Rangers Top Hurricanes 3-2

March 1, 2012

I’m actually having difficulty coming up with witty openings for post-game entries. This team just keeps rolling and rolling. They lose one or two, they win three or four. The shock is starting to wear off, and many Rangers fans have now just become used to the success of the regular season. That, obviously, will change in about five weeks time when the playoffs start.

Tonight, the Rangers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2, behind second period goals by Artem Anisimov and Marian Gaborik, and a third period tally by Brandon Prust. For the Hurricanes, Jeff Skinner and Jay Harrison were able to beat Martin Biron over 60 minutes.

The Rangers improve to 41-15-6, lead both the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division

  • Really solid effort from start to finish. The Rangers were the better team for 60 minutes and were just too much for the Canes to handle.
  • When the Rangers got into penalty trouble — especially the four-minute double-minor in the third period — the penalty kill stepped up huge. This team prides itself on team defense, and it very rarely fails them.
  • Speaking of penalties, Brandon Dubinsky‘s tossing the stick penalty late in the first period, which led to Skinner’s goal early in the second period, is just a bad penalty to take. Dubinsky didn’t have a shift in the second or third periods. Hopefully it sends the message. Coach John Tortorella called it a “dumb penalty.”
  • The line of Anisimov, Gaborik and Derek Stepan continues to generate offense on a nightly basis. They’re developing into a legitimate first line threat. Gaborik’s tally was his 30th of the season, and he’s had over a point-per-game over the last 20.
  • This was one of Biron’s most solid starts, and he needed it. He’s been lack-luster as of late, and he really bounced back and maintained the Rangers’ leads. Big win for him.
  • Scary scene in the third period when Dan Girardi appeared to injure his arm blocking a shot. I understand the mentality of blocking shots, but sometimes I wish these guys would let the guy with the goalie pads block them.
  • Michael Del Zotto left the match with a hip injury. It could be the same injury he suffered last weekend against Buffalo, but not a lot of information given tonight.
  • No Ryan Callahan, no problem. The team didn’t skip a beat without the captain in the lineup. Obviously we don’t want to make that a regular story, but one night they survived.
  • Ryan McDonagh is a great player.
  • The Prust goal was something out of NHL 94 on the Sega Genesis. Picture perfect.
  • I really hate when Marc Staal plays one of his brothers. MSG makes out like it’s the first time this happens, rather than a 10-time a season thing.
  • Right back at it tomorrow night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia


Callahan Out, Biron, Scott In Against Hurricanes

March 1, 2012

According to several reports, Rangers captain Ryan Callahan will miss tonight’s matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes with what the team is calling a bruise foot. After missing about 20 games last season with a broken wrist and foot, tonight marks the first game Callahan has missed this season.

In his place will be newly acquired John Scott, playing in his first game with the Rangers after he was traded to New York by the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.

The 6-foot 8-inch enforcer could play either defense or offense — though he’s slated to play upfront tonight — and said he wants to make a “good first impression” on his new teammates.

Scott told Ranges Rants that he doesn’t feel like part of the team yet, but that should change after tonight’s game. “I know I’m a Ranger but it’s still weird to think about it,” Scott said. “I still like of the Rangers as them. Once the game starts, it will be us.”

Henrik Lundqvist will get the night off, meaning Martin Biron will get the start. Biron has lost his last two starts after coming out of the gate slow. He allowed four goals in the opening 10 minutes against the Blackhawks on Feb. 16, and two goals last Friday against the New York Islanders in the game’s opening nine minutes.

Both Steve Eminger and Jeff Woywitka remain healthy scratches.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Gleason Re-signs With ‘Canes, Rangers Must Look Elsewhere

January 30, 2012

A name that has been bounced around all season as a potential trade target for the New York Rangers was taken off the market today, when Tim Gleason re-signed with the Carolina Hurricanes for four-years and about $4 million per.

The 29-year-old has one goal and 13 assists in 51 games this season. He’s never scored more than five goals in a single season, or broken 21 points.

The reason I mention his poor stats is because the last thing the Rangers need is a shutdown defenseman. The Rangers need some pop from the point, and Gleason would not provide that. With Marc Staal, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh all more defensive defenseman, not to mention Michael Sauer and Steve Eminger when healthy, this blueline is desperate for some scoring punch.

There are options out there for the Rangers to explore to improve their blueline, but I don’t think Gleason was the answer. As a Ranger fan, I’m glad he’s staying in Carolina.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Staal Cleared for Contact

December 27, 2011

A little late here but my Monday was filled with playing hockey, a family party, a migraine headache and the Ranger game, leaving me little time to post this.

Marc Staal was cleared for contact Monday morning after meeting with Dr. Robert Cantu at Boston University last week. Staal has been out the entire season after suffering a concussion last February against the Carolina Hurricanes. He played the rest of the season before complaining of headaches this offseason.

“I did some battle drills down low, took some hits,” Staal said Monday after practice. “It was good. Obviously I didn’t feel great after two days off, physically, but I felt good enough to start doing drills.”

Staal said he did some “pushing and shoving” and even took a few head bumps against the glass, but said he was OK. “There’s no doubt in my mind that this was the right thing to do,” he said. “I still need some more work. I don’t feel as if I’m ready to play 25 minutes a night like I was last year again. It’s coming along a lot better. I feel a lot strong on the ice and it’s starting to come. But it’s not where it needs to be yet.”

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Staal to Be Re-examined Monday

December 23, 2011

Well the news Rangers fans have been waiting for since October has arrived…sort of. According to Pat Leonard of the NY Daily News, defenseman Marc Staal will be re-examined Monday to begin taking contact in practice, the final step before being cleared to return to the lineup after missing the entire season with post-concussion syndrome following a hit last February by his brother, Eric, of the Carolina Hurricanes.

The team continues to say the All-Star defenseman is out indefinitely, but that seems to be changing for the positive. Obviously, there could be a setback in practice, though I’d be shocked if someone leveled him practice.

Earlier in the week, Staal told Dave Lozo of NHL.com that he hasn’t completely ruled out playing in the Winter Classic against the Philadelphia Flyers a week from Monday, but he rescinded a bit Tuesday in an interview during the 4-1 win against the New Jersey Devils.

Personally, I think we’ll see Staal back around the second week of January, if all goes according to plan.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Stepan Hopeful For Lightning, Richards and Torts Return to Tampa

December 3, 2011

Rangers forward Derek Stepan is hopeful to play tonight when the Rangers play the Tampa Bay Lightning after blocking a shot late in the team’s 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night.

Stepan had difficulty returning to the bench after blocking the shot with his ankle, but returned to the ice his next shift. Reports said his ankle was swelled. X-rays on the ankle came back negative.

“It’s a little sore this morning, we’re trying to help it,” Stepan said Friday morning. When Andrew Gross at Rangers Rants asked if he was concerned about not playing against the Lightning, Stepan responded by saying “no, I’m trying to look at it in a positive way. I’ll probably try to skate tomorrow. No, I will skate tomorrow. It was right on the bone but we took pictures and everything came back good. It was a weird spot, it was hard to get feeling in my feet. There was the puck in the zone and there was a lot of action but I couldn’t put any weight on it. The swelling wasn’t too bad, there was a little bit today but not too bad.”

Tonight will make the first time both John Tortorella and Brad Richards have been in Tampa Bay together since their days as members of the Lighting several years ago. It’s also the first time Richards, Tortorella and Ruslan Fedotenko, also a member of the 2004 Stanley Cup team, return to their old stomping grounds together. Read the rest of this entry »

Deveaux Waived, Rangers Interested in Ryan?

November 30, 2011

Some news and rumors away from the ice following last night’s big win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Garden. No piece coming because I’m feeling a bit under the weather, but these issues had to be addressed.

First, the Rangers today announced Andre Deveaux was placed on waivers. Deveaux has been suspended the past three games following last week’s elbow to the head of the Florida PanthersTomas Fleishmann. If he clears waivers by tomorrow, he could report back to the AHL. According to Rangers Rants, Deveaux did not participate in the team’s practice and was saying goodbye to several teammates.

“I guess I elbowed myself out of the league,” Deveaux said to the website when asked if he knew what the next step was.

The team left for Carolina this afternoon for its matchup against the Hurricanes tomorrow night. Joining the team will be injured forwards Wojtek Wolski and Mike Rupp, as well as defenseman Marc Staal. Read the rest of this entry »