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Goal Line Report

Entries with the tag: philadelphia flyers

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

Taking Care Of Business

That is exactly what the New York Rangers did tonight in their 6-1 victory over the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden.

Coming into tonight's tilt, the Panthers were the worst team in the league. Tonight, the Rangers took advantage of that and pounded the Panthers with six goals and got strong offensive efforts from several of their players.

For starters, Mats Zuccarello is continuing to show how he has improved his game. He goes hard to the net, knows how to use his speed, gets his nose dirty and tonight, he was able to score two goals.

The club also got a strong offensive performance from Derick Brassard. Brassard had two goals and gave the team an early lead when he scored the games first goal just over three minutes into the tilt.

Rick Nash did his part in this game by picking up three points with a goal and two assists. It will be important for Nash to continue to produce as the team needs him to score in this last stretch of the season. 

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  Tags: brad+richards, buffalo+sabres, derick+brassard, florida+panthers, henrik+lundqvist, mats+zuccarello, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, rick+nash, ron+rolston, winnipeg+jets

All About Second Chances For Flyers’ Mason

When looking at the NHL as a whole, it is easy to see that several NHL netminders thrive when given a second chance to prove their worth.

As an example, one can point out the likes of Ray Emery (Chicago Blackhawks), Carey Price (2010-11 with the Montreal Canadiens), Craig Anderson (Ottawa Senators) and so on and so forth. One can probably name several players in this particular category.

With that said, one player who really needs a second chance the most is Philadelphia Flyers' netminder Steve Mason. Mason, who won the Calder Trophy as the league's rooke of the year in the 2008-09 season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, has struggled to find his rookie form and is now looking to do so in the "City of Brotherly Love".

Mason, 24, burst onto the NHL scene in the 2008-09 season and dominated the league. That year, Mason went 33-20-0-7 with a 2.29 GAA, a .916 save percentage and 10 shutouts in leading the Columbus Blue Jackets to their first postseason.

While Mason did not play well in that postseason, the Blue Jackets thought they had their netminder of the future. Unfortunately, the team was wrong.

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  Tags: carey+price, chicago+blackhawks, columbus+blue+jackets, craig+anderson, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, philadelphia+flyers, ray+emery, sergei+bobrovsky, steve+mason

Keep it Rolling

That is what the New York Rangers hope to do tonight on Long Island when they take on the New York Islanders.

The Blueshirts have won three straight games and have done so with timely goal scoring, solid defense and great goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist. Tonight against the Islanders, the Rangers will need those same three things to pick-up their fourth straight win.

The team will look to continue its winning streak without one of their best players, Marc Staal. In the team's 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night, Staal took a puck just above his right eye in what was one of the most scariest puck-to-the-eye occurances in the sport. The Daily News reported that Staal will make a full recovery but is now out indefinitely.

Due to Staal's injury, the Rangers went out and claimed defenseman Roman Hamrlik off waivers. Hamrlik, 38, can hopefully add some offense to the team's blue line while also providing smart and solid defense in the team's own zone

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  Tags: henrik+lundqvist, marc+staal, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, philadelphia+flyers, roman+hamrlik

Figuring Out New Ways to Win

More than a quarter past the season already, this is something that the New York Rangers need to do if they want to get into the postseason.

Tonight, the Blueshirts are in Montreal to take on the Canadiens. These two clubs met on Tuesday night in what was more of a chess match than a hockey game and the Canadiens escaped Madison Square Garden with a 3-1 victory.

There is no doubt that every point matters in this kind of season but the Rangers need to try and find ways to get two rather than one. While the team was able to get one point in their Thursday night 3-2 shootout loss to the Senators, it really did not help then standings wise.

Coming into tonight's tilt, the team is eighth in the East with 18 points, but just one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers. The Rangers are also 5-3-2 in their last 10 and while that is not terrible, it is not the play of a Stanley Cup contender.

With all of this in mind, Rangers' head coach John Tortorella must find different ways to get this hockey team going. Sure, they can get solid defense and excellent goaltending on a nightly basis but right now, it is not winning hockey games on a consistent basis.

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  Tags: christian+thomas, john+tortorella, martin+biron, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, philadelphia+flyers, tampa+bay+lightning

Rangers Hang On to Beat the Flyers

The New York Rangers survived a frantic third period to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers tonight by a score of 2-1 at Madison Square Garden.

The way the Blueshirts played tonight is exactly the kind of style that won the team many games last season. They got some timely scoring from defenseman Michael Del Zotto and team captain Ryan Callahan before relying on their penalty killing and team defense to win a hockey game.

Last season, the Blueshirts frustrated many opponents by playing this way and it was evident tonight that the Flyers got frustrated in the latter half of the second period and throughout the third period. Late in the second period, the Rangers killed off a 5-on-3 advantage and in the third period, the team seemed to either get in the way of every Flyers' shot or pass or get the goaltending they needed from Henrik Lundqvist (26 saves on 27 shots).

Another positive for the Rangers was the play of Del Zotto. With a goal and an assist tonight, Del Zotto now has six points (2 goals and 4 assists) in six games. Yes, he still needs to work on his play in his own zone but Del Zotto is certainly taking steps in the right direction. 

Rangers' speedster Carl Hagelin also had a great game for his hockey club. He forechecked, he created scoring opportunities with his speed and was all over the ice. He might not have any points yet but his efforts definitely have not gone unnoticed.

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  Tags: carl+hagelin, henrik+lundqvist, max+talbot, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan

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

Quiet On the Offensive Front

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Value of Martin Biron

When it comes to hockey, there is no doubt that goaltending is a key cog in the machine that makes up a hockey team.

For the New York Rangers, the main cog between the pipes is Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist is everything a team could want in a starting netminder as he is consistent, plays and wins a lot of games, makes key saves at the right time, gets his team into the postseason and more importantly, makes them a contender in what is a very talented Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

With that said, it is important that the machine has a backup cog in case something goes wrong with the main one or if it needs to be replaced so that it can rest. In the case of the Blueshirts, this particular cog is back-up goaltender Martin Biron.

Since joining the Blueshirts in the 2010-11 season, Biron has been a netminder that the Rangers can rely on to give them a chance to win when he is between the pipes. In his two seasons on Broadway, Biron has won 20 games, picked-up two shutouts and has posted impressive goals against averages of 2.13 and 2.46, respectively.

While the numbers clearly show that Biron is more than just your average back-up goaltender, there is a lot more to him than just the stats. For starters, Biron's experience as a starting goaltender for both the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers has helped him in his transition to being a full-time back-up NHL goaltender.

This is important because Biron knows how to prepare for games. He knows what it takes to start in games and he knows what he needs to do to be ready. When between the pipes for the Rangers these last two years, his preparation has shown with his steady play when team head coach John Tortorella puts him in net.

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  Tags: atlantic+division, buffalo+sabres, eastern+conference, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, martin+biron, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers

An E-mail Interview with new Philadelphia Flyers’ Web site beat writer Anthony SanFilippo

It is always an honor and a pleasure for me to do e-mail interviews with hockey beat writers considering that is my ultimate dream job.

Recently, I was lucky and honored enough to conduct an e-mail interview with new Philadelphia Flyers’ web site beat writer Anthony SanFilippo. Anthony was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about how he got into hockey, how he became a beat writer and how he got the new gig.

PH: How did you get into hockey?
ASF: Dumb Luck. I was doing some freelance work for the Associated Press in 1999-2000 and I was showing up at a variety of sporting events. I started getting assigned more and more hockey games because not many writers liked hockey. While there, I became friends with the guys at comcastsportsnet.com (Now CSNPhilly.com) which was a fledgling Web site at the time. They were looking for someone to write home games for them… so I offered and they accepted. When the beat opened at the Delaware County Times, I had already been covering the team for the AP and Comcast for a few seasons, so it was an easy transition and a no-brainer for the paper to put me in that job since I was already on staff.

PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player? Why?
ASF: Well, I grew up in Philly, so the Flyers were always my favorite hockey team. In the 1980s, I was a huge fan of Ilkka Sinisalo. When I first met him in 2004 (he is a scout for the Flyers) I told him that. He looked at me and said, “Thanks for making me feel old.” I always liked Sinisalo because he was such a smooth skater with a sniper’s wrist shot - something I always imagined I’d be if I ever played hockey (which I didn’t). In the early 90s, when I was in college, I was a big John LeClair fan, that’s because I got bigger and when playing deck hockey or roller hockey I fashioned myself as the big body in front of the net. So naturally, I liked LeClair.

Hockey was never my favorite sport though. It always ranked second behind baseball where I still live and die (mostly die this year) with the Phillies. I like the 76ers too, but the Eagles always took a back seat (and still do) to the San Francisco 49ers because I was the biggest Joe Montana fan on the planet.

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  Tags: anthony+sanfilippo, philadelphia+flyers

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

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

Rangers’ Power Play Comes Through When It Matters Most

The New York Rangers power play for what seems like the first time all year long was a huge factor in their 3-2 overtime victory in Game 5 against the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden.

Rangers’ defenseman Marc Staal scored a power play goal just 1:35 into overtime to take a 3-2 series lead. For the Rangers, the play was simple as they won the face-off back to the point and Staal just put the puck on net, which is what a team is supposed to do when they have the man advantage. 

However, this game looked like it was going to end up a 2-1 Capitals win. However, Capitals’ forward Joel Ward took an ill-timed high-sticking double minor with 22 seconds to go on Rangers’ forward Carl Hagelin.

The Blueshirts were able to capitalize on the first part of the power play with 6.6 seconds to go when Brad Richards scored off of Callahan’s third shot past Braden Holtby to tie the game up. For now at least, this goal will go down as Richards’ biggest goal as a Blueshirt.

When overtime started, the team still had over a minute to go on the power play and again, the team was able to come through. If there was ever a time for the team’s power play to start clicking, it was this game. On both goals, the team threw plenty of pucks on Holtby, which again, is something that a team is supposed to do on the power play.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, brad+richards, braden+holtby, carl+hagelin, joel+ward, john+carlson, marc+staal, mike+green, mike+rupp, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, washington+capitals

Update/Rangers Set to take on the Penguins

UPDATE: According to Pat Leonard of the Daily News, Martin Biron will be in goal tonight for the Blueshirts:

Same #NYR lineup, Martin Biron in net vs #Pens. So Mike Rupp stays in.

FROM EARLIER

While the New York Rangers have already clinched the top spot in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, the team still has two games left against two solid hockey clubs.

Tonight, the Blueshirts will be in Pittsburgh to take on Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. While the game has little significance for both clubs, it should still end up being a good hockey game between two clubs that are looking to get their game in order before the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin next week.

It will be interesting to see who the Rangers go with in goal as starting netminder Henrik Lundqvist has a bruised right arm after hurting it against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night. After the game, he said he had trouble gripping the stick so if I am the Blueshirts, I would not hesitate to start back-up goaltender Martin Biron tonight.

Against the Penguins tonight, the Rangers should focus on shutting down both Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Going into the playoffs, the Penguins will more than likely be the top offensive hockey club and if the Blueshirts can find a way to shut them down tonight, it will certainly be a confidence boost heading into the postseason.

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  Tags: evgeni+malkin, henrik+lundqvist, martin+biron, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

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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  Tags: brad+richards, brian+boyle, dan+girardi, henrik+lundqvist, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan, ryan+mcdonagh, washington+capitals

Rangers Can Clinch Tonight in Philly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Chance to Clinch the East Against the Bruins

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

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

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

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

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

Not Making It Easy on Themselves

The New York Rangers are certainly doing that when it comes to the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference lead as the team dropped a 4-1 game to the Buffalo Sabres last night at Madison Square Garden.

The Blueshirts ran into outstanding goaltending in Ryan Miller as Miller turned away 26 of 27 shots. With the win, the Sabres are now tied in points with the Washington Capitals, who currently hold down the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference.

With the loss, the Rangers now hold just a one point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins and a five point lead over the Philadelphia Flyers. And with all three teams playing tonight, picking up two points against the Toronto Maple Leafs is a must if the Rangers want to hold onto the top spot.

The Rangers did not play terribly last night. They generated plenty of scoring opportunities but just could not put one behind Miller when it counted.

The team’s best player last night was defenseman Ryan McDonagh. There is no doubt that McDonagh has plenty of offensive ability and soon enough, fans are going to be able to see that on a regular basis.

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  Tags: buffalo+sabres, henrik+lundqvist, mats+zuccarello, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+mcdonagh, ryan+miller, toronto+maple+leafs, washington+capitals

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

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

Three In a Row for the Blueshirts

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

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

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

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

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

Big Tilt in Beantown

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

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

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

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

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

Finding Another Gear

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rangers’ Best Players Come Through in Win Over the Flyers

When it comes to any professional sport, you always want the best players on your team to play like the best and come up big when they need to.

This happened for the New York Rangers this afternoon in their 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. For the Rangers, it was their fifth straight victory over the Flyers this season.

The reason why the Rangers came away with the victory this afternoon is because their big-time players came through. For starters, the team captain, Ryan Callahan, scored a hat trick. Callahan now has 21 goals on the season.

Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards also had big games for the Blueshirts. Marian Gaborik picked-up a goal and three assists for four points while Richards also had three assists in the game.

Other forwards that came up big for the Rangers were Derek Stepan (2 assists) and Artem Anisimov (1 goal). Anisimov has really picked-up his game since being reunited with Stepan and Gaborik and now has 5 points (1 goal and 4 assists) in his last four games.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brad+richards, derek+stepan, detroit+red+wings, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan, washington+capitals

Richards Wins It for the Blueshirts

When the New York Rangers went out and signed high-priced free agent Brad Richards to a nine year deal during the off-season, it is games like last night that the Blueshirts had envisioned for him.

After Brian Boyle tied the game up at 3-3 in the third period, the Rangers’ assistant captain Richards scored the game winner in overtime off a great feed from Artem Anisimov to give his team a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. For Richards, it was his seventh game winning goal of the season, which is good for second in the NHL.

While Richards may not have the point totals that people expected (17 goals and 18 assists for 35 points), he has certainly come up big when the team has needed him the most. Everyone remembers the goal he scored at the buzzer to defeat the Phoenix Coyotes. Everyone also probably remembers the game tying goal he scored against the Anaheim Ducks over in Sweden at the beginning of the season.

Richards is keeping up his end of the bargain by coming through in the clutch, something he has done throughout his career. Hopefully, he will come up even bigger come playoff time.

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, artem+anisimov, brad+richards, brian+boyle, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, phoenix+coyotes, tampa+bay+lightning

Blueshirts Looking for Offense

While the New York Rangers may have gotten screwed out of picking up at least a point against the New Jersey Devils in their 1-0 loss on Tuesday night, it still does not change the fact that this team is currently having trouble scoring goals.

Yes, the team put four in on Sunday afternoon against the Philadelphia Flyers but before that and right now, the offense has been kept quiet. As of right now, Rangers’ forwards Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan seem like the only two players that are consistently generating scoring chances.

However, guys like Derek Stepan, Brad Richards, Brian Boyle and others are struggling to score goals. Prior to these last few weeks, the Rangers had scoring depth and right now, it appears to be missing.

When this happens, it puts a ton of pressure on the team’s goaltenders Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron. It is like the goaltenders have to be as close to perfect as possible in order to win a hockey game.

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  Tags: brad+richards, brian+boyle, derek+stepan, dwayne+roloson, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, mathieu+garon, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan, tampa+bay+lightning

Battle of The Hudson

While it always seems like the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils play a playoff brand of hockey when the two clubs meet, that will really be the case tonight when they will go at it at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers, who are on top of both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, are coming off of two straight wins over the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers. In those games, the club got excellent goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, played a physical style of hockey and won all the little battles within the game.

On the other side, the Devils might just be playing their best hockey of the season. The team from across the Hudson River has won five straight games and is putting the puck in the net with regularity, getting solid performances out of of both Ilya Kovalchuk and Martin Brodeur and playing with a swagger that has been missing from their game the last few seasons.

These two teams met last Wednesday night at the Prudential Center, where the Blueshirts lost a hard fought game 4-3 in a shootout. As I had mentioned last week, this was a game that the Rangers should have won so they will definitely be looking to get the two points tonight on home ice.

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  Tags: buffalo+sabres, henrik+lundqvist, ilya+kovalchuk, john+tortorella, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, steve+eminger

Rangers Do It Again Over the Flyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heave Ho Four in a Row

That is what the New York Rangers will be looking to do this afternoon at Madison Square Garden when they take on the Philadelphia Flyers.

The teams have met three times already with the Blueshirts coming away with three wins, including winning the Winter Classic by a score of 3-2. The Blueshirts have also beaten the Flyers twice on home ice this season.

There is no doubt that the Flyers are going to come out as a hungry hockey club. In yesterday’s 6-4 loss to the New Jersey Devils at home, the Flyers gave the Devils a 6-0 lead before coming back to score four goals in the third period to make it an exciting hockey game.

This is a Flyers team that has a lot of offense. Guys like Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Wayne Simmonds, Jaromir Jagr and Matt Read can all put the puck in the net. Hartnell leads the club with 25 goals and Giroux is right behind with 20.

With that in mind, the Blueshirts are going to need to be ready to battle. The club is coming off a hard fought 1-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night in Buffalo and the team more than likely knows that if they play the way they did against Buffalo, they could be in trouble against the Broadstreet Bullies.

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  Tags: buffalo+sabres, claude+giroux, henrik+lundqvist, jaromir+jagr, matt+read, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, scott+hartnell, wayne+simmonds, winnipeg+jets

Lundqvist Does it Again

Coming into tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres, you just knew that it was going to be a tough game for the New York Rangers.

The game lived up to that billing as the Rangers’ were able to come away with a 1-0 shootout win thanks to the shootout winner by team captain Ryan Callahan. However, the main reason the Rangers won tonight’s game was because of the goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist.

Lundqvist made 34 saves in regulation and stopped all but one of the shootout attempts taken by the Sabres in his second straight shutout (6th of the season…tied for first in the league). Simply put, Lundqvist played the way he always has this season for his hockey club.

Had it not been for Lundqvist’s terrific play, this could have just as easily been a shutout for Sabres’ goaltender Ryan Miller. Miller, who won last night over the Montreal Canadiens, was stellar in this game in making 29 saves and giving his team every chance to win a hockey game.

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  Tags: buffalo+sabres, detroit+red+wings, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan, ryan+miller

A Common Theme This Season: Goaltending Controversies

This is something that seems to come up every season in the National Hockey League.

This season, however, it is something that is running rampant among NHL clubs, particularly the Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks.

Philadelphia Flyers

When is there ever not a goaltending controversy with the Philadelphia Flyers?

This has been the norm for the past decade or so and as such, is running its natural course this season. This year, it is between Ilya Brzygalov and Sergei Bobrovsky.

The Flyers signed Bryzgalov to a 9-year pact over the off-season and thus far, the team has yet to see any real reward. In 33 games, the 31-year-old goaltender is 18-10-4 with a 2.99 goals against average (GAA), a .895 save percentage and 1 shutout, which are numbers that are far below what Bryzgalov posted with the Phoenix Coyotes.

The team’s back-up, Bobrovsky, has performed slightly better and has been more consistent thus far. “Bob” is 11-4-1 with a 2.42 GAA and a .919 save percentage in 18 games.

It seems like Bobrovsky should be the main man instead of Brzygalov, right?

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, corey+crawford, ilya+bryzgalov, james+reimer, jonas+gustavsson, philadelphia+flyers, ray+emery, sergei+bobrovsky, toronto+maple+leafs

Battling the Florida Panthers

After what happened in last Friday night’s tilt between the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers, it is certainly going to be a battle tonight at Madison Square Garden.

In the Rangers’ 4-1 win against the Cats last week, tempers flared and the anger level was high after Blueshirts’ defenseman Michael Del Zotto was sucker punched by Panthers’ forward Tomas Kopecky after Del Zotto cross-checked him in the back a few times and high-sticked him in the face in front of the net. After the game, Panthers’ head coach Kevin Dineen said Del Zotto got what he deserved.

With both teams in the top three in the Eastern Conference (Rangers in first; Panthers in third), tonight should be a great game. Looking at the Rangers, they are clicking on all cylinders right now and have won their last two games and are obviously coming off an exciting 3-2 win at the 2012 Winter Classic over the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Florida Panthers are 4-4-2 in their last 10 but are certainly not a pushover hockey club this season. They work hard, can put the puck in the net, and can play physical hockey, as was seen last Friday night in Miami.

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  Tags: 2012+winter+classic, florida+panthers, john+tortorella, kevin+dineen, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, tomas+kopecky

Tortorella Apologizes For Negative Comments On Officials

For starters, I do not think that New York Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella needed to apologize for the comments he made about the officiating after the 2012 Winter Classic in Monday evening.

The officiating was inconsistent and while it was obviously not “fixed” to go into overtime, the officials certainly tried to get it to that point. They either let of things go that were being done to the Blueshirts by the Philadelphia Flyers or they made calls against the Rangers.

It appears that Tortorella is bigger than most as he apologized by saying the following:

“They were sarcastic comments by me at the wrong time, and it was frustration on my part, as far as the referees…and what was done at the end of the game,” explained Tortorella. “Not for a second in no way, time, shape, or form did I think anything like that (fixing the game so that it goes to overtime) goes on with our league, or ever will.”

Tortorella added that his comments regarding the referees meeting with NBC to conspire at having the Winter Classic go to overtime were completely “tongue-in-cheek”. “For me to question the integrity of the league, the integrity of NBC, the integrity of (referees) Denny (LaRue) and Ian (Walsh), the Flyers, the Rangers, go right on through all the people here—-there’s not a chance I am thinking that way,” Tortorella continued. “It was wrong with my sarcasm and my frustration and I apologize to everyone involved.”

Tortorella definitely did the right thing in apologizing the league but it was just a coach who was still in the moment of the game and being sarcastic. He is definitely not the first NHL bench boss to be sarcastic.

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  Tags: 2012+winter+classic, john+tortorella, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers

Rangers Win Classic in Philly

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

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

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

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

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

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  Tags: 2012+winter+classic, brad+richards, brandon+dubinsky, brandon+prust, daniel+briere, glen+sather, henrik+lundqvist, john+mitchell, john+tortorella, marc+staal, mike+rupp, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan

Why Now?

From Katie Strang at ESPNNewYork.com:

New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal will make his season debut in the Winter Classic against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Coach John Tortorella delivered the surprising news just hours before the league’s annual outdoor game, after telling reporters Sunday that Staal would not be available to play.

While it was great to hear that Staal is ready to go, I am not sure why Tortorella decided that today was the day to reinsert him back into the lineup? While it is the 2012 Winter Classic game, it is still hockey and it is still between the Rangers and Flyers. As such, it will be rough with hard hitting and one has to wonder if the Flyers will be gunning for Staal since they know it is his first game of the season.

Click here for more on Staal.

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  Tags: 2012+winter+classic, john+tortorella, marc+staal, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers

These Blueshirts Are for Real

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

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

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

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

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

War On Ice: New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers

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

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

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

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

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

Showdown in Miami

The New York Rangers are set to take on the Florida Panthers, a much improved hockey club this season, tonight at 7:30 p.m.

The Blueshirts are coming off a 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. It was a game that with a better effort and more of a finishing touch, the team probably could have won.

On the other side, the Panthers are coming off a 5-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. The Cats are third in the Eastern Conference with 45 points and are having one of their best seasons in franchise history.

For the Rangers, this will be a tuneup game for them as they get set to focus on the upcoming 2012 Winter Classic game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, January 2. With that said, this is a tuneup game that the team cannot afford to take lightly.

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  Tags: eastern+conference, florida+panthers, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, toronto+maple+leafs, washington+capitals

Average

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

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

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

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

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

Tops in the East

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Deja Vu all Over Again

It appears to be that way as just like the New York Rangers did last week, they will be taking on the New York Islanders again tonight at Madison Square Garden.

The Blueshirts are coming off a week in which they picked up six points with three victories over teams in their division. The team beat the New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers last week to help move the team to first place in the Atlantic Division and second place in the Eastern Conference.

With games on Wednesday (at the Washington Capitals) and Friday (at the Florida Panthers), it will be interesting to see how team head coach John Tortorella uses his goaltenders. It is not out of the question that Tortorella uses netminder Martin Biron tonight against the Islanders and then uses Henrik Lundqvist for the next three games against the Capitals, Panthers and of course, the Flyers at the 2012 Winter Classic.

Other than that, there is not too much else going on in Rangerland these days. The team is winning plenty of hockey games, battling through injuries and getting solid play from everyone on the team.

Hopefully, things will stay that way as the team begins an interesting seven days in which they could potentially pick-up eight points.

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  Tags: 2012+winter+classic, florida+panthers, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, martin+biron, new+jersey+devils, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, washington+capitals

View from the Top

That is exactly what the New York Rangers have after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 4-2 last night at Madison Square Garden.

The team came out and played an almost perfect home game by cashing in on their opportunities, never quitting on plays, forechecking, playing solid defense, and getting terrific goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist. Put these all together and you have another solid win on home ice.

With the win, the Rangers are now tied with the Flyers for the Atlantic Division lead and are second in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Boston Bruins. Not bad for a team that no one knew just how good they were going to be or what they were capable of.

For starters, the team was certainly good at deflecting pucks past Flyers’ netminder Ilya Bryzgalov. Derek Stepan did just that on the team’s first goal in the second period when he deflected defenseman Stu Bickel’s shot from the point and surprised Bryzgalov to give the Blueshirts a 1-0 lead. The goal was put under a review but because Stepan’s stick was below the crossbar, the goal counted.

Ruslan Fedotenko did the same thing and his goal was also under review because it was first thought that the team hit the crossbar. However, after reviewing the play, the puck hit the back bar inside the net and the Rangers went up 2-0.

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  Tags: atlantic+division, boston+bruins, derek+stepan, eastern+conference, florida+panthers, henrik+lundqvist, ilya+bryzgalov, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ruslan+fedotenko, ryan+callahan, stu+bickel, washington+capitals, winter+classic

Getting the Job Done

That is exactly what the New York Rangers did tonight in their 4-2 win over the New York Islanders.

The team got strong performances from the likes of Marian Gaborik (1 goal), Brandon Dubinsky (1 goal and 1 assist), Anton Stralman (2 assists), and netminder Martin Biron (24 saves on 26 shots). With the win, the team improved to 20-8-4 on the season to move within two points of the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Flyers, who the team will take on tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden.

Believe it or not, it was important for the Blueshirts to win tonight’s tilt. This game could have easily been a “trap game” for the Rangers and one that they would somehow find a way to lose. Instead, the team played hard, battled to the end, showed that they have depth and picked up two important points in the standings.

The club also showed just how lucky they are to have a goaltender like Biron. Biron is one of the league’s best back-ups and because he has played so well this season (7-1, 1.84 goals against average, .933 save percentage and 1 shutout), it gives team head coach John Tortorella to rest starting netminder Henrik Lundqvist more, which will be extremely important come April.

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  Tags: anton+stralman, brandon+dubinsky, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, stu+bickel, winter+classic

Another Rivalry Game for the Blueshirts

It seems to be rivalry week for the New York Rangers as they get set to take on the New York Islanders tonight at Madison Square Garden.

The Blueshirts are coming off an impressive 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night at the Prudential Center. In that game, the team got strong performances from goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30 saves), Marian Gaborik (2 goals and 1 assist), Derek Stepan (3 assists), and Artem Anisimov (1 goal and 1 assist).

At the other end, the Islanders are coming off a 3-2 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets and are looking to extend their winning streak to two games with a win over the Blueshirts tonight. According the Islanders’ web site, there is a good chance that netminder Evgeni Nabakov will get the start tonight.

For the Rangers, their goal should be to stay the course. The team is currently 19-8-4 and have done a lot of damage to the Islanders at the Garden. In their last four tilts at MSG, the Blueshirts have outscored the Islanders by a 20-5 margin and have also gone 8 for 20 on the power play.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, derek+stepan, evgeni+nabokov, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, winnipeg+jets

Buzzer Beater

Apparently, I missed an exciting New York Rangers’ game last night as the Blueshirts scored with 0.1 second left to go in regulation time to beat the Phoenix Coyotes by a score of 3-2.

I was lucky enough to see the replay of Brad Richards scoring the game winner but could not believe that the team won the game in this fashion. This was a game that the Rangers needed to win to get back on the right track and to do it in that manner was certainly exciting.

It was nice to see highlights of the game and see that Marian Gaborik picked-up two goals. He had been struggling the last few games to do just that but with his two goals last night, Gaborik now has 17 goals and also leads the team in points with 27.

Of course, it was also nice to see Richards come through with the game winner. The Blueshirts are paying him a lot of money to do things like that and with 26 points in 30 games, it is easy to see that the deal is working out for all involved.

Based on the statistics, Rangers’ back-up goaltender Martin Biron had another solid game for his hockey club. Biron is now 6-1 with a 1.82 goals against average, a .934 save percentage and 1 shutout.

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  Tags: brad+richards, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, phoenix+coyotes

Full Steam Ahead

That is the kind of attitude the New York Rangers should take after beating the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers over the weekend by a combined score of 10-1.

The team is clicking on all cylinders as they are supplying the offense, solid defense and getting timely goaltending from both Henrik Lundqvist by Martin Biron. Put that all together and you have part of the winning formula for the New York Rangers.

The other part of the formula is hard work. This is something the team is getting from the likes of Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan, Dan Girardi and even Marian Gaborik has been playing well on both ends of the ice.

With the two wins over the weekend, the Blueshirts improved their record to 17-6-4, good enough for fourth in the Eastern Conference. The team is also two points behind the conference-leading Philadelphia Flyers, something that should make the Winter Classic game between the two rivals even more intriguing.

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  Tags: buffalo+sabres, dan+girardi, derek+stepan, florida+panthers, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan

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