Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

Entries with the tag: ryan callahan

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

A Glass Half Full Look at the Blueshirts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rangers Should Lean on and Follow Callahan and Stepan

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

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

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

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

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

Keep Moving Forward

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

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

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

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

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

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

Placing Some Blame on Tortorella

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Disappointing Effort for the Blueshirts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nash Needs to Lead Rangers’ Offense

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

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

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

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

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

Big on Even Strength

This is the perfect way to describe tonight's New York Rangers' win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

All goals were even strength as the Blueshirts got even two goals from Carl Hagelin (two goals and one assist) a goal from team captain Ryan Callahan, a goal by fourth liner Arron Asham (his first as a Ranger) and power forward Rick Nash (one goal and one assist) to lead the Rangers to a 5-1 victory at Madison Square Garden. With the win, the Blueshirts moved over the .500, albeit one game, mark for the first time this season.

The Rangers essentially won this game in the first period. Hagelin scored 31 seconds into the game and Callahan scored with just over five minutes to go in the period to put the Rangers up by a score of 2-0 going into the second.

In that first period, the Rangers were all over the Lightning in the offensive zone. The team got to loose pucks and were not afraid to put it on net as the team fired 15 shots on Lightning netminder Mathieu Garon, who ended up being pulled after Hagelin notched his second of the night about ten minutes into the second period.

That second period was quite interesting as a Rangers' error at their own bench allowed Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier to score his team's only goal. On the play, the Blueshirts had trouble making a line change and ended up getting caught shorhanded in their own zone. Rangers' netminder Henrik Lundqvist (19 saves) made two great saves prior to the goal but Lecavalier was able to sneak one in just under Lundqvist's outstretched left arm.

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  Tags: arron+asham, boston+bruins, carl+hagelin, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, mathieu+garon, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, tampa+bay+lightning, vincent+lecavalier

Rangers’ Young Trio Come Through in Win Over the Islanders

For the New York Rangers ot have success the rest of the way, they are going to need contributions up and down the lineup.

In a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden tonight, Blueshirts' youngsters J.T. Miller (two goals), Ryan McDonagh (one goal and one assist) and Chris Kreider (one assist) all had big games for their team. The trio produced, played well on both sides of the ice and showed head coach John Tortorella that they are here to stay (mainly Miller and Kreider).

In just his second career NHL game, Miller notched his first two NHL goals. His first one came in the first period as Miller used his hustle, great footwork and patience with the puck to beat Islanders' goaltender Evegni Nabokov.

The second one was a beauty that came on the power play (Yes, you read that right). McDonagh made a great pass from just over his own blue and hit Miller cutting towards the offensive zone blue line and Miller beat Nabokov on a partial breakaway.

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  Tags: chris+kreider, evgeni+nabokov, j.t.+miller, john+tortorella, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, ryan+mcdonagh, 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

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

And So It Begins

Here we are folks. About two and a half months after the season was suppossed to begin, the New York Rangers will open up their regular season tomorrow night in Boston with a tilt against the Boston Bruins.

For the Blueshirts, this game has been a long time coming. It marks the debut of Rick Nash and what will hopefully be a more dynamic offense both in even strength situations, and on the power play.

The game also represents the start of what some predict will be a great 48-game season for the Blueshirts. While it is too early to start talking about hockey's Holy Grail, it is definitely something that the Rangers should be able to contend for this year.

The Rangers were 3-1 last season against the Bruins. The Blueshirts outscored the B's by a 11-7 margin and in those games, got great goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, who had a memorable 40-save shutout in Boston back on February 14.  

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  Tags: boston+bruins, brad+marchand, brian+boyle, dan+girardi, david+krejci, derek+stepan, dougie+hamilton, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, johnny+boychuk, milan+lucic, nathan+horton, new+york+rangers, patrice+bergeron, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, tuukka+rask, tyler+seguin, zdeno+chara

Cautious Optimism

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

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

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

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

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

Why the Rangers Can Win the Cup This Season

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

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

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

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

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

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

Derek Stepan: Continuing on Up on Broadway

When it comes to the New York Rangers, a lot has been said about the talented youth they now have both on Broadway and in Connecticut.

One such talented youngster, Derek Stepan, will be entering his third season as an NHLer, and will be looking to continue becoming an even better hockey player than he is now. With 45 (21 goals and 24 assists) and 51 (17 goals and 34 assists) points in his first two seasons, the ceiling has yet to be reached for the 22-year-old Stepan.

There is no doubt that Stepan is a gifted hockey player. Stepan has soft hands, an eye for the net, the ability to make passes and create plays as well as the ability to play well on both sides of the puck.

His abilities were on full display in his first game in the NHL. That night against the Buffalo Sabres in Buffalo, Stepan scored a hat trick while showing the team and its fan that he could be a shining star on Broadway.

Stepan finished his rookie season with 21 goals and 24 assists for 45 points while playing in all 82 games in the regular season. In the playoffs, however, Stepan failed to score a point in a five game series loss to the Washington Capitals. 

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  Tags: buffalo+sabres, derek+stepan, john+tortorella, marc+staal, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, ryan+callahan

Rangers’ Del Zotto Must Continue to Improve

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

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

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

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

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

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

Youth Will Be Served on Broadway

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scoring, Scoring, and Scoring

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tough to Take

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devils’ Late Goal Sinks Rangers’ Comeback Efforts

At the end of the day, it does not matter how many goals you allow as long as you are the team that has more when the final buzzer sounds.

In tonight’s Game 5 between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden, it was Devils’ forward Ryan Carter’s goal with less than five minutes to go in the hockey game that lifted the Devils to a 5-3 victory. The Devils’ defense may not have been great but in the end, it was their offense that got the crucial goal to give their team a 3-2 series lead.

For the Rangers, it was the things that happened both early and late in the game that hurt them the most. In the first period, the Devils scored three goals on six shots (Stephen Gionta, Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac) to go up 3-0 less than 10 minutes into the hockey game. Then, in the third period, Carter scored the Devils to put them up 4-3 after the Blueshirts had gotten themselves back into the game and that was followed by a Zach Parise empty net goal with 1:32 to go in the hockey game.

Had it not been for those 15-minutes, this could have been a Rangers’ victory. Even when the club was down 3-0, they did not quit and battled hard to tie the game as they got goals from Brandon Prust, Ryan Callahan and Marian Gaborik.

The team was also able to take advantage of a somewhat shaky Martin Brodeur (25 saves) to get back into the hockey game. With that said, Brodeur battled to the end and made the big saves late in the third period when it mattered most and more importantly, he put his team one victory away from a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, brandon+prust, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, martin+brodeur, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, patrik+elias, ryan+callahan, ryan+carter, stephen+gionta, travis+zajac

Heads or Tails?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep Pushing Through

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

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

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

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

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

Rangers Come Up Short

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

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

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

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

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, alex+ovechkin, brad+richards, braden+holtby, jason+chimera, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, ryan+callahan, washington+capitals

Focusing on Round 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blueshirts Off to the Second Round

For the first time since the 2007-08 season, the New York Rangers are off to the second round after defeating the Ottawa Senators by a score of 2-1 in Game 7 at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers played “Ranger hockey” by blocking a ton of shots, playing physical, getting timely goal scoring and big-game goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist (26 saves). It was a style that they need to play tonight in order to win this tilt and luckily, the Rangers were able to implement it perfectly.

For starters, a lot of credit has to be given to the Rangers’ defense. Not only did they block a ton of shots and break up many passes, but they also helped score the only two goals of the game as both Marc Staal and Dan Giradi were able to put the puck in the net in the second period.

The line of Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan also had themselves a terrific game. While he has only played in five NHL games, Kreider is showing that he belongs in the NHL. He has speed, he has size, he has strength and soft hands, all skills that will make him a very, very, good NHLer.

Stepan, after not scoring a point in the first five games of the series, finished up the first round with 5 points (1G 4A). He is playing with a lot more confidence and is getting a lot of scoring chances playing with Callahan and Kreider.

Callahan played like a captain should always play. He played hard, physical and was able to help this team get into the second round of the postseason.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, boston+bruins, chris+kreider, dan+girardi, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, marc+staal, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, ryan+callahan, washington+capitals

What the Rangers Need to do to Win Game 7

While the NHL regular season does not mean much when it comes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, there are things that a team did during the regular season that helps when it comes to playing in hockey’s second season.

This is the case when it comes to the New York Rangers. Tonight, the Rangers will host Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Ottawa Senators. It is the Rangers’ first Game 7 at Madison Square Garden since they won Game 7 against the Vancouver Canucks in 1994 in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Rangers were extremely successful in the regular season and the three games they won in their series against the Senators because they played “Ranger Hockey”. Ranger hockey is something that team head coach John Tortorella came up with and it has worked to a ‘T’ when implemented correctly.

For starters, playing Ranger hockey is all about having a team first mentality. This means that playing a physical brand of hockey and blocking shots are almost mandatory and when the Rangers have won in this series, they have done both extremely well.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, brad+richards, brandon+prust, brian+boyle, dan+girardi, henrik+lundqvist, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, ryan+callahan, ryan+mcdonagh

Just Win

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

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

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

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

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

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, brad+richards, brian+boyle, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, ryan+callahan

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

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

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

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

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

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  Tags: brad+richards, craig+anderson, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, ryan+callahan

Rangers’ Offense Comes Up Big in Game 1 Win

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

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

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

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

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

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  Tags: brad+richards, brian+boyle, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, ryan+callahan

So It Begins

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

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

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

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

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

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brad+richards, carl+hagelin, daniel+alfredsson, derek+stepan, erik+karlsson, henrik+lundqvist, jason+spezza, marian+gaborik, milan+michalek, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, ryan+callahan

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 Continue To Roll

They may have already clinched a playoff spot and they may have somewhat of a tight grip on the top spot in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference but the New York Rangers are on a roll right now.

Tonight, the team won its 50th game of the year by beating the struggling Montreal Canadiens by a score of 4-1 at Madison Square Garden. The team got another strong performance out of both Marian Gaborik (1 goal and 1 assist) and Brad Richards (1 goal and 2 assists) while also getting the goaltending they needed from Henrik Lundqvist (19 saves on 20 shots).

Gaborik and Richards are on fire at the right time for their hockey club. Gaborik picked up his 39th goal of the season and added an assist while Richards added his 25th goal of the season as well as two assists.

It may have taken a long time for Gaborik and Richards to work well together on the same line but it just goes to show you that patience is everything in the NHL. Yes, Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella broke the pair up earlier in the season but was smart enough to put them together later on when their games were both going strong.

Another Rangers’ player who is on fire, believe it or not, is defenseman Michael Del Zotto. Del Zotto picked-up 2 goals (his first 2-goal game of his career) and an assist and now has 10 goals and 31 assists for 41 points on the season.

While his defensive game still needs some work, Del Zotto has had a terrific bounce back season for the Blueshirts this year. He looks a lot more confident with the puck and his offensive game looks much like it did in his first season in the league back in 2009-10.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, steven+mcdonald+extra+effort+award

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

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

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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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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No Callahan and Del Zotto Tonight for Blueshirts

From Joe Yerdon at Pro Hockey Talk:

Captain Ryan Callahan and starting defenseman Michael Del Zotto will both miss tonight’s game against the Islanders with separate ailments. For Del Zotto, he’s still dealing with the hip injury that kept him out of action last week and kept him out of New York’s loss to Chicago on Friday. Callahan is still being bothered by the foot injury he suffered when blocking a shot two weeks ago. Callahan is one of the team’s top offensive weapons and when going without him has made life harder on the team.

On the upside, Brandon Dubinsky will play tonight. Dubinsky was having issues after getting hurt in a fight recently. Meanwhile, the Rangers called up offensive wizard Mats Zuccarello from the AHL. Zuccarello has 36 points in 37 games for the Connecticut Whale this season. Should the Rangers need help in the shootout, Zuccarello has the moves to help give them an edge.

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  Tags: brandon+dubinsky, mats+zuccarello, michael+del+zotto, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan

What is Going on with Biron and the Blueshirts?

This is something that has to be asked after the New York Rangers lost to the Ottawa Senators tonight by a score of 4-1 .

Tonight, Rangers’ back-up goaltender Martin Biron allowed three goals, two on four shots in the first period, and did not look too comfortable out there. While I said earlier that it was smart to start Biron against the Senators tonight rather than the Chicago Blackhawks tonight, I now wonder why the team did not start Henrik Lundqvist in tonight’s inter-conference game and have Biron go in the non-conference game.

Anyways, in his last six games, Biron has lost two games in regulation, lost two games in overtime and has allowed 18 goals. While he did manage to win two games in this six game span (Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning), he has looked shaky, allowed a few soft goals and has lost games that the Rangers probably could have won with Lundqvist between the pipes.

This is not to take anything away from what Biron has accomplished this season. He is 11-4-2 and has pretty decent stats for a back-up goaltender in the NHL. With that said, it would be nice if he could play a bit better so that may be team head coach John Tortorella can have the option of resting Lundqvist a few more games before the team enters the postseason.

While Biron was not great against the Senators tonight, neither was the rest of the Rangers’ hockey club. Ryan Callahan, who scored his 26th goal of the season tonight in the first period, played well as did Artem Anisimov. Unfortunately for the Rangers, no one else on the team followed suit.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, carolina+hurricanes, chicago+blackhawks, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, martin+biron, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, ryan+callahan, tampa+bay+lightning

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

Not the Most Exciting But a Win Is A Win

This is exactly what can be said of last night’s 2-0 shutout by the New York Rangers over the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden.

The team’s combined for just 28 shots on goal (yes, you read that right) with only two finding the back of the net. Luckily, it was the Blueshirts that found the back of the net on goals by Carl Hagelin and Ryan Callahan.

Callahan and Hagelin have become quite the dynamic duo for the Rangers since being put on the same line. They both hustle, they both forecheck, they both go hard to the net and they both have the offensive ability to create offense.

With his goal last night, Callahan now has 25 on the season. While Callahan was a scorer in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Guelph Storm, no one was quite sure what he would be able at the NHL level. Now, it looks like he may be able to crack the 30-goal mark.

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  Tags: carl+hagelin, carolina+hurricanes, henrik+lundqvist, ilya+kovalchuk, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan

Rangers Quiet/Ready for Tonight

It appears that the 2012 NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone for the New York Rangers, with the team having acquired defenseman John Scott from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick.

So now, the Blueshirts will go forward with the team they currently have as team general manager Glen Sather and team head coach John Tortorella are showing that they believe in the hockey team they have. Given that the Blueshirts are first in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, it makes sense that team management and its coaching staff believe in this hockey club.

Now, the Blueshirts must focus on their big game tonight (7:30 p.m.) at Madison Square Garden against the New Jersey Devils. With both teams currently in a playoff spot, tonight’s tilt will certainly have a playoff feel to it as the Devils look to further advance in the Eastern Conference standings while the Rangers look to continue to have a firm hold on both the Atlantic Division and the East in general.

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  Tags: buffalo+sabres, chicago+blackhawks, glen+sather, john+scott, john+tortorella, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan

Lundqvist Dominates Bruins in 3-0 Shutout Win

There should no reason to be surprised anymore when it comes to New York Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

Last night, the “King” made 42 saves in a 3-0 shutout victory over the Boston Bruins. It was Lundqvist’s seventh shutout of the league, which puts him first in the league.

Lundqvist’s statistics are simply terrific when it comes to NHL netminders. The soon to be 30-year-old netminder now has 27 wins (4th in the league), a 1.77 goals against average (2nd in the league), a .941 save percentage (1st in the league) and as mentioned above, 7 shutouts (1st in the league).

It may have been a 3-0 win but Lundqvist was busy all night in Beantown. In the third period alone, Lundqvist made 18 saves and in the period before that, stopped 14 shots. He was simply terrific and was the main reason why the Blueshirts won the game.

The team got goals from Ryan Callahan (a power play goal…his 23rd of the season), Ryan McDonagh (his second goal in as many games), and Artem Anisimov (2 goals in his last three games). The club also did a good job of clearing rebounds, blocking shots and working hard in front of their netminder.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, boston+bruins, chicago+blackhawks, henrik+lundqvist, martin+biron, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, ryan+mcdonagh

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

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