by Patrick Hoffman on 02/26/11 at 12:32 AM ET
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.
The team also got a great performance out of their defensive corps, who were without their top defenseman. Dan Girardi, Michael Sauer and Ryan McDonagh were especially good as they all logged a lot of ice time, blocked a lot of shots and did a good job of keeping the Capitals’ enigmatic offense quiet.
Of course, you cannot talk about a shutout without mentioning the play of Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist. For Lundqvist, it was his league-leading eighth shutout of thes season and he did it in style by making 35 saves.
For the Rangers, this victory were points number 69 and 70. With the win, the team is now one point behind the sixth place Montreal Canadiens and four points behind the fifth place Capitals. Obviously, these were two big points for the Rangers as it also gives them a three point lead over the eighth place Carolina Hurricanes, who are always tough down the stretch.
The team will get to enjoy the victory until they are back in action on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden against the Tampa Bay Lightning. It will be another tough game against a talented Southeast Division opponent. With that said, the Rangers are 2-0 against the Southeast Division this week and with a win on Sunday afternoon, could have grabbed a six out of six possible points.
For now, the team will continue to take things one game at a time and fans should to considering there is still a bunch of hockey left to be played. However, the team and its fans can go to bed tonight knowing they have won two games in a row against two good hockey clubs and have a chance to win another game in two days.
It is all about the points and right now, the team is doing everything they can to pick them up the right way.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
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
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.