Game 1 Recap: Rangers 4 Flyers 1

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The New York Rangers opened the 2014 Stanley Cup Tournament at the World’s Most Famous Arena with a matchup (their 11th in the post-season) against their long-time rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers. Playing in front of an actual fired up crowd, as opposed to the usual regular season corporate audience, the Blueshirts looked to come out and set the tone against their neighbors to the south.

And set the tone they did, outplaying the Flyers for much of the first. Yet, as has been the case so many times this season, the Rangers gave up the game’s first goal. On the Flyers first shot of the match at 7:28, newly-signed Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald sent a slapper on net that deflected off Martin St. Louis high in the zone and sailed in over Henrik Lundqvist shoulder. Behind the Rangers net, Scott Hartnell banged Ryan McDonagh off the puck (can you tell McD was a bit rusty?) and sent a pass to MacDonald at the left point and as St. Louis skated out to block the shot if tipped off his stick and changed direction from a low shot to a high shot and Hank had no chance.

Down a goal early on home ice, the Rangers didn’t crumble. The Blueshirts answered back with some extra effort from their Extra Effort Award winner. Marc Staal pinched along the strong side wall and sent the puck into the corner where Benoit Pouliot outworked Braydon Coburn and took the puck to the front of the net where he lost it in the slot, but directly to Mats Zuccarello. Zucc fired a shot on net that Ray Emery kicked back into the slot and The Oslo Magician™ blew by Sean Coutourier and backhanded his own rebound by Emery five-hole, tying the game at 10:53 of the first.

Zucc is fired up!

Zucc is fired up!

The Rangers outplayed Philadelphia in the frame and closed the period outshooting the Flyers 14-6, but tied at 1-1.

The middle frame was a more closely played affair. Lundqvist stopped all eight shots he faced and Emery turned aside all nine NYR shots.

Heading to the final frame, the game could have gone either way. Despite holding the advantage in play, a fluke or a bad bounce and the Rangers could have found themselves down in the series with home ice surrendered. When Ryan McDonagh was whistled for high-sticking 46 seconds in, the Flyers had a golden opportunity to potentially steal the game. But the NYR PK (without McD) didn’t allow the Flyers single shot and seven minutes later the game changed.

This was the turning point and the PP made them pay.

This was the turning point and the PP made them pay.

Flyers rookie Jason Akeson threw a booming hit on Carl Hagelin at center ice, but as he finished his check, he swung his stick around and blasted Hagelin in the mouth, cutting him and earning a double minor for high-sticking. With, the Garden crowd energized at the PP opportunities, the Rangers man-advantage unit went to work.

Derek Stepan carried the puck into the Flyers zone and hit St. Louis at the blueline where MSL gave the puck back to Step along the left wing wall. D-Step continued the puck to Rick Nash behind the goal line and the big guy wheeled a backhand pass to St. Louis in the slot. MSL’s shot hit off Kimo Timonen’s skate and caromed directly to Brad Richards in the off-wing circle and B-Rich clobbered a slapper high short-side by Emery to give the Rangers the lead.

The Rangers PP unit cashed in on the second half of the double minor with some more excellent puck movement. Richards threw a d-to-d pass across the blueline to McDonagh and the Rangers MVP faked out Coutourier with a Brian Leetch inside-outside move. McD sent a back-door pass to St. Louis that Marty touched to Richards at the point. B-Rich then blasted a shot/pass to a wide open Stepan on the doorstep and the center buried it in the gaping net sending the fired-up MSG crowd into hysterics.

With 4:08 remaining, the Rangers made it 4-1, again led by Richards. After Timmonen rang one of the post, Richards cleared the rebound to Jesper Fast and took a return pass breaking out with Fast and Hagelin. Richards cut across the blueline, around a falling Brayden Schenn, and send a shot on Emery, that was kicked out to an uncovered Hagelin for the easy put back.

That's right Chief, send them out to thug it up. So the PP can keep burying you.

That’s right Chief, send them out to thug it up. So the PP can keep burying you.

Down three and with only one shot on goal in the third, the clearly frustrated Flyers started their typical goon tactics but the Rangers didn’t bite. Zack Rinaldo was up to his usual tricks and Captain Claude Giroux slashed at everyone in blue and even swung his stick at Dominic Moore’s head for some unknown reason. Giroux was obviously flummoxed by the suffocating defense of McDonagh and Girardi and the swarming presence of the Moore-Boyle-Dorsett line. The Blueshirts will need to keep that pressure on the Flyers best player as the series moves on, and they’ll most likely have to keep their heads up against the stick-swinging star.

There are three ingredients needed for a successful playoff run: health, goaltending and special teams. If the Rangers can survive, the beating and cheapshots they are sure to take, the have the goaltending and the skilled pp to make a very deep run.

Brad Richards, the beaver-toothed former superstar who we love to hate, had an excellent game. He was decent at even strength and was money on the power play. B-Rich had a big game in a big spot, and hopefully he continues to for the next two months.

Huge. B-Rich was huge.

Huge. B-Rich was huge.

Lundqvist had a relatively easy game and the defense gave Giroux and the skilled Flyers forwards nothing. McD was a bit off his game. He looked rusty and fought the puck a little bit, but he will surely benefit from getting his legs under him in the W.

Right now, one game in, things look pretty good for the NYR. However, the Stanley Cup isn’t decided after the first game and the Rangers will need to build off their strong play in the opener. Despite how well they played, the NYR were a bad bounce away from losing this game all the way into the third period and a poor effort, or a bad bounce in game two and the Blueshirts could find themselves tied and lose home ice advantage. Game two is critical. The Rangers need to put this one away and come out with the same intensity on Easter Sunday.

Let’s go Rangers!
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Playoff Preview: Rangers vs. Flyers

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After an 82 game slog, the playoffs are finally here!

With a balanced offense, solid defense and the King in net, the Blueshirts enter the tournament poised to make a run at Lord Stanley’s Cup, but first must get through the Philadelphia Flyers in what is sure to be another classic chapter in the long Rangers Flyers rivalry.

To preview the Patrick Metropolitan Division series, Rangerface posed some questions to the experts. Reade from New York Rangers Memes, Vin from True Blue – I am a Ranger and Bryan from Blueshirts Nation run some of the most popular NYR sites on Facebook. With over 17,000 faithful Blueshirt followers between the sites, these guys know the Rangers. Here is their (and our) take on the first round.

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Who do you think will be the most important player in the series?

Reade: The most important player in the series will be Brad Richards. If he can stop making ridiculous mistakes, the team will really benefit and his linemates will rack up more points.

Vin: The most important player of this series is going to have to be Henrik Lundqvist.

Bryan: Henrik Lundqvist.

Rangerface: The most important player will be Derek Stepan. Step, despite his terrible skating is so smart offensively and generates so much offense. If he can click with Nash, or St. Louis good things will happen.

Hank. Like Vin says, it all stems from Hank.

Hank. Like Vin says, it all stems from Hank.

Rangerface has been writing all year that the Blueshirts biggest weakness is their lack of an answer to the physicality of the bigger teams like Philadelphia and Boston. Will the Rangers be able to hold up against the Flyers physical play?

Reade: Oh yes. Remember, the Rangers acquired former Flyer Dan Carcillo for a series just like this. He is ready for a physical series.

Vin: The Flyers are always tough! They definitely bring a ton of physical play and grit! But I think we will be able to match that play with Daniel Carcillo, Derek Dorsett, Kevin Klein, and even Dominic Moore.

Bryan: If the Rangers keep the puck deep in the Philadelphia zone and generate offensive zone time and pressure, I think the Flyers physical play will get them in trouble as they’ll be forced to take bad penalties.

Rangerface: Hope so.

Carcillo (along with Dorsett) will be key in this series.

Carcillo (along with Dorsett) will be key in this series.

What kind of impact, if any will Carcillo and Dorsett have on the series?

Reade: They can add some 4th line scoring if needed. These guys will add tons of fuel to the series.

Bryan: They are both great scrappers but I don’t think they will have an impact in the series. I don’t think thats the Rangers plan.

Rangerface: They have to be willing to stand up to the bigger tougher Flyers who will be hitting McDonagh and Staal every chance they get. They also have to hit everything in orange while staying out of the box as both are prone to taking stupid penalties.

Who scores more goals Brian Boyle or Rick Nash?

Reade: Nash.

Vin: I’m gonna have to say Rick Nash hands down.

Bryan: Rick Nash.

Rangeface: Boyle has 6 goals in 33 playoff games while Nash has 2 goals in 16 playoff games (1/12 with the NYR.) If Boyle outscores Nash in this series, the Rangers are in trouble! Nash gets hot and pops 4 goals.

If Boyler finds the net more than Nasher, the NYR are in trouble.

If Boyler finds the net more than Nasher, the NYR are in trouble.

What do you expect from Martin St. Louis?

Reade: I expect Martin St. Louis to keep doing what he has been doing. Despite him only scoring one goal since he came to New York, the team has done so well. I expect MSL to score 2 goals and add four assists in the first round.

Vin: I expect St. Louis to be the veteran he is and bring tons of leadership and knowledge about post-season play to the table. I also expect him to keep contributing like he’s been since coming over from the Lightning.

Bryan: I expect great playmaking and several assists in the series verse the Flyers but I don’t expect to see any goals from MSL.

Rangerface: Martin St. Louis will break out in a big way, especially on the power play. MSL, might just be the best small guy to ever play the game. Ranger fans will finally get to see that this post-season.

MSL: Ready to finally breakout on Broadway!

MSL: Ready to finally breakout on Broadway!

Who or what do you think will be the biggest surprise?

Reade: The biggest surprise will be Henrik Lundqvist. In a good way. Expect him to come out in game 1 and be a brick wall.

Vin: I think the biggest surprise is going to come from the NYR is their ability to roll four consistent lines against the Flyers! I think they will get contributions from all four lines and the D as well.

Bryan: It will be a huge surprise if Ray Emery plays like a brick wall.

Rangerface: The biggest surprise will be Anton Stralman scoring a couple of big goals.

"If B-Rich..."

“If B-Rich…”

Finish this sentence: “If Brad Richards….”

Reade: If Brad Richards stops making stupid decisions the team will possess the puck more in the offensive zone giving him, and them, more scoring chances.

Vin: If Brad Richards can be the Brad Richards that hoisted the Cup in 2004 and lead the Rangers with some much needed goals, then I can see this hockey team giving all other teams trouble.

Bryan: If Brad Richards scores a hat trick i will give away Rangers apparel!

Rangeface: If Brad Richards shoots another puck from the point into a defender’s skates, I’ll eat John Amirante’s wig!

Finish this sentence: “I’ll be shocked if…”

Reade: I’ll be shocked if we look like the 2013 “John Tortorella Style Rangers” where we score few goals.

Bryan: I’ll be shocked if Brian Boyle is the MVP in Round 1.

Rangerface: Rick Nash doesn’t have a big impact on the series.

Will McD and Girardi continue to shut down Giroux?

Reade: Of course, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh got signed to long term extensions for a reason. Expect them to be fearless defenseman throughout the series and stifle Giroux.

Vin: Giroux and Philly are going to have a lot of problems going up against McD and Girardi.

Bryan: They have both been solid for the Rangers all year. Mac moreso than G but they are both strong and tough. Im not worried.

Rangerface: Giroux is so good, but so are McDonagh and Girardi and Staal as well. I think Giroux will get his pointsm but mostly on the power play. I think McD shuts him down at even strength.

Shutdown D. Let's shut down G!

Shutdown D. Let’s shut down G!

What three things will have to happen for the Rangers to win the series?

Reade:
1. A good power play
2. A good penalty kill
3. Be the first team to score in OT!

Vin:
1. Score some goals
2. Have a strong defensive presence.
3. Henrik has to be Henrik.

Bryan:
1. Lundqvist has to be at the top of his game.
2. The Blueshirts have to play solid defensive shut down hockey.
3. The big guys Nash, MSL, etc. need to step up.

Rangerface:
1. Scoring, lots of it. Especially from the big guns.
2. Hank must be the best goalie in the world.
3. The Rangers don’t get physically abused by the Flyers.

What three things have happen for the Rangers to lose the series?

Reade:
1. The Rangers will be low scoring like the Tortorella Rangers.
2. Hank will have to struggle.
3. Giroux will have to be the player he has been this season.

Bryan:
1. Rangers collapse defensively.
2. The Blueshirts struggle offensively.
3. The Rangers take too many bad retaliatory penalties.

Rangerface:
1. The Rangers get physically abused by the Flyers.
2. Hank is mediocre.
3. Nash and St. Louis are invisible.

Prediction?

Reade: Rangers in 5.
Vin: Rangers in 6.
Bryan: Rangers in 5.
Rangerface: Rangers in 6.

Let's see this for times in the next two weeks boys!

Let’s see this for times in the next two weeks boys!

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Game 82 Recap: Canadiens 1 Rangers 0 (OT)

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With the Rangers locked into the second seed and a matchup with the Flyers, they travelled up to La Belle Province to take on the Canadiens in a completely meaningless game.

With Ryan McDonagh, Martin St. Louis and Dan Girardi watching in civies, the Blueshirts lost the game in OT, but escaped the match unscathed. A point that was hugely important with the playoffs days away.

Despite, a barrage of 41 shots on Carey Price, the Rangers couldn’t squeeze one past the Gold Medal winning keeper and were undone when Raphael Diaz gave the puck away to Brian Gionta in the extra session. Gionta was awarded a penalty shot after he was taken down, and though he deserved better, Cam Tablot was beaten on the backhand by the Habs diminutive captain with a backhander.

The Rangers played well, but didn’t score, they showed some heart and no one got hurt. And now, the NYR head to a match up with the hated Flyers relatively healthy with the lone exception being Chris Kreider, who may hopefully be back for round two.

The playoffs are here and it’s the most wonderfully time of the year!
LET’S GO RANGERS!

Double D, getting his mush ready for Simmonds, RInaldo and the rest of the Flyers.

Double D, getting his mush ready for Simmonds, RInaldo and the rest of the Flyers.

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Game 81 Recap: Rangers 2 Sabres 1

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In the last game of the regular season on Garden ice, the Rangers eked out a 2-1 victory against the 30th place Buffalo Sabres. The game was an odd contest with wildly different periods, but all in all, a bit of a snoozer.

The opening stanza was painfully boring with both sides offering little and the Rangers throwing up two goose eggs on their twin power plays.

In the middle frame, the Rangers embarrassingly (for Buffalo) outshot the Sabes an incredible 18-1! Yet more astoundingly the Rangers found themselves trailing 1-0 as Buffalo scored on their only attempt of the period. Defenseman Mike Weber threw a shot (if you call if that) on net that hopped a few times across the ice (like a roc on a lake) before Drew Stafford tipped it by Henrik Lundqvist. The Blueshirts eventually drew even when Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello and Benoit Pouliot hooked up on a nice goal in the waning seconds of the period. Zucc tossed a nasty backhand pass to Pouliot on the strong side and B-Poul zipped one off the post by Buffalo 5th string goalie Matt Hackett and the NYR were tied heading to the third.

Who new Nasher had a cannon?

Who new Nasher had a cannon?

And the third was as wacky as the earlier periods. Buffalo outshot the Rangers 11-3, but the NYR got the game winner on their third and final shot of the period. With the clock ticking down and just 102 seconds left, Derek Stepan, Martin St. Louis and Rick Nash hooked up for a gorgeous game winner. Step fed MSL just inside the blueline and with Nash streaking up the off wing, St. Louis put a pass on a tee. The Rangers big winger tattooed a one timer past Hackett and the NYr were on their way to a victory in the final regular season game at MSG.

It was an odd kind of lackluster game with a pre-season feel to it. Understandably, the Blueshirts with a playoff spot already clinched, kind of ran through the motions against a far inferior club. They did manage a win that locked up home ice in the first round (not sure if that is a good thing) and they escaped the game with no injuries.

With a now meaningless game in Montreal on Saturday, expect Cam Talbot back in net and a bunch of healthy scratches.

The playoffs are coming!

Let’s go Rangers!

No doubt the King is back, but he'll need that jersey back for the playoffs.

No doubt the King is back, but he’ll need that jersey back for the playoffs.

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Game 80 Recap: Rangers 4 Hurricanes 1

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With their playoff ticket punched, the Rangers hosted the Carolina Hurricanes in the regular season’s penultimate game at MSG. After a sloppy start, including a goal three minutes in by a wide-open Patrick Dwyer, the Blueshirts were bailed out by their rounding-into-form goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. With his club trailing, the King made several big saves to keep the NYR within one, before Broadway Brad Richards exploded on the power play.

Richards, who didn’t literally explode (because if he had this would be a classic example of burying the lede,) exploded offensively. The erstwhile superstar had his best game as a New York Ranger in a very long time. B-Rich notched two power play goals, getting his first on a blast from the strong side circle towards the end of the first.

A successful PP, led by B-Rich!

A successful PP, led by B-Rich!

Richards struck again, with a PP rocket from the point at 13:36 of the second to put the Rangers up 3-1 after Mats Zuccarello threw a sick pass to Benoit Pouliot for an easy open net goal fifty seconds into the second period. Richards was excellent throughout the match. He was assertive and skated well as the middle of a Swedish sandwich with Carl Hagelin and Jesper Fast. Although at 6.7 per with six years remaining, he is still a likely summer buyout candidate, B-Rich is important as a third line center, especially as teams will be focusing on shutting down the Stepan and Brassard lines in a short playoff series. If B-Rich can find the back of the net and run the power play, the NYR will be in good shape.

It will also be a good sign for the Rangers, if Martin St. Louis continues to play like he did against Carolina. St. Louis had three apples on the evening, including a nifty pass to Derek Stepan for a tap-in in the third to put the game away. MSL was acquired for his clutch abilities, and while he only has the single goal so far in NYR blue, he is starting to get comfortable and starting to find his game, and that is a very good thing.

Well deserved Zucc!

Well deserved Zucc!

Finally, Mats Zuccarello was named this year’s winner of the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award. There was no Ranger more deserving of the accolade than the Oslo Magician™. The (barely) 5’7″ Zucc played with heart every shift, nver failing to hit or stand up for his teammates. While he was here, people often commented how Ryan Callahan was the “heart and soul” of the NYR, and while Callahan hustled, that was an insult to Zuccarello. No one on this club played with the heart that Zucc did. If the other 17 skaters on the club play the way MZ does, the Rangers will be a difficult team to play against this post-season.

Two games left. Buffalo at home and than a trip through the Adirondacks to face the Canadiens.

Let’s go Rangers!

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Game 79: Senators 3 Rangers 2

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Game 78 Recap: Avalanche 3 Rangers 2 (SO)

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The Rangers closed out their tough late-season western swing with a tough shoot out loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

Defenseman John Moore, fresh from a stint on the DL with a concussion, ripped a slapper by Semyon Varlamov just two minutes in and the Rangers grabbed the early lead.

The Blueshirts dominated the young and skilled Avs in the second twenty, outshooting Colorado 15-7, but has been

At the end of the trip, in the Mile High City, the Rangers simply ran out of gas. The Avalanche ran all over the NYR posting an astounding 16-3 shot advantage in the final frame.

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Game 77 Recap: Rangers 3 Canucks 1

You can't teach an old dog new tricks.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Fresh off a thorough pasting of the Oil in Edmonton, the Rangers headed southwest to take on John Tortorella and the downward spiraling Vancouver Canucks. The game marked a return to the Pacific Northwest for Alain Vigneault and a bench that he had called home for the previous seven seasons.

And on their Coach’s homecoming, the Bluehshirts didn’t disappoint.

The Rangers newly-formed fourth line of Dan Carcillo, Brian Boyle and Derek Dorsett bombarded the Nucks net. And after 47 whacks at the puck, just a tick under five minutes in, Carcillo buried the puck to give the NYR a 1-0 lead. The Rangers doubled their lead in the first, and on the power play no less (take that Torts!) when Benoit Pouliot slammed one home at 14:43. The PP wheeled the puck around the Vancouver zone and Mats Zuccarello found Deric Brassard and D-Brass zipped one to a wide-open Pouliot for the tap-in.

Vancouver, led by Ryan Kessler picked up their play in the second, but Henrik Lundqvist was outstanding. Hank bested all the Canucks good chances in the frame, except for one by Kelser, who blasted his 24th of the season by Lundqvist at 6:21 of the period. With the lead cut in half, Hank got better and the Rangers got better. The defense was stingier and the forecheck was more viscous.

Then in the third, while killing off a Canucks power play, after killing off a Canucks power play, something magical happened. Rick Nash broke out of the Rangers zone with Martin St. Louis trailing. Nash who was looking pass the entire time on the two-on-one, sauced a beauty to MSL and the struggling superstar didn’t miss. The St. Louis goal put the Rangers up 3-1 with ten minutes to go and iced the game with the way Hank was playing.

The goal was huge for MSL. The guy has clearly struggled and has clearly been fighting the puck and himself. But St. Louis is a superstar and he will be fine. The little guy became a superstar at a time in the league when little guys didn’t become superstars. He has battled his entire career and has worked his ass off to accomplish what he has accomplished, The goals will come and he will be fine.

"I was looking pass the whole time Marty." "Me too, Nasher."

“I was looking pass the whole time Marty.”
“Me too, Nasher.”

Finally on a more distressing note, the Canucks game plan (from their all-too-familiar with the New York Rangers coach) was to take runs at Ryan McDonagh. The Vancouver coach, must have known that if his players ran McD, their would be no answer from the NYR. They did and there wasn’t. Henrik Sedin slew-footed McDonagh in the corner with the Rangers best player hitting the back of his head on the ice. The marshmallow-soft Rangers (as usual) didn’t lift a glove to indicate to the Canucks that they wouldn’t tolerate such actions.

Then, and most egregiously, with under a minute cheap shot artist and gutless puke, Alex Burrows ran McD head-first into the glass with a shoulder elbow. Dan Girardi, pushed Burrows with an elbow, but that was it. No gloves dropped. No message sent to the Bruins and Flyers of the league, who already know that the Rangers will let teams hit/run/injure their best players with impunity. Girardi should have dropped his gloves without a thought and fought Burrows. But he didn’t, no one did. Zuccarello, bless him, tried to, but was stopped.

For the five thousandth time, we’ll say it again on these pages. The Rangers are a good team and despite the loss of Chris Kreider are coming together. They have a system, are getting great goaltending, solid defense and are scoring goals! But they are frustratingly soft. Other teams know it and will take advantage of it. Especially in the playoffs when games are more liberally officiated. It is the one (glaring) weakness on the club and it could be a fatal one in the post-season. Let’s hope not.

This was a sold road win (their league leading 25th of the season) but a possible loss of McDonagh could be devastating. Let’s hope he’s just shaken up. And let’s hope the Rangers find some, I don’t now… balls. Because with everything else going right, they are going to need them.

Next up the surprising Avalanche.

Let’s go Rangers!

"I got this Zucc. Nice backcheck by the way!"

“I got this Zucc. Nice backcheck by the way!”

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Game 76 Recap: Rangers 5 Oilers 0

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The Rangers recovered from their brief hiccup in Calgary with a dominating performance up the road in Edmonton.
After blowing a five game win streak against the lowly Flames, the Blueshirts pasted the Oilers in a 5-0 blanking.

Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello scored two goals apiece (including one shortie each) and Derick Brassard notched the other in the easy Cam Talbot shutout. The Rangers backup keeper made 26 saves and was in control and never really tested throughout the match.

The bounce-back win against the Oil was critical for the Rangers. After pissing away their win streak with a sloppy effort in Calgary on the first game of their 4 game swing, the Rangers needed a thumping to restore their good feeling, especially with just seven regular season games left on the schedule.

And thump, they did.

"I may disappear for games at a time, but when I score they usually come in bunches!"

“I may disappear for games at a time, but when I score they usually come in bunches!”

At 16:30 Mats Zuccarello went to the net and re-directed an Anton Stralman point shot by Ben Scrivens to give the Rangers the early lead and the only offense they would need on the night. The goal was reviewed by Toronto but ruled a good goal and not a high stick mostly because Zucc is 4’8″ and can’t physically direct the puck with a high stick.
The stingy New York defense held the high octane Oiler offense to three measly shots and the NYR closed the period up 1-0.

In the second, the Rangers offense struck oil – sorry had to! Derick Brassard finished one on the power play off a pass from The Oslo Magician™ and Rick Nash buried two. Both, coming from Derek Stepan with the second one a shorthanded tally. Zucc added his own shortie in the third (also from Stepan) and the Rangers cruised to a 5-0 whitewash.

Talbot, who was never really challenged, turned aside all 26 shots sent his way en route to his third shutout of the season. The twenty-six year old has been a godsend for the NYR and gives the Blueshirts a viable option (sorry, Martin Biron, Steve Valliquette, Kevin Weekes, and Alex Auld) when Hank gets his much needed rest. And, unlike in the past, if Hank (God forbid) gets hurt, the Rangers might not have to pack in the season.

Another bright spot on the night was Rick Nash. Sixtyone is a goal scorer and goal scorers score in bunches. They get hot and they get cold. But with the pair against Edmonton, Nasher now has 25 on the season. That is a pretty solid season for a goal scorer who looked to be out for the season after his early concussion.

The win was big for the Blueshirts who seem to be back on track made even bigger with the playoffs just a handful of games away.

Torts and Vancouver up next with a return to the old home barn for Alain Vigneault.
Allons-y Rangers!

This is about as tough as it got for Talbot.

This is about as tough as it got for Talbot.

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Game 75 Recap: Flames 4 Rangers 3

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Riding a five game win streak, the Rangers started their western swing with a lousy game against a lousy team, the already-eliminated Calgary Flames. In a crazy contest, the Rangers played as if they expected to be handed two points just for showing up. But points aren’t given out like participation trophies in the National League and the Blueshirts squandered two should-have points against a far inferior club.

Joe Colborne scored and early power play goal for the Flames and then late in period the Blueshirts defense decided to part like the Red Sea for Mark Giordano. The Flames captain took the puck and skated untouched through the Ranger zone, waltzing in alone on Henrik Lundqvist and easily flipping a shot over the Rangers goalie to double the Flames lead.

The NYR pulled up their bootstraps and blitzed the Flames early in the second. The Rangers scored 3 quick goals in just over 3 minutes and suddenly had a lead on Calgary. The scorching-hot fourth line continued their net-crashing play and big (and soft) Brian Boyle went to the net and tapped in an empty net rebound of his empty net tap-in try to bring the Rangers to within one. Then 39 seconds later Raphael Diaz threw one on net from the point that pinballed off like 17 people efore finding it’s way past Kari Rammo and the game was tied. A few minutes later, Broadway Brad Richards sniped a wrister over Rammo and just like that the NYR had a 3-2 lead and appeared poised to run away with the match.

msl-interview

Buttt…

The Flames fourth line crashed the cage and had their way with the Rangers defense in Hank’s crease with Kevin Westgarth eventually banging the puck home to tie the game at 3-3. Worst of all and possibly in an effort to match his teams lackluster play, Lundqvist let in a softie. With eight seconds left in the frame, Mike Cammalleri sped down the wing and sent a shot on Hank that seemed to go through him on the way to the net. The lousy goal that Hank should have had put the Flames up 4-3 as the period ended.

In the third it was more of the same, the Rangers threw a bunch of perimeter shots at Rammo and the MSG announcers (as if scripted by James Dolan) told Rangerstown™ who great the Flames goalie was playing. The Blueshirts did earn their only power play in the third, but it was as sloppy an effort as the rest of the game.

This was a game the Rangers should have had. Their big line, bookended by Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis was invisible yet again. St. Louis is a Hall of Fame player. He has found success in the NHL when it was nearly impossile for little guys to play in the league. He will, at some point, find his game, but in his first 13 games with the New York Rangers he has been fucking terrible. St. Louis, who has been angling for a trade to the Rangers for years, has finally gotten his wish and must find his game. We are sure that he will, but so far, this has been an ugly experience.

The Rangers take on another eliminated club with nothing to lose when they head up the road to Edmonton to battle the offensively gifted Oilers.

Let’s hope this wet fart in Cowtown was a hiccup and not a virus.

Let’s go Rangers!

Well, that sucked.

Well, that sucked.

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