Rangers Stump Senators, Win Game 1

April 12, 2012

Courtesy of BlueShirtsUnited.com

You couldn’t have asked for a better performance from the New York Rangers in Game 1 Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators. No, the Rangers didn’t dominate from start to finish, but their offense was solid and their defense weathered the storm when the Senators’ potent offense was controlling the puck. When the defense broke down, Henrik Lundqvist stood tall and the Rangers walked away with a 4-2 opening game victory to lead the best of seven 1-0.

Ryan Callahan opened the scoring in the first period when his turnaround shot found space between the far post and goaltender Craig Anderson‘s pad to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead with 7:59 left in the first period.

The Senators responded and applied pressure, but a key timeout by head coach John Tortorella settled the game down for the Rangers. They responded when Marian Gaborik drove to the net and slipped the puck between Anderson’s legs to give the Rangers a 2-0 with 3:36 left. Brian Boyle added to that lead when he fired a loose puck over Anderson’s shoulder to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead with 54 seconds left in the middle period.

Brad Richards closed the scoring minutes into the third period, converting off a pass from Carl Hagelin after he stripped a Senators defenseman of the puck to make it 4-0.

Daniel Alfredsson broke Lundqvist’s shutout bid with 9:55 left, and Erik Condra cut the lead to 4-2 with 2:19 left. Read the rest of this entry »


Rangers Recall Erixon, Callahan, Lundqvist to Play

March 17, 2012

Some notes on this St. Patrick’s Day that will see the Rangers host the Colorado Avalanche at Madison Square Garden.

To combat a recent string of injuries — and to keep Jeff Woywitka out of the starting lineup — the Rangers recalled Tim Erixon from the Connecticut Whale of the AHL.

In 43 games with the Whale this season, Erixon has 3 goals and 33 points.

It’s been a few months since we last saw Erixon with the Rangers. Some people were really pushing for him to play with the big club all season, but the organization did the right thing with him to not rush him. We’ll see how much he’s improved tonight.

In addition to the call up, Ryan Callahan said he will play tonight against the Avalanche at Madison Square Garden. Artem Anisimov, who injured his shoulder Thursday, will not play.

According to Rangers Rants, Michael Del Zotto may also return tonight after missing the last few games with a hip injury.

After missing Thursday’s game with the flu, Henrik Lundqvist will start tonight.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Callahan, Del Zotto Out; Zuccarello Recalled

March 11, 2012

A bit of news a couple of hours before the Rangers take on the New York Islanders tonight at Madison Square Garden tonight for the final time this season.

Captain Ryan Callahan and defenseman Michael Del Zotto will both be out for the game tonight. Callahan returned Tuesday after missing three games with a foot injury, but has appeared to re-injure it. Del Zotto will miss another game with a bruise hip.

After a five-month hiatus, Mats Zuccarello was recalled from the AHL and is available to play tonight. Whether he does it another question.

Brandon Dubinsky appears to be back in the lineup after missing both games Thursday and Friday after sustaining a sinus/hand injury in a fight against the New Jersey Devils Tuesday in Newark.

It appears Jeff Woywitka will be the healthy scratch tonight.


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

Rangers Stay Quiet at Deadline, No Nash, Acquire Scott

February 27, 2012

The weeks leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline are fun. The speculation of what players a team will acquire, what deals will be made, the breaking news; it’s all great. But sometimes it doesn’t live up to the hype. Today there were only about 15 trades, with one real headliner.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash is staying put in Ohio, at least for the time being. According to the NY Post, the Rangers made one last ditch effort in the dying seconds prior to the deadline, offering up Brandon Dubinsky, 2011 first-round pick J.T. Miller, defensive prospect Tim Erixon, prospect Christian Thomas and a first-round pick in this year’s draft, but it was not enough.

In the same report, it is believed Columbus G.M. Scott Howson actually increased his demands, wanting Dubinsky along with either defensemen Michael Del Zotto or Ryan McDonagh, either Derek Stepan or Carl Hagelin, Boston College star and 2009 first-round pick Chris Kreider, and a first-round pick at this year’s draft.

Following the deadline, Howson said he was approached by Nash asking to be traded, less than two years after signing an eight-year contract extension.

The Rangers did make one minor move, acquiring defenseman John Scott from the Chicago Blackhawks for a 2012 fifth-round pick. Scott, 29, has one assist and 49 PIMs in 29 games this season.

At the end of the day, I think this was the right move for the Rangers to make. As I’ve written, Nash is a world-class talent, but he isn’t worth the asking price. Chris Botta of the NY Times Tweeted that this team as is, should be given a shot to show what they could do in the post-season. Nash will still be on the market, and if this team falls short of the Eastern Conference Finals, then go make a move.

Scott won’t be much of a difference maker. He’s a 6-foot 8-inches and about 260 pounds, but doesn’t bring much in terms of offense. 

I still would have liked to see the team add a scorer, but the market just wasn’t there this year. Too many potential movers re-signed with their teams, while others’ asking prices were just too high.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Reports: Rangers Back Out of Nash Sweepstakes

February 26, 2012

Though there is still about 21 hours remaining before the 3 pm NHL Trade Deadline, reports are trickling in that the Rangers are backing out of trying to acquire Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash.

Several reports, including Nick Kypreos of SportsNet.ca, are saying the Rangers’ unwillingness to meet Jackets GM Scott Howson’s demands — rumored to include one of either Michael Del Zotto or Ryan McDonagh and top-prospect Chris Kreider — will take them out of the running to land the 27-year-old Nash, who was taken first overall in 2002.

Rumors were the Rangers offered Brandon Dubinsky, defensive prospect Tim Erixon and a first-round pick for Nash.

Although the saga is still alive, this news leaves two teams still linked to Nash: the Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose SharksNash’s agent, Joe Resnick, said the hope was to get something done prior to the deadline rather than playing the season out and making a trade in June at the Entry Draft in Pittsburgh.

“We’re hopeful a deal can get done prior to the trade deadline that is fair and equitable to the Blue Jackets,” Resnick told TSN’s Bob McKenzie Saturday.

Aside from having the assets to land Nash, teams have to also deal with his cap-hit. Nash is in the second year of an eight-year contract with a cap-hit of $7.8 million annually through 2017-18, with a no-trade clause. In order to be traded, he’d have to agree to the deal.

We’re not out of the water yet, but things are looking good. There’s no deny Nash’s skill, but to justify the price and the cap-hit on a player that has only scored 40 goals once and has never broken 80 points in a single season would be a bad move for this organization. He would help the current squad, especially on the powerplay, but to sell the farm to bring him to New York would be a bad move.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

Sather Willing to Blow the Farm on Nash?

February 20, 2012

We still have about a week left in the Rick Nash trade madness, and the latest report could scare Blueshirts fans everywhere.

According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com, Glen Sather could be more willing to create a package of J.T. MillerChris Kreider and Tim Erixon, along with Brandon Dubinsky, rather than include either Michael Del Zotto or Ryan McDonagh.

Obviously you can only put so much stock in these rumors, but this is from a reliable source. The only saving grace is that the Jackets reportedly want a big-time player they could insert into the lineup immediately. 

Nash — or maybe anyone — isn’t worth that price. That would deplete the Rangers’ strong farm system big time, leaving little to be had for future trade possibilities. There’s no doubting Nash’s skill, but not for that price.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia