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Goal Line Report

Entries with the tag: tampa bay lightning

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

Making a Difference

Returing from a unpsecified injury after missing the last four games, New York Rangers' forward Rick Nash showed how much of a difference he can  make when he is in the lineup. 

In the last four games, all losses for the Blueshirts, the team's offense was quite stagnant. There were not enough pucks thrown on net, there was no creativity, there was no movement and there was not enough being done to generate quality scoring chances.

Insert Nash back into the lineup and the Blueshirts become a different hockey club as Nash creates offense in a variety of ways. Tonight in the team's 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, Nash got open for breakaways, made terrific moves with the puck to generate quality scoring chances, helped set up a goal, scored a highlight goal in the third period and was not afraid to put pucks on net whether it was from the outside, down by the crease or in the slot.

With Nash going hard and doing everything he can to generate offense, the rest of the team seemed to follow suit. In the first period, the Rangers tied a season high with 20 shots while allowing just three. 

Then in the second period, the Blueshirts continued to pile on the shots and wound up outshooting the Lightning 15-8. If you are keeping track, the team outshot the Lightning 35-11 through two periods.

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  Tags: buffalo+sabres, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, tampa+bay+lightning

Figuring Out New Ways to Win

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trying to Build Consistency

That is something the New York Rangers will look to do tonight when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

On Thursday night against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden, the Blueshirts skated away with a 4-1 victory. The team got terrific performances out of J.T. Miller, Chris Kreider, Ryan McDonagh and Henrik Lundqvist and did everything else they needed to do to win a hockey game.

For the Rangers to get all parts of their game going, the team's power play must start clicking. More often than not, the Rangers have been given ample opportunitites to build on their momentum by scoring a goal with the man advantage and more often than not, the Rangers come out of it goal-less.

When one thinks about it, it does not make any sense that the Rangers are not producing on the power play. The team has the talent, the shooters, the guys to go to the front of the net and the point men to get the puck to the net.

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  Tags: chris+kreider, henrik+lundqvist, j.t.+miller, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, rick+nash, ryan+mcdonagh, tampa+bay+lightning

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 Looking to be More Than Solid at The Rock

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

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

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

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

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

Stability and Consistency Lead Rangers to Victory

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not Going to be Easy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why the Rangers Will Win Tonight

When it comes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, there is nothing like the excitement, nervousness and other emotions that come to life in a Game 7.

Tonight, the New York Rangers and their passionate fans will be experiencing all kinds of feelings when they take on the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden.

For both the Rangers and Capitals, this game marks the second seventh game of the postseason that they will be participating in. The first time around, the Rangers were able to beat the No. 8 seed Ottawa Senators by a score of 2-1 while the Capitals, the No. 7 seed, were able to beat the No. 2 seed Boston Bruins in overtime by the same score of 2-1.

While the Capitals’ have had success against the Rangers in Game 7’s before, this year will be different and for the first time since the 1996-97 season, the Blueshirts will be headed to the Eastern Conference Finals. Here are the reasons why:

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, boston+bruins, brad+richards, henrik+lundqvist, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, tampa+bay+lightning, washington+capitals

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

Big Game on Tap for Blueshirts Against The Bruins

That is the case this afternoon for the New York Rangers as they get set to take on the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers are coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night in Tampa. The Rangers were able to come away with a point because Brandon Dubinsky scored the game-tying goal with 3:27 to play in the third period.

Up until that goal, it had been an up and down performance for the Blueshirts. They were able to generate several good scoring opportunities, get goals from the likes of Artem Anisimov, Marian Gaborik and Dubinsky while also getting a solid game from Henrik Lundqvist (27 saves) on his birthday.

With that said, the team was a bit inconsistent defensively and allowed the Lightning to get into the slot way too often and force the puck in on Lundqvist. In fact, the Rangers were outshot by a 13-3 margin in the opening period.

This afternoon against the Bruins, the Rangers will go up against a much bigger team with grittier forwards. The Bruins like to throw pucks on the net from anywhere and crash for rebounds, something that the Blueshirts need to try and prevent this afternoon.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, boston+bruins, brandon+dubinsky, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, 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

Going to Carolina

The New York Rangers will be in Raleigh tonight to take on the Carolina Hurricanes as the team looks to extend its winning streak to three games.

The Blueshirts are coming off a 2-0 shutout win over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night at Madison Square Garden. The team allowed just 13 shots in Henrik Lundqvist’s eighth shutout of the season, which is just two more than their lowest recorded total on home ice back in 1981 against the Calgary Flames when they only allowed 11 shots.

It will be important for the team to play a full 60-minutes as things do not get any easier for the Blueshirts heading into the stretch. They take on the Hurricanes tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night and the Boston Bruins at MSG on Sunday afternoon.

Luckily for the Blueshirts, this team has played as a cohesive unit all season long. They battle for each other, they stick up for each other, they play together as a team and because of this, have been one of the league’s top teams all year.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, calgary+flames, carolina+hurricanes, henrik+lundqvist, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Richards Wins It for the Blueshirts

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

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

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

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

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

Blueshirts Looking for Offense

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

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

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

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

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

The One That Got Away

That is the perfect phrase to describe the New York Rangers’ 3-2 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning last night.

The Blueshirts had a 2-1 lead in the third period until former Ranger Dominic Moore tied it up with a shorthanded goal. The club also had several quality scoring opportunities to win the game in regulation and in overtime but unfortunately, were not able to bury their chances.

The team got strong performances from goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan McDonagh and Artem Anisimov. Speaking of Anisimov, his goal celebration was completely unnecessary. Yes, it was a great goal but there is no need to taunt or show off. That kind of stuff is just not needed in the NHL and should be saved for the NFL and NBA.

Luckily, the team will be able to quickly forget about this game as they have two tough tilts on tap for this weekend. Tomorrow night, the Blueshirts will take on the Buffalo Sabres in Buffalo and on Sunday night, will return home to take on the high-flying Florida Panthers.

With four points on the line and no wins in their last two games, this weekend will be the perfect opportunity for the Rangers to get back on right track.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brandon+dubinsky, buffalo+sabres, dan+girardi, dominic+moore, florida+panthers, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, tampa+bay+lightning

Rangers Look to Start Another Winning Streak Against the Lightning

Coming off a 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maplle Leafs, the New York Rangers will look to get back on track tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden.

Unfortunately, the team will be without Rangers’ defenseman Michael Sauer as he suffered a concussion when Leafs’ defenseman Dion Phaneuf flattened him on Monday night. With the team already missing Marc Staal, this is certainly a blow to the team’s lineup.

With that said, this is a lineup that thrives when they need to step up and one would have to expect the team to do the same tonight. The team’s defensemen will have to step up tonight against the likes of Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone, and others.

With Sauer out, defenseman Anton Stralman will step in for the first time as a Blueshirt. Team head coach John Tortorella said the following to Rangers’ beat writer Andrew Gross yesterday:

“That comes with just not playing, it’s going to take some time as far as the tempo of the game. It’s very difficult when all you do is practice. We’re trying to play with pace and speed and it’ll take some time here. But that’s a concentration. We want him to defend. We know he has some offensive instincts. He’ll probably see some power play time along the way. But the key is just playing fast and trying to get within the tempo of the game as quickly as possible.”

 

 

This past Saturday, the Blueshirts won a hard fought game over these very same Lightning. With the Lightning coming off a 5-1 loss at the hands of the New York Islanders, you know they will come out and put forth a much better effort against a better Rangers' hockey club. Hopefully, the Blueshirts will get back to "normal" and pick-up two more points on home ice.

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  Tags: anton+stralman, john+tortorella, martin+st.+louis, michael+sauer, new+york+rangers, ryan+malone, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning, toronto+maple+leafs, vincent+lecavalier

Rangers’ Winning Streak Snapped by Visiting Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs were able to do that to the New York Rangers tonight when they picked up their second regulation win at Madison Square Garden by a score of 4-2.

The Rangers certainly did not play poorly in this game. They were able to generate several good scoring chances (32 shots on goal), found a way to make the game interesting by trying to come back from 3-0 to make it 3-2 on goals by Artem Anisinov and Marian Gaborik, and was a game that they probably could have won had some bounces gone their way.

With that said, it certainly was not pretty for the Blueshirts either. The team hung its goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist (26 saves on 29 shots), out to dry on two of the goals and screened him on the other, and also took some needless penalties.

It is also apparent that Sean Avery’s ice time continues to decrease as each game goes by. Tonight, Avery had 7:32 of ice time and despite not getting a lot of ice, was still able to put three shots on goal. Not sure what team head coach John Tortorella wants him to do so it will be interesting to see how this continues to play out as each game comes and goes.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, sean+avery, tampa+bay+lightning, toronto+maple+leafs

Rangers Continue to Roll

It seemed to be a solid night for the New York Rangers last night as the team beat the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 4-2 for their fifth straight win.

Unfortunately, I was not able to catch any of the game last night as I was out with my wife and her friends. With that said, it was nice to come home and see the Blueshirts pick up yet another win and also see key guys contributing.

It was nice to see guys like Derek Stepan (1 goal and 1 assist), Brad Richards (1 goal and 1 assist), Artem Anisimov (1 goal and 1 assist) and Ryan McDonagh (2 assists) all have a multiple pint night in Tampa. It was also great to see Lundqvist have another solid performance in stopping 24 of 26 shots for his 11th win of the season.

I wish I could say more about the game but like I said earlier, I did not watch it so I do not want to make assumptions based on the score sheet. With that said, a win is a win and the Blueshirts continue to surprise people in the National Hockey League.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, brad+richards, derek+stepan, new+york+rangers, ryan+mcdonagh, tampa+bay+lightning, toronto+maple+leafs

Rangers Look to Strike Lightining

The New York Rangers will be looking for their fifth straight win when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum.

It is easy to say that the Blueshirts are clicking on all cylinders right now. They are getting scoring not only from their top players, but depth players as well. The club is also playing solid defensively and getting the goaltending they need to win hockey games.

It has pretty much been this way for the Blueshirts ever since the end of October. After losing two straight to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers turned everything around and started looking like the club that many pundits and those in the hockey world thought they could be this season.

With all of that said, however, the Rangers cannot afford to take night’s off, no matter how good the club is playing. Tonight is a perfect example as the Lightning are currently 12th in the Eastern Conference with a 11-11-2 record while struggling to play consistent hockey.

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  Tags: marc-andre+bergeron, martin+st.+louis, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning, toronto+maple+leafs, vincent+lecavalier

Rangers Continue to Win

The New York Rangers are starting to show the National Hockey League that for the first time in years, they have some real offensive depth.

The club’s offensive depth really came out last night in their 5-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. The team had five different goal scorers in Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh, Sean Avery and Michael Sauer.

With the win, the Blueshirts improved to 14-5-3 on the season, good enough for fourth in the Eastern Conference. Believe it or not, the team is also just three points behind the Eastern Conference and NHL leading Pittsburgh Penguins.

For the Rangers, last night’s game could have easily been a trap game. It could have been one where the team played to the level of their opponent and missed the opportunity to pick up the two needed points.

Luckily, the Rangers reversed the trend and played a solid road game to pick up their fourth straight win. On the other side, it was the Hurricanes’ fifth straight loss and second under new head coach Kirk Muller.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, kirk+muller, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, michael+sauer, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, ryan+mcdonagh, sean+avery, tampa+bay+lightning

Bruins Headed to Finals For the First Time Since 1990

Many Boston Bruins fans’ probably feel like this was a long time coming but for the first time since the 1989-90 season, the Bruins are headed to the Stanley Cup Finals after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of -0 in Game 7 at the TD Garden.

This Game 7 had it all. For starters, the game had terrific saves from both Bruins’ goaltender Tim Thomas and Lightning netminder Dwayne Roloson. Roloson did everything he possibly could to give his team a chance to win a hockey game but unfortunately for him, the Lightning were not able to help out on the scoreboard.

Thomas was also solid in picking up the huge victory. He kept things simple, made the big save when his team needed to and of course, ended up with the W.

This game also had lots of guts displayed by both teams. Bruins’ forward Nathan Horton took a nasty shoulder hit in the first period but returned in the second period and scored the game winning goal in the third period.

On the Lightning side, Lightning forward Steven Stamkos took a puck to the nose in the second period. With a huge gash on his nose and with the nose most likely displaced on his face, Stamkos returned and showed what heart and guts he has as a hockey player.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, dwayne+roloson, nathan+horton, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning, tim+thomas, vancouver+canucks

Who Would You Want to Play Against?

I am just sitting down watching the third period in game 7 between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning and I am starting to wonder the following: if I am the Vancouver Canucks, who do I want to play in the Stanley Cup Finals?

There are good reasons to want to play against both teams. For example, the Canucks may want to play against the Bruins because their playmaking ability will be able to put the puck past Bruins’ goaltender Tim Thomas. Thomas can be a very aggressive goaltender and if he comes too far out of his crease against the Canucks, the likes of the Sedin Twins, Kesler, Burrows, Raymond, Bieksa, and others will find a way to get the puck to the net and in the net.

With that said, the Canucks may also want to play the Lightning because they are a far less physical team than the Bruins. The Bruins like to hit and hit hard while the Lightning prefer to play a skill-type of hockey game.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, tampa+bay+lightning, vancouver+cancuks

The Best Series of The Playoffs?

Is this the phrase that should be used to describe the Eastern Conference Finals’ series between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning?

After six games, I’d have to say yes. This series has really seen it all from lots of goals, lots of checking, big saves, timely heroes and everything else that makes the Stanley Cup Playoffs so great.

Shawn Lavigne of TSN Radio used the term Jekyll and Hyde on Facebook to describe this series and it is easy to see why he would say that. We have seen high scoring games, low scoring games, heroes one game, disappearances the next and so on and so forth.

Hockey fans have now been rewarded with a Game 7 in Boston on Friday night at 8:00 p.m. If you’re a Bruins fan, I’m sure you’re nervous about missing out on a tremendous opportunity to go to the Cup Finals. If you’re a Lightning fan, I’m sure you’re just happy to have forced a Game 7.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, tampa+bay+lightning

Thoughts on Tonight’s Game 5 Between the Bruins and Lightning

Here are my thoughts for tonight’s Game 5 between the Bruins and Lightning:

Keys for the Tampa Bay Lightning

- Start Dwayne Roloson: While Lightning back-up netminder Mike Smith certainly made a case to get the start for tonight’s Game 5 in Boston, it would be smart for team head coach Guy Boucher to go with the guy that got them there, Dwayne Roloson. Yes, Roloson has struggled a bit in this series but when it comes down to it, Roloson gives the Lightning the best and most consistent chance to win a hockey game.

- Establish a Net Presence: The Lightning need to continue to put bodies in front of Bruins’ goaltender Tim Thomas. On the Lightning, guys like Ryan Malone and Dominic Moore are the best at creating havoc in front of the Bruins’ net and should do double tonight in Game 5.

- Make Tim Thomas Play the Puck: While Thomas is great at stopping pucks, he is quite the opposite when it comes to handling the puck. He helped create the first Lightning goal in Game 4 and was partly responsible for getting the Lightning rally started.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, tampa+bay+lightning

A Quick Observation

Looking at the four starting goaltenders for the remaining teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it is easy to see that a few of them have had trouble handling the puck in the Conference Finals’ series.

In Game 1 against the San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks’ goaltender Roberto Luongo put a pass right on Joe Thornton’s stick and Thornton than put it past a diving Luongo to give his team a 1-0 lead.

In Game 4 against the Lightning, there was a miscommunication between Bruins’ netminder Tim Thomas and Bruins’ defenseman Zdeno Chara that led to Lightning forward Teddy Purcell’s first goal of the game. Had Thomas just moved it away from Chara, the play would have been over and done with and the Bruins would have more than likely gotten out of their own end.

In that same game, there was miscommunication between Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson and his defenseman, leading Bruins’ forward Patrice Bergeron to to wrap the puck around the net and put it through Roloson’s legs to give his team a then 1-0 lead.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, dwayne+roloson, joe+thornton, roberto+luongo, san+jose+sharks, tampa+bay+lightning, tim+thomas, vancouver+canucks, zdeno+chara

Who Should The Lightning Go With in Game 5?

After watching yesterday afternoon’s Game 4 between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning, I am sure that many of you would go with Lightning back-up goaltender Mike Smith.

You folks would choose him with good reason. Smith stopped 21 of 21 Bruins’ shots and was also good in Game 2 after Roloson was pulled. Smith has looked calm and poised in net and has shown the coaching staff that he can be relied on when things get tough.

With that said, however, I am of the belief that you need to go with the guy that got you to this point. For the Lightning, that’s Dwayne Roloson.

At 9-5 with a 2.51 goals against average, a .925 save percentage, and 1 shutout, Roloson has been the man more often than not for the Lightning this postseason. He has made many big saves, has helped his team rally in this year’s postseason and has been extremely reliable.

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  Tags: dwayne+roloson, tampa+bay+lightning

Familiar Story?

If you are a New York Rangers’ fan and you watched Game 1 between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning last night, then you must know that I am referring to the Bruins’ power play.

In last night’s 5-2 Game 1 loss to the Lightning, the Bruins’ power play was simply atrocious. They were not enough pucks thrown on net and there was certainly way too much puck movement. All in all, it led to an 0-4 night with the man advantage on what could/should have been a difference maker for the Bruins.

While the Lightning certainly did a good job of blocking shots last night when they were killing penalties, the Bruins did not throw enough pucks on net with the man advantage. Too often, they either missed the net, had trouble handling the puck in the slot or at the point or they simply chose to pass instead of shoot.

This led to the other problem: too much puck movement. While it is important to move the puck around to help get guys open whether it is at the point or in the slot, the Bruins’ overdid it and practically wasted their time on the power play and hurt themselves by not being able to do anything with the four power plays they were given.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Nice to See Some Scoring

As I am sure many of you folks are, I am watching Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning and it’s great to see some scoring, isn’t it?

Many pundits and fans alike predicted that because of the goaltending and defensive systems, this was going to be a low scoring series. Well, here we are at the end of the first period and it is 3-1 Lightning at the end of the first period in Boston.

Tim Thomas, although he cannot be faulted for all three of the goals, has not looked comfortable in between the pipes for the Bruins thus far so it’ll be interesting to see how he plays in the second period. On the other end, while Tyler Seguin’s goal, his first career NHL playoff goal in his first career NHL playoff game, was a beauty, it was a shot that Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson might have been able to stop.

These teams both have guys that can put the puck in the net and both have guys that will go hard to the net for deflections, rebounds and loose pucks. The Lightning certainly showed that in the first period.

The puck, no matter how good Thomas and Roloson, will go in the net plenty of times this series. You’ll see.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, dwayne+roloson, tampa+bay+lightning, tim+thomas, tyler+seguin

A Brief Look at Two Warriors

I’m obviously talking about the upcoming “battle” between Boston Bruins’ goaltender Tim Thomas and Tampa Lightning netminder Dwayne Roloson.

With Thomas at 37 years old and Roloson 41 years of age, it will be a battle between two goaltenders who are looking to win their first Stanley Cup. Roloson had a good crack at it back in 2006 when he was between the pipes for the Edmonton Oilers until he got injured in Game 1 and never returned to the crease.

Both of these goaltenders are similar when it comes to playing styles. When looking at Thomas, it is easy to say that he is the modern day Dominik Hasek. He may not have Hasek’s stature but what he does have is a terrific compete-level and a willing to do whatever he can to stop the puck. One can easily see this when looking back at some of Thomas’s highlight saves from this past season.

Looking at Roloson, it is almost the same thing. He never gives up on a play but unlike Thomas, Roloson seems to be more of a positional goaltender. Yes, he lunges at pucks sometimes but after making the first save, he usually finds himself in good enough position to make a save on the rebound as well.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, dwayne+roloson, tampa+bay+lightning, tim+thomas

All About Hope Now

The New York Rangers did what they had to do this afternoon in defeating the New Jersey Devils by a score of 5-2 at Madison Square Garden.

With the victory, the Blueshirts finished the regular season with 93 points, putting them up two points over the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight and should they lose in regulation time or overtime, the Rangers will clinch the final playoff spot and prepare for a first round matchup with the first place Washington Capitals.

It was great to see hard-working guys like Chris Drury, Brandon Prust, Ryan McDonagh and Vinny Prospal all beat future hall-of-fame netminder Martin Brodeur. For Drury, it was his first goal of the season and a big one at that. He also did well on face-offs and overall, was a positive factor for the Blueshirts this afternoon.

For McDonagh, it was his first career NHL goal. It could not have come at a better time for the Blueshirts as it gave them a 3-2 lead in the second period as well as a game-winning goal for #27.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, brandon+prust, carolina+hurricanes, chris+drury, dan+bylsma, john+tortorella, martin+brodeur, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+mcdonagh, tampa+bay+lightning, vinny+prospal

Out of Their Hands

That is exactly what it has come to for the New York Rangers after being shutout tonight by the Atlanta Thrashers by a score of 3-0 at Madison Square Garden.

Since it is Thursday night, that means I did not get to watch the game as I had my weekly men’s league hockey game. With that said, it was extremely disappointing to come home and see that the blueshirts lost to a team that is not even fighting for a playoff spot.

With that said, and based on the highlights on NHL on the Fly, it appears that the Thrashers got the better of the scoring chances and that the Rangers were flat. This is somewhat surprising considering the huge effort they delivered on Monday night at the Garden when they defeated the Boston Bruins by a score of 5-3.

Now, prior to the team’s regular season finale against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday afternoon, the Rangers will be scoreboard watching tomorrow night. The ninth place Carolina Hurricanes, who are just two points behind the Rangers, take on the Atlanta Thrashers tomorrow night in Atlanta with an opportunity to tie the Rangers in points heading into Saturday. The Hurricanes then close out their season on Saturday night with a home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, boston+bruins, carolina+hurricanes, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Rangers Win By Playing Rangers’ hockey

In today’s 7-0 white-washing of the Philadelphia Flyers, the New York Rangers won by playing the kind of hockey that made them so successful earlier on in the season.

They forechecked, they hit, they blocked shots, they allowed their goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to see the puck, they cleared rebounds and they got timely goal scoring. Normally, this is a good recipe of success for any team in the NHL but for the ost part, this has been a big part of the Rangers’ identity when they have won games this season.

This afternoon’s Ranger of the game was easily Ryan Callahan. Callahan picked up his first career hat trick en route to a 4-goal and 5-point game for the Blueshirts. He drove hard to the net, used his quick release to beat Flyers’ netminder Brian Boucher and with his hard work, managed to crack the 20-goal mark.

The team also got solid performances out of Vaclav Prospal (2 assists), Mats Zuccarello (2 goals), Artem Anisimov (1 goal and 1 assist) and Lundqvist (24) saves, who picked up his league-leading ninth shutout of the season.

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, artem+anisimov, brian+boucher, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, henrik+lundqvist, mats+zuccarello, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan, san+jose+sharks, tampa+bay+lightning, vaclav+prospal

Rangers’ Shutout Capitals for the Second Time in Big 6-0 Victory

Going into tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals, many New York Rangers’ pundits and fans did not know what to expect. Both parties worried about the team being without Marc Staal and Marian Gaborik as well as facing a potentially potent Capital’s offense.

May be this was a good thing as the Blueshirts dominated the Capitals on the scoreboardc in a 6-0 shutout victory. Believe it or not, this was the Rangers’ second shutout over the Capitals this season as the team shut them out back in December in a 7-0 romping.

Besides picking up the shutout, the best thing to come out of this game for the Rangers’ was their success on the power play. The team went 2-for-3 on the man advantage with goals from Erik Christensen (he had two goals and an assist in the game) and Derek Stepan. Believe it or not, the team’s power play has been a lot better of late and that is because they are being more aggresive and throwing more pucks on the net. Hopefully this trend will continue for the Blueshirts.

Speaking of Christensen, he played like a man on a mission tonight. He had three points, was around the net a lot, he had four shots on goal, played on the power play and was effective. Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella needs more of this from Christensen as the team continues to build their playoff push.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, dan+girardi, derek+stepan, erik+christensen, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, michael+sauer, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, ryan+mcdonagh, tampa+bay+lightning, washington+capitals

Four Points On the Line This Weekend/Staal Injury Update

UPDATE: From Andrew Gross via Twitter:

Staal out Fedotenko in McDonagh paired with Girardi tonight for Rangers.

From Earlier: The New York Rangers are back in action tonight in Washington against the Washington Capitals after defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in a shootout on Tuesday night.

It does not have to be said that this is once again a big game for the Blueshirts. The Rangers still sit in the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of the eighth place Carolina Hurricanes and six points ahead of the ninth place Buffalo Sabres.

At the other end, the Capitals are currently fifth in the East with 74 points and are just three poitns behind the Southeast Division leading Tampa Bay Lightning. As such, this game is just as important to the Capitals as it is to the Blueshirts.

The Blueshirts will be without Marian Gaborik this wekend as it is believed he suffered a concussion sometime before playing against the Philadelphia Flyers last Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants said the following regarding Gaborik:

Marian Gaborik (concussion) has reported he’s feeling better but there’s no timetable for his return. Gaborik did undergo blood work back in New York to see if there were any “deficiencies,” though Tortorella wasn’t exactly clear on what deficiencies they might be testing for.

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  Tags: andrew+gross, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, marc+staal, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ranger+rants, ruslan+fedotenko, tampa+bay+lightning, washington+capitals

Rangers Pick Up Big 4-3 Shootout Victory over the Hurricanes

There was no question that the New York Rangers needed to come out of Carolina with two points tonight.

The team was able to do just that with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Carolina Hurricanes after Wojtek Wolski tied the game with less than two minutes to go and then scored the game winner in the shootout to give the Blueshirts two big points in the Eastern Conference Standings. With the win, the team now has 68 points and is just one point behind the sixth place Montreal Canadiens.

This was a game that reminded me a lot of how the team was getting all those wins in the first half of the season. They worked extremely hard, threw pucks at the net (43 shots for the game), forechecked, got timely offense, solid goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist (30 saves) and ultimately, were able to get two big points.

The game had a playoff-like feel to it and the Blueshirts treated it as such. The team is going to have to do this for the rest of the season as the games are only going to get tougher as we get closer to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, eric+staal, henrik+lundqvist, marc+staal, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning, washington+capitals, wojtek+wolski

Gaborik Update: Disappointing 4-2 loss for the Rangers

Marian Gaborik Update: From NBC’s NHL Extra Twitter Account:

An update on Marian Gaborik from earlier today, he left the game with a concussion.

From Earlier: In a game in which the New York Rangers outshot the Philadelphia Flyers 39-24, the Blueshirts managed to lose the game 4-2 at Madison Square Garden this afternoon.

A lot of credit has to be given to Flyers’ netminder Brian Boucher. Boucher was on top of his game in making 37 saves and was especially big in the third period when he stopped 14 of 15 Ranger shots.

With that said, however, this game was once again a perfect example of how the Blueshirts still lack some finish to their game. In the third period, Rangers’ forward Artem Anisimov could not get his stick on a cross crease pass on what could have been an easy goal.

Overall, it wasn’t a terrible game for the Blueshirts. They put plenty of pressure in the Flyers’ zone, put plenty of pucks on net but just couldn’t get the goal that mattered in the third period.

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  Tags: artem+anisimov, atlanta+thrashers, brian+boucher, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, tampa+bay+lightning, washington+capitals

Where Has the Offense Gone in 2011?/Fedotenko Update

UPDATE: According to Jesse Spector, New York Rangers’ beat writer for the Daily News, Ruslan Fedotenko’s hand is not broken:

Fedotenko’s hand is not broken. He’s day-to-day.

FROM EARLIER: I know, I know, the New York Rangers are just two games into the new year but nevertheless, they are 0-1-1 with only one goal scored against the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers.

Last night against the Panthers, the team was lucky to get a point as Marian Gaborik tied the game up at 1-1 with less than a minute go before the Lightning won 2-1 in overtime. Up until that point, it looked like Lightning netminder Cedrick Desjardins was going to shutout the Rangers and the Blueshirts were going to come away with nothing.

Against the Panthers tonight, the team delivered another lackluster effort and this time, came up with nothing as Panthers’ goaltender picked up his fifth shutout of the season with a 3-0 win over the Rangers. If not for the solid goaltending of Rangers’ netminder Martin Biron (33 saves), this game could have actually been a lot worse.

With that said, however, the team did lose Ruslan Fedotenko hurt his hand after blocking a Bryan McCabe slap shot. Hopefully for the Rangers, he will not have to miss a lot of time as the Rangers are already hurting with injuries to both Ryan Callahan, Vinny Prospal and Erik Christensen.

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  Tags: bryan+mccabe, cedrick+desjardins, erik+christensen, florida+panthers, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, new+york+rangers, ruslan+fedotenko, ryan+callahan, tampa+bay+lightning, tomas+vokoun, vinny+prospal

No Surprise: Del Zotto Scratched For Fourth Straight Game

In what is starting to become a regular occurence this winter, New York Rangers’ defenseman Michael Del Zotto will be scratch tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

This is what team beat writer Andrew Gross had to say:

As for news today: Michael Del Zotto will remain out of the lineup for the fourth straight game (the second time as a healthy scratch) as coach John Tortorella continues to go with these defense pairs: Marc Staal-Dan Girardi, Steve Eminger-Michal Rozsival, Matt Gilroy-Mike Sauer. But I don’t think Del Zotto will remain out that much longer. Focus clearly on Rozsival and also probably Gilroy to improve their games from Wednesday’s 3-1 win at New Jersey.

As I have said before, I believe that this is a good wakeup call for Del Zotto. He’s going to be a great defenseman in this league but before becoming one, he needs to learn to be smart, make the right plays and do so on a consistent basis.

What do you folks think?

 

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  Tags: michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Rangers Set for First Game of Tough January Against the Lightning

As the New York Rangers enter 2011, it appears that they are on a similar path that they have been on all season long.

The path I am talking about is one where the Blueshirts put together this two to three game winning streaks and then come out in the third or fourth game with a stinker of an effort, thus ending the winning streak.

The team cannot afford to do that tonight as they take on the second place Tampa Bay Lightning (tied for second in the East and first in the Southeast with the Washington Capitals). The Lightning are led by the likes of Steven Stamkos (31-25-56), Martin St. Louis (16-34-50), Ryan Malone (10-20-30), a now healthy Vinny Lecavalier, and head coach Guy Boucher, who has done a terrific job in making the Lightning a playoff-calibre hockey team.

The Rangers have not beaten the Lightning this season in two opportunities so tonight will be a good chance for the Blueshirts to show what kind of hockey club they really are. Based on the standings, the Rangers have the eighth best record in the National Hockey League and are a serious contender in the Eastern Conference.

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  Tags: new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Even Though They Were Outshot Badly, A Win is A Win for the Blueshirts

You know the saying “A win is a win”? Well, this saying definitely describes the New York Rangers as they beat the New Jersey Devils 3-1 at the Prudential Center to close out 2010.

For one of the worst offenses in the National Hockey League, the Devils certainly did not seem that way against the Blueshirts tonight. In fact, in the second period alone, the Devils outshot the Rangers by a 20-12 margin.

That was not even the worst statistic in tonight’s tilt when it comes to shots against for the Blueshirts. They were also outshot badly in the first period as the Devils fired 16 shots while the Rangers only put five on goaltender Martin Brodeur.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog today, this was definitely a trap game for the Rangers. They were playing the worst team in the NHL and yet, the Devils threw everything they had at them but failed to get the victory. Sounds like the Devils’ story of the season, eh?

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  Tags: brandon+dubinsky, brian+boyle, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, martin+brodeur, michal+rozsival, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

A Deserved Point by the Blueshirts

While the New York Rangers did lose 4-3 in a shootout last night at Madison Square Garden to the Tampa Bay Lightning, it was a game in which the Blueshirts worked hard, brought a lot of energy and had plenty of chances to win the hockey game.

This is a loss that the Blueshirts should be able to deal with. They battled back to tie the game with less than nine minutes to go in the game when Derek Stepan scored a great goal, they generated plenty of scoring opportunities throughout the game and for the most part, played solid defensively.

With that said, however, it was two giveaways that cost the Rangers’ on two goals. In the first period, the Blueshirts’ Michal Rozsival coughed up the puck to Lightning superstar Martin St. Louis and St. Louis beat Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead. After the Rangers went up 2-1 on goals by Ruslan Fedotenko and Alex Frolov, St. Louis victimized the Rangers’ again on a turnover and the Rangers’ once again gave away the puck to St. Louis who this time made a between the legs pass to sniper Steven Stamkos and Stamkos buried it to tie the game up at 2-2.

One of the stories of this game was the play of Rangers’ rookie Mats Zuccarello Aasen. Zuccarello played a solid game, brought a lot of creativity to the offense and looked good playing with Stepan and Brandon Dubinsky. Even Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella had positive things to say about the Rangers’ youngster.

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  Tags: alex+frolov, derek+stepan, glen+sather, henrik+lundqvist, jim+schoenfeld, john+tortorella, martin+st.+louis, mats+zuccarello+aase, michal+rozsival, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, ruslan+fedotenko, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning

Mats Zuccarello Aasen to Make Debut Against The Lightning Tonight

Going into a crucial game at Madison Square Garden tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the odds are already stacked against the Blueshirts with both Marian Gaborik (groin) and Michael Del Zotto (flu) out of the lineup.

To help fill the void, the team has called up Mats Zuccarello Aasen to take Gaborik’s spot. In 32 games with the club’s American Hockey League farm team, the Connecticut Whale, Zuccarello Aasen has 24 points (13 goals and 11 assists) in 32 games.

While he has been somewhat inconsistent at the AHL level, Zuccarello Aasen had recorded points in five of his last six games with four goals and four assists and has also put up 22 points in his last 20 games. As such, he is coming to the Blueshirts having played some of his best hockey in the AHL.

With that said, however, the NHL is a different animal and it will be interesting to see what Zuccarello Aasen does to adjust his game to fit the NHL style. According to Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants, Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella knows that he needs to put Zuccarello Aasen in a position to create offense.

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  Tags: brian+boyle, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, mats+zuccarello+aasen, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Looking at a Few Players Who Need to Step Up

This is what the New York Rangers are faced with as they do not play a game until Thursday night at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Blueshirts’ had their three-game winning streak snapped on Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia when the Flyers beat them by a score of 4-1. The team did not play terribly but it is apparent that some players have a few things to work on before their next game.

- Michael Del Zotto

Del Zotto needs to get his defensive game in order. He has an abundance of offensive talent but since he is a defenseman, he should concentrate on making that part of his game better.

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  Tags: erik+christensen, marian+gaborik, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, tampa+bay+lightning

I’m Hitting the Road for a Few Days

Good morning folks. I wanted to let everyone know that I won’t be posting for the next few days as I have an extremely busy Thanksgiving planned and then I’m going to Newport, RI for a few days with my wife.

Unfortunately, I’ll miss two of the three New York Ranger games so feel free to post your comments on the games in the comment section of this blog as I’m sure there will be things to talk about.

Much like myself, the Rangers will be on the road the rest of this week with games against the Tampa Bay Lightning (tonight at 7:30 p.m.), Florida Panthers (Friday night) and the Nashville Predators (Saturday night) before heading home to take on the streaking Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

It is not out of the realm of possibility that the team could win all three games but considering how tough the Lightning can be, picking up four points with wins over the Panthers and Predators seems a lot more realistic right now.

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  Tags: florida+panthers, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, martin+biron, nashville+predators, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, tampa+bay+lightning

Should the Rangers Go After Brad Richards?

Last season, it was obvious that the New York Rangers lacked a true No. 1 center and in the end, it hurt them.

The team had Brandon Dubinsky, Erik Christensen and others try to play with Marian Gaborik and while there was some chemistry here and there, there wasn’t enough to scare teams or produce points consistently. In fact, you can say that the team’s best No.1 center in the last five seasons was former Blueshirt Michael Nylander.

One number one center that has been floating around Rangerland is Brad Richards. Richards is a proven point producer who last season, scored 91 points (24 goals and 67 assists) in 80 games with the Dallas Stars. The season before that, he had 48 points in 56 games so as you can tell, Richards is good for about a point a game.

If the Blueshirts found a way to get him, he’d be a lock to play with Marian Gaborik. Gaborik would have himself a pure No. 1 center and someone that can feed him the puck or he can feed the puck to. They would certainly become a dangerous combinatio n and right now, the Rangers need all the offense they can get.

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  Tags: brad+richards, dallas+stars, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, michael+nylander, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Looking for Fans Reactions To a Few Questions I have

Good morning folks. The dog days of summer really are here and as such, I want to help keep hockey on your minds.

As such, I would like to get your thoughts on the following questions:

- Will Kovalchuk still end up being a New Jersey Devil? Why or why not?

- Was the NHL right to reject the Kovalchuk contract? Why or why not?

- Does this whole Kovalchuk saga prove that the league could be headed for a lockout in the next few seasons? Why or why not?

- How will the Chicago Blackhawks be next season after losing several key players due to salary cap problems? Why?

- Where will UFA goaltender Marty Turco end up signing? Why? How about UFA netminder Jose Theodore?

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, illya+kovalchuk, jose+theodore, marty+turco, michael+leighton, new+jersey+devils, nhl, philadelphia+flyers, steve+yzerman, tampa+bay+lightning

It’s Hard to Believe But…

The New York Rangers are still alive in the playoff hunt as they continue to have good luck when it comes to scoreboard watching.

Last night, the Blueshirts saw the Atlanta Thrashers, Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins lose their games. This gives the Blueshirts a HUGE opportunity to go into Florida and pick up four points from the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers, respectively.

We all thought, myself included, that this team was done a few weeks ago. In fact, I think many of us were hoping that the Blueshirts would put us out of our misery and just miss the playoffs so that may be some wholesale changes would occur throughout the organization.

Now, however, it seems many of us still want this team to clinch a spot. So, folks, what do we want to happen?

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  Tags: florida+panthers, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

On the Right Track

That’s exactly what the New York Rangers did yesterday afternoon at Madison Square Garden in defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 5-2.

Sure, the team got off to a terrible start in going down 2-0 in the first period but after that, both the team and its goaltender Henrik Lundqvist settled down and took care of business at home heading into a two-week Olympic break.

The team got goals from Sean Avery (penalty shot goal in the second period), Vinny Prospal, Erik Christensen (2) and Chris Drury while also getting 27 saves from Henrik Lundqvist, including a few splendid ones in the second period when the Blueshirts got themselves back into the hockey game.

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Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

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