Entries with the tag: st. louis blues
With the Stanley Cup Playoffs right around the corner, every hockey fan is dreaming about the potential of their favorite hockey team.
Puckheads across North America are starting to think about 16 wins, big-time performances, clutch goals, big saves and some great hockey in general. As of this moment, the potential is limitless.
With that said, here are four somewhat surprising teams that you do not want to end up playing in the first round should your team clinch a spot in the postseason this year:
- New York Islanders
As a whole, the New York Islanders may not have a lot of playoff experience but boy, are they hungry to make some noise when it matters the most.
They are playing some of their best hockey at the crucial point of the season and are getting great performances from their young players. The Islanders are fast, they go to the net and they can score.
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Tags: alex+ovechkin, brian+elliott, columbus+blue+jackets, evgeni+nabokov, ken+hitchcock, new+york+islanders, sergei+bobrovsky, st.+louis+blues, washington+capitals
Yesterday evening, I had the honor and privilege of speaking to one of my hockey idols, John Davidson, President of Hockey Operations for the St. Louis Blues.
JD was kind enough to take time out of his very busy schedule to talk about his team getting into the playoffs, how the team’s fan base has been, the influece of head coach Ken Hitchcock and much, much more.
St Louis No Longer Singing The Blues
While things certainly did not look too rosy in the beginning of the season for the St. Louis Blues, the hockey club got their act together and is now one of the top teams in the entire National Hockey League.
With over 100 points and currently atop the Western Conference, the Blues have surprised many this season. However, when looking at how the organization has evolved and developed over the season, it really should not come as a surprise to anyone just how successful the Blues have been this year.
It starts at the top with President of Hockey Operations John Davidson and team General Manager Doug Armstrong. When things were not going exactly as planned for the first month of the season, the two executives had to make a tough decision and fire then head coach Davis Payne.
“Davis was a good, good hockey coach,” Davidson explained. “We just felt that at the time, we needed to get some experience for our hockey club.”
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
With all the concussions that are happening in the National Hockey League this year, I figured now would be a good time to do an e-mail interview with an NHLer who has had one and that is Ian Lapperriere.
Lapperriere has not played in the NHL since the 2009-10 season due to post-concussion syndrome. Ian was kind enough to take the time to tell us about how he got into hockey, how he became an NHLer, why he likes Twitter and more.
PH: How did you get into hockey?
IL: My parents put me on skates as soon as I could walk. When I turned 5, I joined my first team.
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player? Why?
IL: I am from Montreal so the Canadiens were my favorite team. Guy Lafleur and Guy Carboneau were my favorite players.
After the St. Louis Blues stumbled out of the gate, many hockey fans and media alike thought that this was going to be another one of those playoff-less season for the hockey club.
Well, a little more than halfway through the 2011-12 NHL campaign, it appears that those fortunes have changed. The Blues are currently fifth in the Western Conference with a 25-12-6 record and 56 points.
One main reason for the club’s turnaround has been the coaching of Ken Hitchcock. Since taking over the Blues for Davis Payne, Hitchcock has gone 21-11-0-5. “Hitch” has the team playing smart, responsible hockey at both ends of the ice and has his team believing that they can accomplish big things this season.
Secondly, the team has been getting outstanding goaltending from both Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak. Elliott has been a tremendous surprise for the Blues this season after signing a two-way contract prior to the season starting. Elliott has rewarded the Blues by going 15-5-1 in 22 games with a goals against average of 1.68, a .937 save percentage and 5 shutouts.
That is the perfect word to describe last night’s 4-1 New York Rangers’ loss to the St. Louis Blues.
The team had trouble generating sustained offense, looked lost in their own zone and generally disinterested in winning the hockey game. Put those three things together and it certainly spell l-o-s-s for the Blueshirts.
While St. Louis Blues’ netminder Brian Elliott did make 25 saves in the hockey game last night, the quality scoring chances that the Rangers generated were minimal. There were too many shots from the outside, not enough shots from prime scoring areas and because of the way Elliott plays, no rebounds to pounce on.
At the other end, the Rangers allowed 36 shots against and despite allowing four goals, including a fluky one off of defenseman Dan Girardi, Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist was not terrible and made 32 saves in a losing effort.
The New York Rangers head into St. Louis tonight take on a streaking St. Louis Blues’ hockey club.
Coming off a 1-0 loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, tonight’s tilt will be a test for the Rangers’ offense to see how they respond. After firing 34 shots on goal against the Stars, it is easy to bet that the Rangers will come out firing pucks tonight whether it is on goaltender Brian Elliott or Jaroslav Halak.
According to Rangers’ beat writer Andrew Gross of The Record, team head coach John Tortorella wants his club to be aware of how well the Blues’ play defensive hockey.
“I thought Dallas was very structured, the same thing tonight, St. Louis is going to be a very structured, defensive-oriented team, we just have to stay within ourselves and not make a big mistake where it’s in our net.”
At least the team’s offense did as they were shutout by Richard Bachman and the Dallas Stars by a score of 1-0 at Madison Square Garden.
The Blueshirts fired 34 shots at Bachman but the 24-year-old rookie netminder did his part and turned them all away for his second straight win. He was especially terrific in the third period when the Blueshirts were going for the equalizer.
Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist did his part to give his team an opportunity to win a hockey game by stopping 27 of 28 shots. The goal he allowed to Trevor Daley late in the third period was certainly not his fault and instead, was due to a Blueshirts’ turnover.
There is not much else to say about the game except that it was one that the Rangers could have and should have won. It was not a terrible effort by the team but it was one that resulted in no goals for.
The Rangers will be back in action on Thursday night against a streaking St. Louis Blues hockey club.
Over at TrueHockey.com today, I explored that topic:
When looking at the Central division, it’s possible all five teams could clinch playoff spots in the extremely competitive Western Conference.
Detroit Red Wings
Even without the likes of Brian Rafalski, Chris Osgood, Kris Draper and Mike Modano, the Detroit Red Wings could very well be the class of the Central Division once again this season.
The Red Wings still have guys like Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Tomas Holmstrom, Niklas Kronwall and goaltender Jimmy Howard. These players all had solid seasons last year and got the Wings to within one game of the Western Conference Finals.
This team will be the team to beat not only in the division, but possibly the entire conference.
Click here for more on the rest of the division.
Tonight’s 2-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens is one that I am sure the New York Rangers would love to have back.
The team let a 1-0 lead slip away at Madison Square Garden in the second period and then allowed the Habs to break the tie in the third period, both coming on goals from Benoit Pouliot. The second one was questionable considering the angle Pouliot shot it from and beat goaltender Henrik Lundqvist but nevertheless, it was the goal that sunk the Blueshirts.
This was somewhat of a “blah” effort from the Blueshirts. They were not as tight defensively as they were in their last two games against the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues and their offense could not get the timely or clutch goal to give the team a victory.
Wojtek Wolski, making his Rangers’ debut, had a glorious chance late in the third period but it hit the post and was then cleared from the crease. Other than that, Wolski’s debut was solid as he showed his solid stick handling skills while also creating some offensive opportunities.
UPDATE: New York Rangers’ defenseman Marc Staal and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist were selected to the NHL All-Star game. This is certainly a well-deserved honor for both as Staal is clearly the team’s best defenseman and one of the best shutdown defensemen in the National Hockey League while Lundqvist is the backbone of the team and one of the best goaltenders in the league.
UPDATE 2: Rangers’ rookie Derek Stepan will participate in the Honda NHL Superskills Competition.
EARLIER: Tonight’s game between the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens at Madison square Garden could feature a number of firsts.
To start, Wojtek Wolski will make his Rangers’ debut tonight after being traded to the team yesterday in exchange for defenseman Michal Rozsival. Wolski definitely has what it takes to produce in the league but much like Alex Frolov, he needs to show that he can do it at a consistent level. The Rangers are giving him a fresh start and if he ends up succeeding, the Blueshirts will be all the better for it considering he is just 24-years-old.
Also, tonight is the expected Rangers debut of Wojtek Wolski. Even though Sean Avery has played well the past three games on Marian Gaborik’s left wing, I suspect Wolski will get a chance to skate with Gaborik and Artem Anisimov with Avery skating with Drury and, most likely, Kris Newbury. But we’ll see about the line combinations later on.
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Tags: alex+frolov, andrew+gross, carolina+hurricanes, dallas+stars, michal+rozsival, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, ranger+rants, st.+louis+blues, wojtek+wolski
The New York Rangers continue to find ways to win on the road.
In their 15th road victory (league leader) of the season. the Blueshirts defeated the St. Louis Blues by a score of 2-1 by playing a perfect road game. The team got timely goals from Derek Stepan and Sean Avery, solid defense and excellent goaltending from back-up netminder Martin Biron (25 saves).
With that said however, it was reported today that the Rangers will be without forward Alex Frolov for the rest of the season with the following:
New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that Alex Frolov has suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, a second degree sprain of his medial collateral ligament and a medial meniscus tear in his right knee, and will undergo season-ending surgery.
I am not sure exactly what any of that is but it is obviously bad enough to keep Frolov out the rest of the season.
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Tags: alex+frolov, chris+drury, marian+gaborik, montreal+canadies, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, st.+louis+blues, vancouver+canucks, vinny+prospal.+ryan+callahan
Facing one of the league’s best teams is always a daunting task in the National Hockey League for any hockey club.
With that said, the New York Rangers have proved to folks this year that they can work hard for their victories and they did just that in a 3-2 shootout win over the Dallas Stars last night in Dallas. For the Blueshirts, it was their league leading 14th road victory of the season and a victory that should prove to Ranger fans that this is a much different hockey club than last season.
Once again, the Rangers’ won with youth last night contributing in a big way. Artem Anisimov scored the tying goal mid-way through the third period with a terrific wrist shot that beat Stars’ netminder Kari Lehtonen and then in the shootout, Mats Zuccarello came through once again and scored the winning goal.
Folks, this Rangers’ team does not back down. Sure, there may be games where they are clearly outmatched but these Blueshirts always put in a good fight and do whatever they can to come away with at least one or two points. Last night, the Rangers’ were not overmatched but they were definitely facing one of the upper echelon clubs in the NHL.
As we head a bit further into the month of January, games start to become increasingly important and points become spared as teams begin to really figure out whether they are a playoff team or not.
Heading into tonight’s game with the Dallas Stars, the New York Rangers currently find themselves seventh in the Eastern Conference with 49 points. They are just one point behind the sixth place Atlanta Thrashers, three points behind the fifth place Washington Capitals and fourth place Philadelphia Flyers and seven points behind the Atlantic Division leading Pittsburgh Penguins.
With all of that in mind, four points are on the line this weekend as the Blueshirts take on the Dallas Stars tonight and the St. Louis Blues tomorrow night. The Stars are currently third in the Western Conference with 52 points while the Blues are seventh in the West with 46 points. As such, these are big games against two playoff calibre hockey teams.
For many years, New York Rangers’ fans wanted a team that worked hard every night, won hockey games and had a bunch of young players on the roster.
Believe it or not, Rangers’ general manager Glen Sather has succeeded in making that happen and it showed last night in the team’s 2-1 overtime victory last night over the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden.
The key players in last night’s victory are all home-grown Blueshirts and all contributed to a Blueshirt victory. Defenseman Matt Gilroy scored to give the Rangers’ a 1-0 lead off a great feed from Mats Zuccarello.
In what was supposed to be a game in which the New York Rangers took advantage of a team playing in back-to-back games, it was instead a 2-0 shutout loss to the St. Louis Blues at Madison Square Garden.
The Blueshirts looked very out-of-sync and one has to wonder if that was due to the shape of the Garden ice or to the team’s actual play. I would say it was a little bit of both as the puck was bouncing all over the place and the team had trouble getting the puck on their stick.
Unlike his first game at MSG, this loss cannot be blamed on back-up goaltender Martin Biron. Biron was strong between the pipes and did everything he could to give the team in front of him a chance to win the hockey game.
It must be said that guys like Derek Stepan, Derek Boogaard and Evegny Grachev did not play strong hockey games. Stepan looks snake bitten while Boogaard and Grachev look lost. It may be time to go back to the drawing board with these guys.
In what’s a curious coaching decision by New York Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella, the team will be going with Martin Biron in goal when they take on the St. Louis Blues at Madison Square Garden.
The only reason why I say it’s a curious decision is because Henrik Lundqvist is coming off a shutout against the New Jersey Devils on Friday night at the Prudential Center. At the same time, I guess Tortorella wants to stay the course with Biron and makes sure he gets playing time because if they end up making the playoffs come April, they are going to want a healthy Lundqvist between the pipes.
For the Blueshirts, tonight will be a good oppotunity to take advantage of a team that is coming off a shootout victory last night against the Boston Bruins. The Blues will certainly be tired so it will be important that the New York Rangers come out and take care of business at home, a place that they have not played well in this season.
It’s also important for the Rangers to start getting goals from someone other than Brandon Dubinsky. Yes, it’s great that Dubinsky is tied for first in goal scoring in the National Hockey League but it would be great of guys like Alexander Frolov, Sean Avery, Derek Stepan or Ruslan Fedotenko could put the puck in the net.
For the longest time, the New York Rangers used to be a solid team at home in Madison Square Garden.
This year, the story has been quite different as the team extended its record to 5-2 after shutting out the New Jersey Devils by a score of 3-0 at the Prudential Center.
For the Blueshirts, it was quite simple. Throw pucks to the net, finish your checks, block shots, let Henrik Lundqvist see the puck and play disciplined. When the Rangers are able to do that consistently, they are usually able to pick up two points.
Brandon Dubinsky had another great game for his hockey club as he picked up two goals, giving him 10 goals in 14 games. Believe it or not folks, that’s good enough to be tied for first in the NHL with Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos and Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp.
Normally, I’d have a lot to write about after last night’s stinker of a game by the New York Rangers in a 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues. However and unfortunately, I’m swamped at work.
As such, feel free to consider this an open thread to discuss all things Blueshirts - good or bad!
From good friend of the blog Jim Cerny at NewYorkRangers.com:
“Things can change fast,” Lundqvist said of the Rangers’ ninth-place standing in the East. “We’re right there, but there’s not much time left. Our level of urgency and energy has to be at peak levels every game.”
Certainly, Lundqvist’s effort and performance on Tuesday can not be questioned. Lundqvist turned in another terrific start in goal, making 32 saves. The only two goals he surrendered came off deflections, including the game-winner off teammate Artem Anisimov’s skate, plus there was an empty-net score.
Sean Avery also provided a boost to the Rangers. Playing with grit, fire, and skill, Avery had a second straight strong outing after being benched last Friday in Atlanta. Avery notched his third goal in two games, racked up 17 penalty minutes, and was a thorn in Montreal’s collective side all night long.
“We need all the guys to play with that kind of energy and urgency,” said Lundqvist. “The last two games, he’s been really good for us, but we need everyone to play at that level of energy.”
Click here for more on tonight’s big game for the Blueshirts.
The Blueshirts did just that on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden this afternoon as they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 3-1.
After being a healthy scratch on Friday night in Atlanta, Rangers’ pest Sean Avery came out and got the job done. He scored two goals, was engaged in the action and played on the right edge of the line. He was the Sean Avery of old and the Sean Avery that the Rangers need to have going forward if they want to make the playoffs.
The Rangers also got terrific play out of Chris Drury (2 assists) and Erik Christensen (2 assists). Since returning from the Olympic break, Drury has looked comfortable in his role and for him, that is exactly what he needs to succeed. Sure, the Rangers signed Drur at “first-line” money but this is a player who is a second or third line center who can win you face-offs, kill penalties, and score clutch goals. He may not be scoring clutch goals but he is certainly playing a heckuva lot better than he did prior to the break.
The team was also strong defensively as they only allowed the Flyers to take 18 shots. Henrik Lundqvist made the big saves when he needed to and Michael Del Zotto was especially strong. Del Zotto was not afraid to be physcial, something every team needs to be when taking on the Broadstreet Bullies.
The New York Rangers snapped their four game losing streak last night in Atlanta by defeating the Thrashers by a score of 5-2.
It was nice to see both Marian Gaborik (1 goal, 2 assists) and Vinny Prospal (2 goals, 1 assist) wake up and get the offense going while it was also nice to see goaltender Henrik Lundqvist make 29 saves in picking up his 27th victory of the season. It’s amazing what the team can do when these three all play well.
Since this is a team game, I figured I’d also mention the strong play of Ryan Callahan (1 goal, 1 assist) and Chris Drury (2 assists). Both Callahan and Drury seem to be the only Blueshirts who have played well since returning from the Olympic break.
However, let’s not get carried away here folks. Yes, it was a win and yes, it was nice to pickup two points. Remember though, only the top eight teams from each conference make the playoffs and if the playoffs were to start today, the Blueshirts would be on the outside looking in as they currently sit in ninth place, three points behind the eighth place Boston Bruins and five points behind the seventh place Montreal Canadiens.
The title above is perfect when it comes to talking about the New York Rangers.
In three of their last four games, the Blueshirts have picked up four out of eight points and have played well enough to stay in games. They lost in OT to the Pittsburgh Penguins last Thursday night. They lost 2-0 to the Washington Capitals on Saturday night and lost in OT on Sunday night to the Buffalo Sabres.
These were all games that the Rangers played well enough to earn two points instead of 1 or 0. However, the team is still two points out of the eighth and final playoff spot and the road to the end of the regular season certainly does not get any easier.
The Rangers had a golden opportunity to beat the Buffalo Sabres in overtime on Sunday night but were not able to do so. Sure, the team battled hard to tie the game up at 1-1 with less than two minutes to go but were once again foiled in OT, much like they were against the Pittsburgh Penguins last Thursday night.
I’ve been checking out some New York Ranger blogs these last two days and there was one common theme used to describe this team: mediocre.
I first came across that word in the comments section in one of the blogs I posted on Friday. Here is part of the comment:
At some point reporters covering this team, bloggers, fans and the coach and GM of this team will wake up and acknowledge what objective observers already know, i.e., that the Rangers are a MEDIOCRE TO LOUSY TEAM.
In the ever tight Eastern Conference, every point is crucial for the next two and a half months.
This weekend, the New York Rangers have a chance to pick up four of them when they take on the St. Louis Blues tonight in St. Louis and the Montreal Canadiens tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden.
It was obviously a tough week for the Blueshirts as they had no goals on 83 shots in two games, got shut out by two Brodeur’s, and looked extremely frustrated as the team should have picked up at least two or three points. However, with this week’s setback, the Rangers now find themselves sixth in the Eastern Conference, just two points behind the fifth place Boston Bruins but also one point out of the eighth and final spot.
Two games, 83 shots and no goals. Isn’t there something wrong with this stat?
The New York Rangers have done everything they can to throw the puck on net but to no avail, as Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils) and Mike Brodeur (Ottawa Senators) shut them out on Tuesday night and Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
This must make Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist furious as he has stopped 75 of 76 shots in the last two games combined, doing everything he can to get his club two points.
Much like I did last Friday, I am going to list a few questions related to what’s going on in the hockey world.
Please feel free to post your thoughts on the following questions in the comment section of the blog:
- Will the St. Louis Blues make the playoffs? Why or why not?
- What is happening to the New Jersey Devils? Why are they struggling so much?
- Is this the last hurrah in Minnesota for Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire? If so, where do you think he will end up coaching next? Why?
- Have the Montreal Canadiens finally righted the ship after a dismal February and early March? What have they done differently?
- Does anyone really believe that Philadelphia Flyers’ netminder Martin Biron can lead his club to the Stanley Cup?
- Are the Chicago Blackhawks good enough to make a deep run in the playoffs?
- Do the Detroit Red Wings have good enough goaltending to get them back to the Stanley Cup Finals?
Let’s hear your thoughts!
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: chicago+blackhawks, detroit+red+wings, jacques+lemaire, martin+biron, minnesota+wild, montreal+canadiens, new+jersey+devils, philadelphia+flyers, st.+louis+blues
With the way the New York Rangers are playing, it’s hard to believe that they still hold a playoff spot. Currently, the team is tied for the fifth place with the Montreal Canadiens in the tight Eastern Conference.
The truth is that they really don’t deserve to be where they are right now. The team had the benefit of an easy schedule in the regular season, which allowed them to pick up a ton of points and build a solid cushion. Most fans and pundits alike figured that this cushion would be enough to help the team to solidify a playoff spot.
Unfortunately, they were wrong as the Blueshirts are currently up just five points over the ninth place Carolina Hurricanes, a lead that is quickly evaporating as the team continues to drop games left and right, much like they did this weekend with losses to the Florida Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers and the St. Louis Blues.
Uh, Houston, we have a problem.
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Tags: carolina+hurricanes, eastern+conference, florida+panthers, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, sean+avery, st.+louis+blues, tom+renney