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.

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Poor Start Leads to 4-2 Loss Against Blackhawks

February 16, 2012

They say you can’t win a game in the first period, but you sure could lose one, as the Rangers learned tonight when they gave up four goals in the first five minutes en route to a 4-2 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks. 

The Hawks opened the scoring on a Jonathan Toews penalty shot after Dan Girardi closed his hand on the puck in the crease. Just 1:03 later, Chicago took a 2-0 lead on a Nick Leddy shot from the point that wrang off the post. Martin Biron allowed two more breakaway goals to Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa, as the Hawks took a 4-0 lead after the first period.

The Rangers finally cracked through in the second period on Marc Staal‘s first goal of the season. They added one more late in the third period on a goal by Carl Hagelin, but that is as close as it got, as the Rangers’ win-streak was snapped at four.

  • Couldn’t have gotten a worse start from the Blueshirts tonight. After a positive opening one or two shifts, the Rangers fell apart. I’ve really lost a lot of confidence with Biron, even if he did settle down and really kept the Rangers in the game. Sure he’s 10-3 and has good numbers for a backup, but I don’t have the same feeling I had about him early in the season. I’ve also never seen a goaltender fail to cover up the 5-hole like he has. The word is out. Also had to be tough for him to hear the “Hen-Rik” chants and the Bronx Cheer in the first, but he deserved it.
  • Believe it or not, I think this game was a lot closer than the score said, and I hate that saying. But after the first five minutes, the Rangers really settled down and I think were the better team the final 50 minutes or so. The Hawks still won the game, but if we’re looking for some positives, we could start there.
  • With that said, the powerplay took a giant leap back following a little stretch where it saw success. You could make the argument that this was the worst game of the season in terms of powerplay success. They just had absolutely nothing going, and finished 0-for-7.
  • I like him, but boy does Mike Rupp have to cash in on that empty net in the second period. That goal would have made it 4-2 midway through the second and the Rangers would have all the momentum on their hands. I think even Brandon Dubinsky would have buried that one.
  • Staal continues to improve, and now has two points in three games. On top of that, Ryan McDonagh‘s play on the Hagelin goal was a thing-a-beauty.
  • Some of the penalties that were called tonight were just brutal on both sides, including the Toews interference call on Brian Boyle and the first Dubinsky call.
  • Have to just forget about this one and take care of business Sunday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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Rangers Top Lightning, 4-3, in Overtime

February 9, 2012

Courtesy: NHL.com

At times it wasn’t pretty, but has it ever been this season? The Rangers played one of their sloppier games tonight, but they still found a way to get the win, topping the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-3, in overtime.

The Lightning opened the scoring in the first period, when Steven Stamkos broke in alone and deked Martin Biron, opening his legs and went 5-hole for the 1-0 lead.

In the second period, the Rangers did something they haven’t been doing much this season: scored on the powerplay. A Michael Del Zotto slapshot from the point deflected off two sticks, including Ryan Callahan‘s and into the net, the team’s first goal with the man-advantage since late January against the Boston Bruins.

Just 56 seconds later, Derek Stepan gave the team the lead, burying a Dan Girardi shot from the bottom of the circle. It was short lived, though, as Vinny Lecavalier scored on his third shot to tie the game 2-2. Ex-Islander Bruno Gervais gave the Bolts the 3-2 lead.

Midway through the third, Brian Boyle found a loose puck and sent it on net to tie the game at 3. The goal came minutes after Boyle had an opportunity to tie it in front, but hit the post.

In overtime, Del Zotto led Artem Anisimov in the slot, who sent a no-look pass to Brad Richards, who beat Mathieu Garon for the game-winner.

My take after the break Read the rest of this entry »

Biron to Start, Eminger in Against Lightning

February 9, 2012

According to Rangers Rants, Martin Biron should be in net tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Biron, who last played nine days ago in a 4-3 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils, was the first goalie off the ice today in practice.

As Andrew Gross points out, it sets up some pretty good questions in net going into a tough stretch for the Blueshirts. After tonight’s game, the Rangers head to Philadelphia Saturday afternoon before hosting the Washington Capitals Sunday afternoon. The team then travels to Boston before hosting the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night. Gross expects Biron to start Sunday afternoon.

Defenseman Steve Eminger will play his first game since separating his shoulder in mid-December. Stu Bickel, who has played well but has a knack for taking penalties, will watch the game from the press box.

Tonight is the first match between the Rangers and Lightning since the Artem Anisimov goal celebration in early December. He declined to comment on the game or whether he expects a retaliation.

I like Biron going tonight. They really have no choice with such a grueling schedule coming up. 

Eminger deserves to dress after being a healthy scratch since being cleared to play. Tonight won’t be an overly-physical game, so the need to have Bickel in the lineup doesn’t make much sense.

I don’t expect anything to happen in regards to Anisimov. The Bolts said they used it as motivation to win the December game, so nothing should still be carried over eight weeks later.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Fedotenko and Dubinsky Out, Lundqvist to Start

January 15, 2012

Getting ready to watch the Giants take on the Green Bay Packers in a few minutes, but some quick tid-bits for tonight’s matchup with the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadians at the Bell Centre.

Earlier today, the Rangers re-called Kris Newbury from the AHL because Ruslan Fedotenko will not dress tonight due to back spasms. Fedotenko left the game last night in Toronto.

Brandon Dubinsky will miss his third-straight game after suffering a shoulder injury last week. Although Dubinsky returned Tuesday against the Phoenix Coyotes, Dubinsky has not even practiced since then. Wojtek Wolski will dress in his absence.

Finally, as expected, Henrik Lundqvist will be in net tonight after Martin Biron started and won last night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Biron In, Dubinsky Still Out

January 14, 2012

Tonight, the New York Rangers look to get back in the win column in when they face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs north of the boarder in Toronto. The Rangers haven’t beaten the Leafs in two attempts this season.

Martin Biron will get the nod tonight, meaning Henrik Lundqvist will start tomorrow night against the Montreal Canadiens, a team the Rangers have not had success against in Montreal lately. Biron was in goal for a 4-0 loss against the Habs earlier in the season.

Biron has played well this season, posting a 8-2 victory, with his most recent defeat coming against the Washington Capitals about three weeks ago. Although he’s still playing solid, his game has dipped a bit, and rebounds have hurt him.

Brandon Dubinsky will miss his second straight game with a shoulder injury he suffered in the first period of Tuesday night’s 2-1 shootout win over the Phoenix Coyotes. Dubinsky, who has played well as of late, returned in that game but has since continued to feel pain.

“It’s still the same,” head coach John Tortorella said of Dubinsky’s injury. “We just don’t want it to turn into a bigger problem…We’re just trying to be careful.”

No word on line combinations tonight, but expect some shakeup. Artem Anisimov has not played great, and is pointless in his last nine games, not a stat a top-line player should ever have. Faceoff is at 7 pm.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia