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, travis+zajac

The Script Remains The Same

This appears to be the case for the New York Rangers as the team dropped Game 4 at the Prudential Center to the New Jersey Devils by a score of 4-1.

For the third straight series, the Blueshirts will go into Game 5 tied with their opponent. While this probably should not have happened against both the Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals, the Rangers certainly deserve this fate after the way they played tonight.

The Blueshirts came out extremely flat in the first period and paid for it. The Devils picked-up two goals (Bryce Salvador and Travis Zajac) and were outshot 12-9 in the process. Had it not been for the strong play of Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist (26 saves), the period could have been much worse for the Blueshirts.

The team also racked up 41 minutes in penalties. While it was good to see the Rangers play a physical brand of hockey, spending that much time in the penalty box does not help anyone and only takes your best players off the ice for an extended period of time, something the Rangers cannot afford to do on any given night.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, bryce+salvador, henrik+lundqvist, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, travis+zajac, washington+capitals, zach+parise

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

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

Lundqvist Stonewalls Devils’ in Game 3 Shutout

Once again in this year’s postseason, New York Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was the story for his hockey club as his 36-save performance help shutout the New Jersey Devils in Game 3 at the Prudential Center by a score of 3-0.

Much like in Game 1, except with a lot more shots in this afternoon’s tilt, Lundqvist stopped everything the Devils threw at him in the hockey game. He was especially good in the first period when he stopped several odd man rushes and made a terrific glove save on Devils’ sniper Ilya Kovalchuk in close.

Lundqvist also made several big stops in the middle frame to keep the game at 0-0 in the third period. The Devils outshot the Rangers 15-9 in that period but again were not able to put one past the “King”.

Then, in the third period, the Blueshirts found a way to put pucks past Martin Brodeur, who, like Lundqvist, was also have a solid game between the pipes for his hockey club. Rangers’ defenseman Dan Girardi put the team up 1-0 on the power play just over three minutes into the third period when a Brad Richards’ face-off win ended up in the back of the net off a Girardi snap shot that beat Brodeur stick side.

Two minutes later, the Rangers found the back of the net again when rookie Chris Kreider deflected a Ryan McDonagh shot past Brodeur for his fifth of the postseason and a 2-0 Rangers’ lead. While the Rangers did not generate a lot of offense all game long (22 shots), they were able to score two goals 1:57 apart.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, chris+kreider, dan+girardi, ilya+kovalchuk, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators

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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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan

An apology

Obviously, I am taking quite a beating for the article I wrote regarding the New Jersey Devils and their No Blue campaign.

For starters, I did not mean this as an offense to any Devils’ fans. This was an opinion article and one that may be I should have written very differently.

I guess what I am still having trouble understanding is why an organization, that has had attendance problems in the past, would want to keep a group of fans that has done a lot to make the Devils’ profitable during the course of the rivalry. In fact, many people call the Prudential Center MSG South or even reference it as another home game for the Blueshirts.

I can understand that the organization wants to have more of their fans in the building rather than having a bunch of Rangers’ fans. In fact, that is admirable and one that will more likely help home ice advantage.

With that said, that is still money that the team is turning down. I guess that is all I was trying to say.

Again, I am sorry if I offended anyone.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers

What are The Devils Thinking?

From Patrick Hoffman at Sportsnet.ca:

For their Eastern Conference Final with their Hudson River rival New York Rangers, the New Jersey Devils have gone ahead and launched a “No Blue” campaign to help enhance their home ice advantage at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.

This campaign is designed to keep Rangers’ fans out of the Prudential Center during the Eastern Conference Finals and get more Devils’ fans in the arena to support their hockey club.

On one hand, it is understandable for a team’s fan base to do whatever it takes to root on their favorite hockey team and utilize home ice advantage to the best of their abilities. On the other hand, this campaign is absolutely ridiculous and when you think about it, embarrassing for an NHL franchise.

What does it say about your franchise that you are still trying to get your own fans into your barn for a playoff game? In most other NHL cities, it is easy to get fans into a building for a Stanley Cup playoff game and have it sell out.

Click here for more.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers

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

Time To Take Control

This is what the New York Rangers need to do tonight in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Finals series with the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden.

With the Blueshirts coming off a 3-0 victory in Game 1 and the 1-0 series lead, the Rangers should try and do everything they can to take control of this series. Through the first two rounds, it never felt like the Rangers had the series well within their grasp and while this series is in no way easy for the team, they should be able to grab control of this series in a hurry if things go their way.

For starters, Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist is more than just on top of his game. While he did not face as many shots (21) as Devils’ Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur (27) did, Lundqvist made the big saves when he had to and was especially good in the second period when he made 10 saves, many of them of the difficult variety.

Secondly, the team has its forechecking game going again. This was evident on the team’s first goal by Dan Girardi when Chris Kreider got to the puck first and fed Girardi for the one timer and it was also apparent as the team won many puck battles along the boards.

It should also be mentioned just how good the Rangers’ defense has been in their last two games. The team held the Devils to just 21 shots in the game and 4 in the last period on Monday night in Game 1 and in Game 7 on Saturday night against the Washington Capitals in the third period, they held up the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich, Marcus Johansson, and Mike Green and gave them very little room to maneuver or shoot the puck.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, alex+ovechkin, alexander+semin, brooks+laich, chris+kreider, dan+girardi, henrik+lundqvist, marcus+johansson, martin+brodeur, mike+green, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, nicklas+backstrom, washington+capitals

Rangers Take Game 1

If you are or have been a fan of either the New York Rangers or New Jersey Devils for the past 20 years or so, than Game 1 between the two clubs in the Eastern Conference Finals was a very familiar story.

The Blueshirts were able to come away with a 3-0 victory thanks to third period goals from defenseman Dan Girardi, fresh out of college winger Chris Kreider and Artem Anisimov and solid goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist. For the Rangers, it was the fifth time that the team has shutout the Devils in the postseason as Rangers’ great Mike Richter shut out their Hudson River rivals once in 1992 (Game 4), once in 1994 (Game 2) and twice in 1997 (Games 2 and 4).

This was a typical Rangers’/Devils’ game. There was lots of tight checking, lots of blocked shots, and with the exception of the third period, not a lot of goals were scored. It was like a regular season game except for the fact that this is now the Conference Finals.

For the second time in as many games, the Blueshirts outplayed their opponent in the third period. The team forechecked hard, threw plenty of pucks on Devils’ Hall of Fame netminder Martin Brodeur (25 saves) and were able to not only get the first goal of the game, but they followed it up with an insurance marker just a few minutes later.

Rangers’ rookie Chris Kreider was involved on both goals. On Girardi’s goal, it was Kreider who carried the puck into the Devils’ zone and was able to feed Girardi, who was coming off the bench on a line change, with the puck who buried one past Brodeur’s right pad.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, artem+anisimov, chris+kreider, dan+girardi, henrik+lundqvist, martin+brodeur, mike+richter, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers

Battle of the Hudson Part 6

For hockey fans in New York and New Jersey, the Eastern Conference Finals could not be a more perfect scenario.

Tonight, the Eastern Conference Finals get underway between the No. 1 seed New York Rangers and No. 6 seed New Jersey Devils. This will be the sixth time the two Hudson River rivals go at it in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Rangers winning four of the five series’s.

The Blueshirts are coming off their second Game 7 victory of the 2012 postseason as they were able to finally knock out the Washington Capitals in the postseason after failing to do so in 2009 and 2011. The Rangers came through when they needed to and showed that when they are under a ton of pressure to win a hockey game, they can come through with flying colors.

Across the river, the New Jersey Devils just shocked the No. 5 seed Philadelphia Flyers by beating the Broadstreet Bullies in just five games. The Devils’ defense was tremendous in shutting down one of the top offenses in the league and are now in the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since the 2003 season when they won the Cup.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, henrik+lundqvist, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, washington+capitals

That Old Feeling: Rangers Advance to Conference Finals to Take on The Devils

I am sure that this is something many of you New York Ranger fans are getting after the team defeated the Washington Capitals in Game 7 last night to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they will take on the New Jersey Devils.

Obviously, this is similar to 1994. While it did not take 7 games in 1994 to knock out the Capitals in the second round, the Rangers still came through with the win to advance to take on Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils.

18 years later, Brodeur is still the man between the pipes in New Jersey and has three Stanley Cups on his Hall of Fame resume. With that said, the Rangers team he will be facing this season is much different than the one he faced as a rookie in 1994.

Back to the Blueshirts. The Blueshirts have shown time and time again this season that when they need to win, they get it done.

Last night, the Rangers played “Ranger hockey” and got timely goal scoring, great goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, played great defense, got in on the forecheck, blocked a lot of shots and won the game. This is what made the team so successful in the regular season and when they have played this way in the postseason, they have been able to come through with a victory.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, martin+brodeur, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, washington+capitals

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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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brad+richards, brandon+dubinsky, brian+boyle, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, colorado+avalanche, derek+stepan, detroit+red+wings, marian+gaborik, nashville+predators, new+jersey+devils, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan, washington+capitals

Looking For More Points

The New York Rangers will be doing just that tonight at Madison Square Garden when they take on the Detroit Red Wings.

The Blueshirts are coming off a playoff-clinching 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night. The team played tough, got timely scoring and played solid on defense.

Even though the team clinched a spot, this is not the time to slow things down. After crushing the Winnipeg Jets last night, the Pittsburgh Penguins are just one point behind the Rangers for first in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

Luckily, this Red Wings’ hockey club is not playing their best right now. The team is struggling with injuries up and down the lineup and is 3-6-1 in their last 10 games.

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  Tags: detroit+red+wings, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, winnipeg+jets

A Great View of the Opening Face-Off Craziness at MSG

From Mike Ross at NHL Home Ice:

Hockey fights though, never seemed that gratuitous because of what I’d been sold for years:

-  Hockey fights breed accountability
-  Hockey fights do not result in anyone getting hurt
-  Hockey fights happen because of the passion in the game
-  Hockey fights are necessary so players have a way to vent frustration

And for years, I bought it…much the same way my parents smoked for most of my childhood without ever giving a second thought to the effects of second-hand smoke.  How were they supposed to know?  It was never drilled into them.

But when I saw 3 scraps of the opening faceoff between the Rangers and Devils on Monday (the 2nd time there have been multiple fights off the start of a game between these two teams), I tried to understand which of the above criteria were met.

Click here for more from Rossy.

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  Tags: mike+ross, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, nhl+home+ice

Rangers Clinch Playoff Spot With 4-2 Win Over the Devils

While the first three seconds of the hockey game between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils provided a lot of theatrics, it all ended up meaning very little for the rest of the game as the Rangers went onto to clinch a playoff spot by beating the Devils by a score of 4-2.

For the first since the 2005-06 season, the Blueshirts managed to clinch a playoff spot with a few weeks to go in the season. While the team will now play for seeding, all that matters is that they have advanced to hockey’s “second season” and will have the chance to play for hockey’s Holy Grail come April.

The game may have not been pretty for either squad but in the end, the Rangers were able to get the job done with timely goal scoring. Brandon Dubinsky got the team going just over a minute after the three fights in the beginning of the first period to give the team a 1-0 lead.

Defenseman Dan Girardi scored 33 seconds into the second period to put the Rangers’ up 2-0. While the Devils would get one back to cut the lead to 2-1, Blueshirts’ forward Mats Zuccarello would put one in on the power play to give the team a 3-1 lead.

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  Tags: brandon+dubinsky, dan+girardi, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers

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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  Tags: brad+richards, carl+hagelin, colorado+avalanche, marian+gaborik, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, semyon+varlamov

Varlamov Steals One at MSG

Sometimes, all a hockey team needs to win a game is good goaltending.

That is exactly what the Colorado Avalanche got tonight from their netminder Semyon Varlamov in a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers. Varlamov stymied the Blueshirts in making 41 saves on the night.

Varlamov was calm, cool, and collected in between the pipes tonight for his hockey club. He was able to control rebounds, had an excellent glove hand, recovered to make second and third stops and was the main reason why the Avalanche won tonight.

For the first time in the last few weeks, the Rangers were getting offense from all of their lines. No one was afraid to shoot the puck tonight, the team crashed the net but unfortunately, were only able to beat Varlamov once on 42 shots.

While it was the team’s second straight loss, one that has allowed the Pittsburgh Penguins to stay two points behind the Blueshirts after beating the New Jersey Devils this afternoon, there were some other good things to come out of this game for the Rangers. For starters, a healthy Ryan Callahan and Michael Del Zotto returned to the lineup. Callahan was his usual self while Del Zotto tried to help add some more offense to the team.

Secondly, the team got a good performance out of their starting netminder Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist allowed just two goals on 19 shots and played well enough to give his club a chance to win a hockey game.

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  Tags: colorado+avalanche, henrik+lundqvist+mats+zuccarello, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan, semyon+varlamov

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

A Must Win for the Rangers

This is exactly what tonight’s game at Madison Square Garden between the New York York Rangers and New York Islanders is for the Blueshirts.

For the first time this season, the Rangers are in the midst of a three game losing streak in regulation. This past week, the Blueshirts lost to the New Jersey Devils (4-1), Ottawa Senators (4-1) and Chicago Blackhawks.

Because of the losing streak, the Rangers are just four points up on the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team they will meet on Thursday at MSG. If the Rangers continue to play they are playing right now, Thursday night’s tilt with the Penguins could end up meaning even more than it already does.

However, it is time for the team to focus on tonight’s meeting with the Islanders. It will be the last meeting between the two clubs with the Rangers holding the edge in the season series at 3-1-1.

They may not be in a playoff spot but the Islanders are definitely competing every night. They work hard, they forecheck and they make life extremely tough for opponents, something the Blueshirts will have to deal with tonight.

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  Tags: buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, chicago+blackhawks, detroit+red+wings, henrik+lundqvist, new+jersey+devils, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, pittsburgh+penguins

Big Game at The Mad House on Madison

With the New York Rangers struggling to find the consistency that made them so successful for much of the season, tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks will be a big test for the Blueshirts.

In last night’s 4-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators, the team looked out-of-sync in all areas of the game. This also happened to be the case in the team’s 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

For the Rangers, this is coming at a bad time as both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference playoff race is heating up. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who will have Sidney Crosby returning in the very near future, are now just 6 points behind the Blueshirts while the Philadelphia Flyers are 8 points behind thanks to the fine play of their netminder Ilya Bryzgalov (finally, eh?).

The team needs to get back to forechecking better, something that Rangers’ forward Marian Gaborik mentioned to team beat writer Andrew Gross of The Record and Ranger Rants.

“I think so,” he said. “The support needs to be there. We have to create more forechecking in the zone. Also, we have to try to chip pucks in and create more odd-man situations.”

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, henrik+lundqvist, ilya+bryzgalov, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, original+six, ottawa+senators, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby, united+center

Biron to Start Tonight/Other line-up Updates

According to Andrew Gross, the New York Rangers’ beat writer/blogger for The Record and Ranger Rants blog, the Blueshirts have elected to go with Martin Biron in goal tonight to face the Ottawa Senators.

This sounds like the right decision considering that the Rangers take on the Chicago Blackhawks tomorrow night. Remember, the Blackhawks scorched Biron and the Rangers in their previous meeting by a score of 4-2 so putting starting netminder Henrik Lundqvist in sounds like the right thing to do.

Gross also said that Rangers’ forward Brandon Dubinsky will not be in the lineup tonight due to sinus issues he is experiencing that could impact his skating. Dubinsky also said he still has some pain in his hand from the fight he had with New Jersey Devils’ forward David Clarkson on Tuesday night at the Prudential Center:

Brandon Dubinsky will not be in the lineup tonight against the Senators as he tells the media he is still having sinus issues that could affect his skating. Dubinsky said his hand hurts as well after fighting the Devils’ Ryan Carter on Tuesday. Dubinsky was holding nasal spray and also appeared to have stitches on his nose. Considering the Rangers do not have a morning skate tomorrow in Chicago, it’s very likely he’ll also miss the Blackhawks’ game.

Dubinsky also reported he’s been having trouble sleeping as a result of his injured nose.

 

 

 

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  Tags: andrew+gross, brandon+dubinsky, chicago+blackhawks, david+clarkson, henrik+lundqvist, martin+biron, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, ranger+rants, the+record

Time to Step Up

This is exactly what the New York Rangers need to do as they prepare for three games in four night’s starting tonight with the Ottawa Senators.

There is no doubt that the Blueshirts have been inconsistent of late. They have allowed at least three goals or more in their last three games and clearly did not play well against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night at the Prudential Center.

The Ottawa Senators have given the Rangers’ some trouble this season and are currently one point behind the 6th place Devils. They have a powerful offense that is dangerous and knows how to put the puck in the net.

With that in mind, the Rangers will need to get their defense back in order in a hurry. Again, 13 goals allowed in the last four games will not win you any games in this league.

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  Tags: brad+richards, chicago+blackhawks, new+jersey+devils, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, pittsburgh+penguins

The Need to Wake-Up

If the New York Rangers want to have any kind of success this upcoming spring, they will need to do just that.

In last night’s 4-1 to the New Jersey Devils, the team looked like they were sleep walking. They put 23 shots on Devils’ netminder Martin Brodeur while giving far too many scoring chances to the Devils as guys like Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias, and David Clarkson (empty net) were able to strut their stuff in front of Blueshirts’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist.

Things are not going to get any easier for the Blueshirts. Tomorrow night, the club will take on the Ottawa Senators and then the Chicago Blackhawks in Chicago on Friday night before coming home to take on the New York Islanders at Madison square Garden on Sunday night to kick off a 7-game homestand.

This is not the time for the Blueshirts to take their foots off the gas. While they may have somewhat of a comfortable lead in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, now is not the time to be inconsistent and for the most part, the team has been inconsistent over the last few weeks.

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, ilya+kovalchuk, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, patrik+elias

Going Over the Hudson

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rangers Win Wild One Against Bruins

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

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

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

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

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

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