Game 71 Recap: Rangers 3 Blue Jackets 1

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The Rangers ventured to central Ohio for a crucial game against the Blue Jackets. With the two clubs tied in the standings at 78 points, the game had huge playoff implications and both clubs played the game like a playoff game. The game was a grinding, tough, and nasty match.

The Rangers found some life, found some goals and most importantly, found something that has been missing all season. Their balls.

The Blueshirts showed more grit in this game than they have shown all season. Benoit Pouliot dropped the gloves with Derek MacKenzie and Rick Nash battled all game with Sergei Bobrovsky. Nash broke in on Bob late in the second and with Jack Johnson hanging on his back made a power move to the net grazing the Columbus goalie as the puck crossed the line. Perhaps because of the contact with goalie (caused by Johnson,) the referee vehemently and immediately waived and off the goal. As Nash went to pick up his stick off the ice, Bobrovsky slapped it away from him. And that is when the Rangers found their balls. Possibly angered by the Bobrovsky slash to the back of his leg in the first, or the attempted trip between periods, Nash reached a boiling point. He gave Bobrovsky a quick two fisted jab to the chest/neck and a scrum ensued. Chris Kreider (who played with snarl all night) tossed Artem Anisimov around like a rag doll (poor Artie!) and Dan Girardi showed his lack of nastiness while Nash wrestled with Johnson.

Balls. Everywhere.

Balls. Everywhere.

The bit of nastiness seemed to enliven the NYR and tick off the BJ’s. Just 12 ticks in to the scoreless final frame, the Blue Jackets came after Nash, and the big guy stood up for himself. Nash threw several bombs at Matt Calvert and won a fight, that was sure to pump up his team mates.

But just 60 seconds later, Pouliot made a horrible giveaway. With light Columbus forecheck pressure in the NYR zone, Pouliot tired making a back pass for some strange reason and as his stick snapped he gave the puck directly to a wide-open Nick Foligno in the high slot. Foligno wired a bullet over Henri Lundqvist to give the BJS a 1-0 lead.

44 seconds later, Ryan McDonagh circled around the Columbus net and found Derek Stepan in the slot and D-Step tied the game at 1-1. Then Rangers kept working and got a grinding goal. Moving the puck below the BJ’s goal line, Derick Brassard too a pass from Anton Stralman and banked the puck off Bobrovsky and in from behind the net.

Carl Hagelin chipped in an empty-netter and the pumped up Blueshirts had a huge emotional win. The crucial victory gave them two more points in the playoff hunt and allowed them to leap-frog Columbus. More importantly, with under a dozen games remaining, the Rangers played with heart and with emotion. As Dave Maloney kept saying on MSG, they played angry. Hank was excellent and the NYR hustled and they fought and most importantly of all, they found their balls. They still don’t have any physical answers for the tougher teams, but they stood up for themselves and that builds chemistry, which is huge.

Back at in in NJ on Saturday.

Let’s go Rangers!

FIRED UP!

FIRED UP!

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Game 70 Recap: Rangers 8 Senators 4

Portrait of a group of business people laughing against white ba

The Rangers played one of the strangest games in recent NYR memory and they won. In a bizarre slopfest of a hockey game, the Blueshirts hung a snowman on the hapless Ottawa Senators. The incredible 8 goal outburst masked the fact that the NYR played almost no defense in front of their goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, who made several clutch saves en route to his record breaking win. With the victory, Lundqvist’s 302 wins for the NYR, the King has now passed Mike Richter as the winningest goalie in Rangers history.

But again, the New York Rangers scored eight goals! Eight goals in a game, not in a week. In a game!

Mike Hoffman got the Sens on the board 6:57 into the first. Then Rick Nash (yes, that Rick Nash, the superstar who has been more invisible than visible with the NYR) scored with a low-blocker snapshot on a short handed breakaway to tie the game just 65 seconds later.

Henrik Lundqvist

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Game 69 Recap: Sharks 1 Rangers 0

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The Sharks scored a goal and the Rangers didn’t. The end.

The Sharks are a very good club. They have balanced scoring, defense and goaltending. But the Rangers have Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis, three NHL “superstars” with more than enough pedigree (and money) to muster a single goal on home ice. But in their 4 pm tilt with San Jose at MSG, they mustered nothing.

Wasting an excellent performance by Henrik Lundqvist, who gave up a single Logan Couture shorthanded breakaway goal at 11:48 of the first, the Rangers fired 41 shots at Anti Neimi. 41 Petr Nedved-style perimeter shots. Ryan McDonagh got robbed on the doorstep, mostly by Marc Edouard-Vlasic and Carl Hagelin scored on a wrap-around that Niemi scooted out of the net. It should have been a goal and drove NYR-conspiracy theorists (who blame anything and anyone but the NYR for their woes) nuts, but video never actually showed the puck over the goal line, just squirting out from inside the net. So while Toronto could assume the puck crossed the line, their was no video evidence showing it and they made the right call.

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Hags, non-goal aside, the Blueshirts didn’t score. Good teams score. Good teams don’t get blanked on home ice. Good teams find chemistry. St. Louis, now seven games and zero goals into his NYR tenure has been mercifully moved away from B-Rich, his good buddy and former running mate in Tampa. Chemistry-killer Richards (wasn’t he known as a good passer before he came to NYC?) is now a 6.7 million dollar third line center. He couldn’t play with Marian Gaborik, Nash, or St. Louis and now runs with Hagelin and Benoit Pouliot. St. Louis looks all sorts of flustered. HE’s a great player and will find his game, but he is a Ranger now, so history dictates that he will likely post well-below career averages on Broadway. And Nash, the former Rocket Richard winner is often more invisible than visible, scoring 11 of his 20 goals in an 11 game stretch. Nash, who doesn’t posess a slapshot in his arsenal, or at least has never shown a slapshot, has been hovering around the perimeter Nedved-style of late. The big winger who scores most of his goals from just around the paint has been avoiding the paint like it has the measles. The three Ranger superstars, the ones who are supposed to carry the load for the Blueshirts have done nothing. Glen Sather who gave away his first round picks over the next two seasons, has wrought this on the NYR faithful. A soft team, with aging superstars who don’t produce like superstars, with very little in the system and no draft picks coming for a while, that is built to (barely) make the playoffs and get abused by tougher more physical teams.

The Rangers have 13 games left to make the playoffs. 26 possible points. The season, once again, is slipping away and the Blueshirts will have to find some ind of scoring to make the post season. It’s getting late and it’s getting ugly.

For the love of God, let’s go Rangers!

glens-boys

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Game 68 Recap: Rangers 4 Jets 2

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The slumping Rangers headed to the loudest building in the league to take on the Atlanta Thrashers Winnipeg Jets. Desperate for points, the Rangers got an early goal from Carl Hagelin and then got two more from the pretty Swede to beat the J-E-T-S, Jets! Jets! Jets!

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Game 67 Recap: Wild 2 Rangers 1

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Awful. Just plain awful.

After their wet fart of a game in Carolina, the Rangers travelled to Minnesota to take on the North Stars Wild. Hoping to get back on track, the Blueshirts played a listless, unemotional uninspired game.

With Cam Talbot in net for the resting Henrik Lundqvist, the Blueshirts played a dispassionate and disinterested first period (and second and third.) They fired a whopping seven shots on Darcy Kuemper and found themselves down a goal at 13:08 on a sloppy miscue. Behind their own goal line, with the Wild applying pressure on the forecheck, Rick Nash had his pocket picked by Kyle Brodziak. The Minnesota forward stole the puck from Nash and slid it to a wide open Nino Niederreiter in the slot, who buried it for the 1-0 lead.

Um, yeah.

Um, yeah.

The Rangers managed to tie the game (in another seven shot second period) on the power play. With Chris Kreider screening Kuemper, Derek Stepan snapped a bullet over the Wild’s suddenly unbeatable goaltender. Tied at 1-1, the NYR meandered through the middle frame and headed to the third deadlocked.

At that point, despite how flat they had played, the Rangers found themselves with a chance to steal a game they had no business winning. Good teams and teams desperate for points in the playoff hunt dig deep and win those close games. But the Rangers decided to hang their goaltender out to dry.

Just sixty-three seconds into the final frame, the Blueshirts generously let Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Mikael Granlund, take 400 whacks at a loose puck in front of Talbot while Anton Stralman, Marc Staal, and the forward trio of car Hagelin, Stepan and Nash stood idly by. It was actually four untouched whacks before Parise eventually buried the puck for the game winner.

"Didn't you guys see the Vancouver Olympics? You can't leave me alone to whack away in front like that!"

“Didn’t you guys see the Vancouver Olympics? You can’t leave me alone to whack away in front like that!”

The NYR got a late power play chance but they couldn’t find any chemistry on the PP and they lost. They fired 16 (mostly perimeter) shots at Keumpfer who, as is the NYR custom, was made to look like an unbeatable superstar.

Again.

Martin St. Louis has found ZERO chemistry with his old buddy Brad Richards. St. Louis, who has one measly point in his short tenure in New York has been unfortunately saddled with Broadway Brad and can’t get anything going. Richards, the former superstar center, who couldn’t mesh with Marian Gaborik and then couldn’t mesh with Nash, and now can’t mesh with his old liney is once-again becoming the 2012-13 Brad Richards. St. Louis will score and he will produce. He just needs to get the hell away from B-Rich.

The Rangers are in trouble, they are still (barely) in a playoff spot but with 15 games left, time and points are running out.

Right back at it tomorrow in Winnipeg.
Let’s go Rangers!

D-Keump. The greatest goalie since Dryden!

D-Keump. The greatest goalie since Dryden!

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Game 66 Recap: Hurricanes 3 Rangers 1

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On a bit of a mini-roll, the Rangers headed to Carolina for the second time in a week and promptly put an end to their mini-roll. The listless Blueshirts were listless in a match against an inferior team that they should have handled.

The Rangers defense was terribly sloppy handing two goals to the Hurricanes on horrible breakdowns. And their offense was basically non-existent.

Sleeping through a boring first period, the Blueshirts bothered to throw five shots at Cam Ward. They did manage a goal in the second period, their only measly one of the match. But that was sandwiched inside two Canes goals, thanks to some truly atrocious defense.

Jiri Tlusty, left all alone in front of Henrik Lundqvist, had time to make a sandwich before slamming home a pass from Jordan Staal. And Staal, got one of his own, when his brother jumped along the wall and badly missed the puck allowing Jordan and Tlusty to break in two-on-one on Anton Stralman. As Stralman face-planted, Tlusty and Staal completed an easy two-on-Hank.

The Canes got the insurance goal in the third when Elias Lindholm added his sixth of the season and the Ranger’s mini-streak was over.

Hank didn’t get much help and it was a flat game for the NYR and hopefully just a blip as points are dwindling as the season wanes down.

The Blueshirts take on the Wild in Minnesota next.
Let’s go Rangers!

Yes! They're making this easy for us!

Yes! They’re making this easy for us!

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Game 65 Recap: Rangers 3 Red Wings 0

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After a post-Olympic mini-slump, the Rangers faced the Red Wings in a critically important matinee matchup at the World’s Most Famous. Looking to build off their sloppy come-from-behind win in Carolina, the Rangers struck first and locked down the Wings for the rest of the match.

Henrik Lundqivst, solid throughout the contest earned his 300th career win good for second all time in Ranger history (1 behind Mike Richter) and 49th career shutout most all time in NYR history.

When Boyler finds the back of the net, something must be going right.

When Boyler finds the back of the net, something must be going right.

"Yeah, I don't think so."

“Yeah, I don’t think so.”


CARCOSA!

CARCOSA!

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Game 64 Recap: Rangers 4 Hurricanes 2

Guaranteed to make you absolutely effing crazy.

Guaranteed to make you absolutely effing crazy.

Riding the wave of a three game losing streak, the Rangers travelled to the Carolinas to take on the Hurricanes and try to get on track. In what was for 55 minutes, a truly boring hockey game, the Rangers, with their full compliment of players, looked a lot like the Peter Nedved Era Rangers as they fired a bunch of shots from the perimeter, but didn’t bother to attack the net.

After a ton of Ranger (mostly from the perimeter) shots and two nothing power plays, Jordan Staal put the Canes up 1-0 picking the puck up off the wall and sniping one over Hank’s glove to give Carolina the lead with 2:11 in the first. Yet another NYR first where they heavily outshot their opponent but trailed after twenty.

After a sloppy, snoozefest of a second, the Rangers headed to the final frame down a goal and looking pedestrian. Then, Ryan McDonagh ripped a shortie and the Rangers picked up their play. Shorthanded in their own zone, Rick Nash worked the puck from the corner and broke out with Derek Stepan. McD joined the play to give the Rangers numbers and Nash sent a pass to the trailing McDonagh that the defenseman tattooed five hole past Khudobin to tie the game at 1-1.

Jeff Skinner broke free of the Rangers defense and was in alone on Henrik Lundqvist before Anton Stralman hooked him off the puck just before he could get off a shot. Skinner was (correctly) awarded a penalty shot and he calmly skated in on Hank and ripped one low glove to put Carolina up 2-1 with 8:53 remaining.

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The Rangers began to attack the net after the Skinner goal, Chris Kreider crashed the cage and mixed it up with Ron Hainsey and Brett Bellemore. Of course no other Blueshirt came in to help out their teammate because, disappointingly but not shockingly, the Rangers are one of the softest, if not the softest teams in the NHL. However, they did start going to the net.

On a 4-on-4 John Moore crashed the net and Nash threw one to the defenseman that Andrej Sekara re-directed through the Greatest Goalie in the World (at least according to Sam and Joe) Anton Khudobin and the Rangers were tied at 2-2.

Then the Rangers got two consecutive, concurrent breaks. Already short for throwing the puck over the glass, the Hurricanes did it again. The Blueshirts worked the puck patiently and St. Louis sauced a beauty to Stepan back door that D-Step corralled and roofed to for the GWG.

Carl Hagelin added an empty-netter and however they arrived there, the Rangers had a win.

The Blueshirts played a terrible game against an inferior team that they should have smoked. They hung on the perimeter until the McDonagh goal and they’re still incredibly soft. However ugly, they picked up their play and they got the W and that is critical right now. Possible points are finite and diminishing and every one they gain helps. They are going to be in a dogfight just to make the playoffs and they will have to be better.

Next up the Red Wings.
Let’s go Rangers!

Oh hai Marty, hai!

Oh hai Marty, hai!

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Game 63 Recap: Maple Leafs 3 Rangers 2 (OT)

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The Martin St. Louis Era began at the World’s Most Famous as the Rangers hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Bluehsirts, led by the Brad Richards St. Louis Carl Hagelin line, came out flying in the fast-paced contest with the Leafs. The Rangers looked very good and did everything right, except score.

In the second, the NYR kept up their accelerated pace, but got caught sleeping when James van Reimsdyk found Tyler Bozak streaking behind the defense with a home run pass. John Moore caught up to Bozak and hooked him off the puck, getting called for a penalty shot. Bozak beat Henrik Lundqvist five-hole and the Leafs had a 1-0 lead.

Early in the third, Richards fell asleep in the Rangers zone. Nikolai Kumelin stripped Dan Girardi behind the net and walked out into the high slot firing a shot off Hank’s pad that came right to an all alone Nazim Kadri in front for the put back putting the Leafs up 2-0.

And then the Blueshirts caught a break. Shorthanded in the third, the Rangers pressed the Leafs on the forechek and Brian Boyle did what he does best. He skated into Cody Franson and fell down. The puck squirted into the corner where Dominic Moore sent the puck into Ryan McDonagh in the high slot. McD wound up and ranked a shot about 10 feet wide that hit Dion Phaneuf’s skate and found it’s way into the net.

Then amazingly on the same penalty, Dominic Moore (in Ryan Callahan’s vacated PK spot) picked off a Phil Kessel pass and broke in two-on-one with Derek Stepan. Step hit Moore and the NYR forward wristed one high blocker on Jonathan Bernier and the Rangers were tied 2-2.

Welcome to the NYR Marty! Now go win us a Cup!

Welcome to the NYR Marty! Now go win us a Cup!

The game went to overtime and just 1:51 in, Girardi and McDonagh chased Kessel and the puck behind the net and Rick Nash and Richards didn’t bother to over anyone in front. Kessel found Bozak in front and Bozak found the back of the net, giving the Leafs the OT win.

The Rangers played at a solid pace. They skated well and had several good chances. Hank was solid and The Richards-St.Louis-Hagelin trio had instant chemistry but the Rangers didn’t score enough and didn’t win. The race is tightening up and with 19 games time (and potential points) is running out. The Rangers need to get back on the winning track and fast.

Next up a trip to Carolina.

Let’s go Rangers!

D Zone Coverage? Naaah.

D Zone Coverage? Naaah.

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Trade Deadline Wrap-Up: Hello Martin St. Louis. Goodbye Ryan Callahan.

Boomer was right all along!

Boomer was right all along!

The trade deadline has come and gone and it was quite and interesting day for the NYR.

On the positive side, Glen Sather was not held hostage by Ryan Callahan’s ridiculous contract demands. Callahan, who played very hard for the Rangers and who willingly gave up his body to block shots or hit people, was asking for way too much money for way too much term.
Callahan is a nice player and has been a good Ranger, but he is essentially a third line winger. In 2014 Cally is the the third best RW on the squad. Giving him 6+ million for 6 years would be a terrible investment. Cally’s game does not lend itself to longevity, as his recent spate of injuries proves. His game also doesn’t lend itself to much goal production and it wouldn’t logically seem to improve in the later years of his contract when Callahan is in his mid 30′s. Callahan’s hustle will be missed, but it isn’t worth tying up the NYR salary cap moving forward.

Another huge positive is gaining Martin St. Louis. While the knock on St Louis, the reigning Art Ross winner is his age (38), St Louis is one of the best conditioned athletes in the league. St Louis produces points and should continue to do so in NYC. Also, he’s locked up for another year after this at a 5.6. MSL is a battler, who despite his size, became a star in the league when it was extremely difficult for small players to succeed in the NHL. He is a winner and a proven leader and will help the Rangers.

Maybe he'll start taking care of himself now that he is with the Blueshirts.

Maybe he’ll start taking care of himself now that he is with the Blueshirts.

A negative to the deal is that Sather had to throw a 2015 1st round pick in the deal. St Louis wanted out of Tampa and has for a while. He lives in Greenwich, CT and listed the NYR as the only team he would waive his no-trade to go to. Steve Yzerman was boxed in with this request, yet he still got the better of Sather as most GM’s (except Bob Gainey, thanks!) trading with Slats often do. To be fair, Slats had to get something for UFA Cally and the league knew it. But the #1 pick, not to mention the conditional #2 seems a bit steep.

When Callahan is safely in Buffalo on an insane contract, MSL will be putting up numbers. This will help the Blueshirts, this year, next year and possibly longer. Martin St. Louis is one of the best players in the league, today and he will help the New York Rangers in the locker room and on the ice in all situations!

Let’s go Rangers!

Thanks for everything Cally. You got a bit greedy at the end, but you were a good Ranger.

Thanks for everything Cally. You got a bit greedy at the end, but you were a good Ranger.

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