Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

Entries with the tag: pittsburgh penguins

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

Big Week on Tap for the Blueshirts

With spring now in the air, it is certainly starting to look like playoff hockey around the NHL.

This is especially the case for the New York Rangers. This past week, the Blueshirts were extremely impressive in picking up seven out of a possible eight points in wins over the Winnipeg Jets, Pittsburgh Penguins (had a shootout loss to them as well) and the Carolina Hurricanes.

Watching the Rangers' this week, some familiarity was definitely present. In fact, in watching how the Rangers' played this week and looking at the performances they got out of certain players, one could even say that it felt like last season.

This past week helped catapult the Blueshirts into the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference. The team is just two points behind the sixth-seeded Ottawa Senators and is also four points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs.

There are several reasons why the Rangers have had success of late. For starters, Blueshirts' netminder Henrik Lundqvist has been absolutely fantastic. The "King" is 6-2-2 in his last 10 games, has not allowed more than two goals in those 10 games and has posted great numbers with a 1.57 GAA and a .947 save percentage in those games.

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  Tags: brian+boyle, carolina+hurricanes, derek+stepan, derick+brassard, henrik+lundqvist, henrik+lunqdqvist, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, pittsburgh+penguins, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, ryan+clowe, toronto+maple+leafs, winnipeg+jets

Lundqvist Steals One in Carolina For the Blueshirts

It is always said in the NHL that to win hockey games, you need good goaltending.

Tonight, New York Rangers' netminder Henrik Lundqvist went above and beyond for his club in making 48 saves to help his team to a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. For the Blueshirts, the two points keeps them in seventh place in the Eastern Conference and two points behind the Ottawa Senators and four points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs.

While the Rangers did get goals from Derek Stepan, Ryan Callahan, Rick Nash, and Brian Boyle, this game was won by Lundqvist. Time and time again, Lundqvist was in the right position to bail out his hockey club's defensive miscue's while also being the team's best player on their penalty kill.

Lundqvist stopped 14 shots in both the first and second periods and was simply spectacular in stopping 20 of 21 shots in the third period. The Hurricanes buzzed around in the Rangers' zone all night long but because of Lundqvist's great play between the pipes, did not have too much to show for it.

After losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in a shootout last night, there was some concern regarding Lundqvist's hamstring. Lundqvist showed tonight that he is as tough as they came and went out and played not only one of the best games of this season, but perhaps in his entire career.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, jaromir+jagr, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, pittsburgh+penguins, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, toronto+maple+leafs

Every Point Matters for the Blueshirts

When it comes to this part of the season, every single point matters to NHL teams that are either in a playoff spot or on the outside looking in.

This is exactly the case when it comes to the New York Rangers. With six total points up for grabs between Monday and Friday, the Blueshirts probably surprised many by picking up five.

The Blueshirts picked-up their fifth point tonight in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The game was nasty and chippy at times but the team found a way to get a point out of it and got three out of a possible four points against the top team in the Eastern Conference.

This is something that the team needs to build on and run with. With newcomers Ryan Clowe, Derick Brassard and John Moore, the Rangers have some new blood in their lineup and with this new lineup, the team has picked up three important points in the standings and did so by playing hard, scoring timely goals and not doing anything stupid to take themselves out of the game.

With tonight's tie, the Rangers move into 7th place in the Eastern Conference with the New York Islanders. The team is now just four points behind the fifth and sixth place teams, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, derick+brassard, john+moore, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+clowe, toronto+maple+leafs, washington+capitals

Another Disappointing Effort for the Blueshirts

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Perfect Road Game

That is exactly what the New York Rangers played this afternoon in their 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals.

The Blueshirts got timely goal scoring, played solid on defense, got a great game from back-up netminder Martin Biron, and did a good job at killing penalties when they needed it the most. With the exception of the first ten minutes of the game in which they looked like they were asleep, this was by far and away the best Rangers' road game of the season.

It was nice to see Rangers' forward Brian Boyle come through with his first goal of the season in the second period on a delayed penalty. On the goal, he showed patience with the puck, got into good position and showed why guys should not be afraid to put the puck on net. Hopefully, this goal will get him going.

The club also got another excellent game from Rick Nash. Nash used his size, helped create two goals and was responsible in his own end.

Another big factor in this tilt was the play of Biron. Biron was sharp in making 28 saves and did his job by keeping his team in the game, giving his club a chance to win, and stopping the pucks that he should stop.

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  Tags: brad+richards, brian+boyle, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, martin+biron, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, pittsburgh+penguins, rick+nash, toronto+maple+leafs, washington+capitals, winnipeg+jets

Tough Test on Tap Tonight for the Blueshirts

Past the quarter mark of the season, every game from here on out is going to get tougher and tougher as the league inches towards the Stanley Cup Playoiffs.

Tonight at Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers will have a tough test of their own when they take on the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens are currently 10-4-1 and find themselves atop the Northeast Division and one point behind the Eastern Conference leading Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Canadiens also come into tonight's game having won four straight. In those four games, the Canadiens have outscored their opponents 12-4 and have picked-up two shutouts in the process.

At the other end of the ice, the Blueshirts are not doing too shabby either. The club is 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and while they currently sit in the eighth spot in the East, they are not that far behind the fifth place Boston Bruins.

The Rangers are coming off a 2-1 win over the visiting Washington Capitals on Sunday night. The Blueshirts got terrific goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, great play out of Carl Hagelin and a clutch power play goal in the third period by Derek Stepan.

The game might have been one of the Rangers' best efforts of the season. They threw plenty of pucks on net, did not take many stupid penalties, were perfect on the penalty kill and did all the little things a hockey team needs to do in order to win games.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, carl+hagelin, carolina+hurricanes, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, washington+capitals

Not Going to be Easy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time To Turn Things Around

After an 0-2 start to the 48-game season, this is something that the New York Rangers need to do beginning tonight with their tilt against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden.

The Blueshirts are coming off two games in which they did not play well defensively, took some bad penalties and did not get the offense they need from guys other than Brad Richards and Rick Nash. Put these three things together and it spells disaster for the New York Rangers.

Tonight, they take on a 2-0 Bruins hockey club, with one of those wins coming against the Blueshirts this past Saturday night in Boston at the TD Garden. In the team's, the Rangers were badly outplayed and left their netminder, Henrik Lundqvist (31 saves on 34 shots), out to dry.

With the roster that the Rangers have, there is no reason to believe that this will be a long losing streak. The team does have guys that can put the puck in the net, does have one of the best defensive corps in the league and also has one of the best goaltending tandems in the NHL.

With that said, however, there is still some work to be done. For starters, the Rangers need to do a much better job in front of their goaltender. Too often on Saturday and Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, both Lundqvist and back-up netminder Martin Biron were hung out to dry as the opposition looked for rebounds or got into great position on top of the crease or in the slot. 

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  Tags: boston+bruins, brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, rick+nash

Not Putting It Together

Through the first two games of the season, this seems to be the problem for the New York Rangers.

After losing to the Boston Bruins last night at the TD Garden by a score of 3-1, the Blueshirts were once again a step behind, this time tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden. The Blueshirts lost their second straight game to go 0-2 after losing by a score of 6-3.

Once Rangers' captain Ryan Callahan tied the score up at 1-1 with a power play goal in the first period, things seemed to fall apart for the Blueshirts. They allowed two more goals in the first period to go down 3-1 and then at one point in the third period, the team was down 5-1 before Taylor Pyatt put one in for the Rangers to make it 5-2.

Meanwhile, for the second straight game, the Penguins got the offense they needed to win a hockey game. The team got goals from James Neal (2), Tyler Kennedy, Matt Niskanen, Pascal Dupuis and Kris Letang while getting good enough goaltending from Tomas Vokoun (30 saves on 33 shots). 

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  Tags: boston+bruins, henrik+lundqvist, james+neal, kris+letang, martin+biron, matt+niskanen, new+york+rangers, pascal+dupuis, pittsburgh+penguins, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, taylor+pyatt, tomas+vokoun, tyler+kennedy

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

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

Playing for their Playoff Lives

That is the position the New York Rangers have put themselves in after losing Games 4 and 5 to the Ottawa Senators, giving the opposition a 3-2 series lead.

Based on the way the 2012 postseason has gone so far, nothing should come as a surprise. Heck, the Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins, three of the league’s best teams, have already been eliminated.

Another top team in the NHL has a chance to be eliminated tonight. If the Rangers lose tonight at Scotiabank Place, their terrific regular season will have meant nothing.

Throughout the regular season, the Blueshirts were a team that never gave up. They were able to protect leads, make comebacks late in third periods and played with a never say die attitude.

The Rangers will be playing for their playoff lives tonight and will need to have that same mentality that made them so successful in the postseason. If they don’t, it’s off to the golf course for a way too early offseason for the Blueshirts.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, carl+hagelin, craig+anderson, daniel+alfredsson, detroit+red+wings, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, pittsburgh+penguins, vancouver+canucks

Move On and Focus

There really is not too much to say regarding the New York Rangers’ 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins last night.

Yes, we can easily rehash Penguins’ defenseman Brooks Orpik’s hit on Derek Stepan and also what Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella had to say about it. With that said, it does not make sense to go over it again as we all know what was done and what was said and we all have an opinion on it.

Instead, it is time to shift our focus to the last regular season game tomorrow night against the Washington Capitals. The Capitals managed to clinch a playoff spot last night with a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers and are just two points behind the Panthers for the top spot in the Southeast Division.

The Capitals will play hard tomorrow night to try and clinch the division and home ice in the first round of the playoffs. This is a team that knows how to put the puck in the net, even though they have not done enough of that this season.

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  Tags: brooks+orpik, derek+stepan, florida+panthers, john+tortorella, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, 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

Rangers Set to Take on The Canadiens

Things are certainly in flux when it comes to the Montreal Canadiens these days.

Their GM was fired yesterday, their head coach will more than likely be gone after the season and the team is currently in last place in the entire Eastern Conference. Not so rosy, right?

This should be good news to the New York Rangers as they look to build up on their five point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for first in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference when they take on the Canadiens tonight at Madison Square Garden. The Blueshirts are 7-3 in their last 10 games and are on a three game winning streak heading into tonight’s tilt.

The Rangers are coming off a 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets, a game in which they showed their never say die style. The team came back from a 2-0 deficit and scored four unanswered goals to win the hockey game.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, winnipeg+jets

King of The Hill

That is exactly what the New York Rangers are tonight after their 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg.

This was a gutsy performance by a team that never quits. Tonight, the Blueshirts came back from a 2-0 deficit on goals by defenseman Michael Del Zotto (1 goal and 1 assist) and team captain Ryan Callahan (1 goal and 1 assist).

After that, it was the team’s scoring depth that took over the game. Brian Boyle (1 goal) scored the game-winning goal just over three minutes into the third period followed by a power play goal from Derek Stepan (1 goal).

It is performances like tonight that the Blueshirts are going to need if they want to succeed in the postseason. There could be nights when the likes of Marian Gaborik (2 assists) Brad Richards (1 assist) and even Callahan (1 goal and 1 assist) are shut down so when that happens, the team’s scoring depth needs to step up and take care of business.

Speaking of taking care of business, Rangers’ starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist did that tonight by stopping 22 of 24 shots for his 38th victory of the season. It was his 250th career win, which puts him tied for 44th on the all-time wins list by a netminder with the legendary Johnny Bower.

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  Tags: brian+boyle, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, johnny+bower, michael+del+zotto, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan, winnipeg+jets

Just Win Hockey Games

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

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

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

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

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

Finding Ways to Win

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not 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

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

One Point Closer to the 100-point mark

Due to having a men’s league hockey game last night, I was not able to catch any of the New York Rangers 2-1 overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings last night at Madison Square Garden..

Based on the highlights I did manage to see, I know that Rangers’ forward Brad Richards scored a nice first period goal and that team captain Ryan Callahan scored his 27th goal of the season on his 27th birthday in overtime to give his team a much needed two points. Both of these players continue to produce for their hockey club and come playoff time, that could end up going a long way.

What I can tell you is that based on the way the Pittsburgh Penguins are playing right now, the Blueshirts are going to need to continue to pick-up points in the standings. The Penguins are easily the league’s hottest team right now and are clicking on all cylinders.

The Rangers will be back in action tomorrow night to close out their homestand against the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres are currently tied with the Washington Capitals for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference so you know that they are going to be fighting hard to win the hockey game tomorrow night at MSG.

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  Tags: brad+richards, buffalo+sabres, detroit+red+wings, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan

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

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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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

Get it Back

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blueshirts Overpowered by the Penguins in 5-2 loss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FROM EARLIER


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UPDATE: Biron to start tonight/Focus on the Now

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

From Earlier

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

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

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

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

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

A Win is a Win

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

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

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

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

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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

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

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

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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Rangers Look to Regain Focus Tonight against the Sabres

After last night’s 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders, the New York Rangers need to get back on track with a win tonight against the Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden.

For both teams, it will be a back-to-back situation as the Sabres are coming off a 2-1 shootout win over the Boston Bruins. The Sabres have a lot to play for as they find themselves just five points out of the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference after winning three straight and going 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.

While the Rangers may be first in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, this game should be important to them as well. Over the last week or so, the team has gotten away from the things that made them successful in the first place and that has really come through in their last four games against the Chicago Blackhawks (4-2 loss), Columbus Blue Jackets (3-2 overtime win), Pittsburgh Penguins (2-0 loss) and Islanders (4-3 shootout loss).

On the other side, the Sabres have been playing some terrific hockey. They are getting great goaltending from Ryan Miller, who now looks like his old self, while also getting a lot of offense from the likes of Derek Roy, Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, and Drew Stafford.

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Was This Coming?

This is what many New York Rangers’ fans are probably wondering about after watching the Blueshirts get shutout by the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight by a score of 2-0.

The club’s offense took 27 shots, all of which were turned away with relative ease by Penguins’ netminder Marc-Andre Fleury. The Rangers made it easy for Fleury by shooting directly into him and not getting to the real scoring areas in order to put the puck in the net.

The score could have been much worse if not for the play of Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist turned in another strong performance for his hockey club in turning away 29 of 31 Penguins’ shots. Lundqvist was especially good in the first period in stopping all 11 Penguins’ shots as the Rangers came out flat.

The truth of the matter is that this was more than likely coming for the Rangers. They were terrible against the Chicago Blackhawks last Thursday night, barely beat the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday night and were shutout tonight in Pittsburgh.

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A 60-Minute Effort

That is exactly what the New York Rangers put in last night in their 3-2 overtime victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden.

The game may have gone to overtime but this is a game that the Blueshirts controlled from start to finish. The team put pucks to the net, controlled the puck along the boards and looked confident in making plays with the puck in both the offense and defensive zones.

The perfect example of this was the overtime goal scored by Derek Stepan. Michael Del Zotto started it all by rushing the puck up the ice, giving it to Marian Gaborik, getting it back from Gaborik, going to the net, getting a lucky pass back to Gaborik who then fired a pass across to Del Zotto to the left of goaltender Steve Mason and then Del Zotto zipped a pass to the right of Mason to Stepan who fired it home to give the Rangers the victory.

One thing that hurt the Rangers in this hockey game was face-offs. Both Blue Jackets’ goals came off of face-off wins, including the game-tying goal by Rick Nash.

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, derek+stepan, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, rick+nash, steve+mason

Talking Puck with Katie Baker of Grantland.com

As we all know, there are a lot of terrific hockey bloggers out there.

One that has really become one of the best this season is Katie Baker of Grantland.com. Katie was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to tell us about how she got into hockey, how she became a hockey blogger, how she got the hockey blogging gig at Grantland.com and more.

PH: How did you get into hockey?
KB: I was in fifth grade during the parallel playoff runs by the Knicks and Rangers in 1994 and that’s really one of the things that got me hooked. Basically every night for like three months there was either a big basketball or hockey game on, and that’s when I started listening to WFAN and begging my dad to bring home the Post and New York Times every day from the office. As the years went by I got even more into hockey thanks in part to the growth of the Internet—IRC, Usenet, etc—which connected me with other fans.

PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player? Why?
KB: Rangers. I loved Brian Leetch a lot but Mark Messier was always my favorite. I went through kind of an awkward phase in my adolescence where I read a ton of books on the 80’s Oilers and I always felt horribly robbed that I had been too young to really see those teams operate. So Messier was a link to that, and I mean, he was just a complete badass. He was a borderline mythological figure in my eyes. This paragraph can also be used to describe Esa Tikkanen, btw.

PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to be a f/t writer/blogger?
KB: I always loved to write. As a kid I would make little books and all that, and throughout high school and college I wrote for the school newspapers. (Even throughout my teens I did a ton of “writing,” if you can call it that, on various message boards.) I also read as much quality writing, and sportswriting in particular, that I could. My junior year in college was the big fork in the road. I got two summer internships, one in finance and one at a sports magazine. I took the finance job and hoped at the time that in five years time my writing would still be the same and I could always go back and try that out if I wasn’t happy with what I was doing. That’s basically what happened, although it took six years not five.

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  Tags: grantland.com, katie+baker, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins

Do Not Take Lightly

This is the attitude that the New York Rangers should have going into tonight’s tilt with the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden.

The Penguins may be without Sidney Crosby and some of their other better players but they have definitely picked-up their play in the last few games. Guys like Evgeni Malkin, who should be considered the Penguins’ most valuable player right now, and James Neal are doing everything they possibly can to keep their club afloat while Crosby is still recovering.

Furthermore, defenseman Kris Letang will be making his return to the Penguins’ line-up tonight. This will give the Penguins some added firepower and as well as a lethal threat on the power play.

Like team head coach John Tortorella said two nights ago, the club should not be thinking about the Stanley Cup right now. This Blueshirts’ hockey club has a long way to go and needs to take things on a game-by-game basis, something that has worked well for them so far this season.

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  Tags: evegni+malkin, henrik+lundqvist, james+neal, john+tortorella, kris+letang, nashville+predators, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan, sidney+crosby

Holding Onto the Top Spot

That is what the New York Rangers continue to do as the team picked-up a 3-0 win over the Nashville Predators last night at Madison Square Garden.

Due to playing in a hockey game of my own, I was not able to catch any of the game. With that said, it was nice to see Henrik Lundqvist get another shutout and the team come out with a much better defensive performance than they did against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night in Montreal.

It was also nice to see that John Mitchell scored another goal for the Blueshirts. No one really knew whether or not Mitchell would fit in with this Rangers’ team but he has come in and gotten the job done by working hard every night, forechecking hard, going to the net and cashing in on opportunities when they present themselves.

This is a team that continues to show that it can respond well after a loss. Too many times in the past few seasons would the Rangers follow up a loss with another bad game but this season, team head coach John Tortorella has seemed to keep that to a minimum.

With the win, the Rangers improved to 29-11-4 for 62 points. The team has a one point edge over the Detroit Red Wings for first in the league and a three point edge over the Boston Bruins for first in the Eastern Conference.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, detroit+red+wings, evgeni+malkin, henrik+lundqvist, james+neal, john+mitchell, john+tortorella, montreal+canadiens, nashville+predators, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby

Rangers Steal Two Points in Pittsburgh

It was not pretty but the New York Rangers managed to find a way to win a hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 3-1.

The number one reason why the Blueshirts were able to win this game was the play of their goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist was outstanding in making 37 saves on 38 shots. When the team lacked energy and the defense was not there to help him, Lundqvist did his usual to step up and provide the goaltending that they needed in order to win the game.

Rangers’ forward Brandon Dubinsky had himself another strong game. “Dubi” picked-up a shorthanded goal in the second period off a great feed from Ryan Callahan and also picked up an assist on Brad Richards’s goal in the first period.

The team also got a solid performance from defenseman Ryan McDonagh. McDonagh logged over 26 minutes in ice time and did a great job of blocking shots, clearing the crease, breaking up passes and playing within himself, something he has done all season long for the Blueshirts.

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  Tags: brandon+dubinsky, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers, phoenix+coyotes, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan, ryan+mcdonagh

Rangers Come Through Again With Win Over Panthers

It seems like every single time the New York Rangers play, they find a way to win.

The team did just that tonight by defeating the Florida Panthers 3-2 in overtime on a goal by Marian Gaborik at Madison Square Garden. Gaborik had been buzzing around the Panthers’ net all night long and was finally rewarded when he got the overtime winner, his 23rd of the season.

With the win, the Rangers improved to 25-9-4 to remain in first in the Eastern Conference by 1 point over the Boston Bruins. The win was also the Blueshirts’ 11th on home ice as the team now has a 12-3-2 record on Garden Ice.

Besides Gaborik, the Rangers also got solid performances from Brad Richards (1 assist), Derek Stepan (1 assist), Ryan Callahan (1 goal), Michael Del Zotto (1 assist) and Dan Girardi. It was also nice to see defenseman Marc Staal get a bit more ice time with 12:51 minutes tonight.

Even though the Panthers scored first and also managed to knot the game up at 2-2, the Rangers controlled most of the game. The Blueshirts outshot the Panthers 41-21 and did a terrific job of getting pucks deep, forechecking and going hard to the net.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, brad+richards, dan+girardi, derek+stepan, florida+panthers, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan

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