Moore Suspended Five Games

The Rangers are going to have to do a little lineup shuffling on defense yet again. On Wednesday John Moore was suspended by the league for five games, for his hit on Minnesota’s Erick Haula during Monday’s win over the Wild. Moore was given a match penalty and tossed from the game after he elbowed Haula 7:12 into the 2nd period. Haula missed the rest of the game and did not play in Minnesota’s game Tuesday.

Moore may have gotten the five games because he has been suspended before. He was given a two-game suspension during last spring’s Eastern Conference Finals against Montreal, for a hit on Dale Wiese of the Canadiens.

The Rangers are already thin on defense; Dan Boyle broke his hand October 9th, in the team’s opening night win over St. Louis.

The Blueshirts are back on the ice Saturday night, when they host Winnipeg.

Furious Comeback Gives Rangers 5-4 Win

I know we’re only nine games into the 2014-15 season, but it’s hard to imagine the Rangers having a better period than the 3rd period last night at home against Minnesota.

Down 3-0 at the start of the period, the Blueshirts staged a furious comeback, rallying for a 5-4 win against the Wild at The Garden. Mats Zuccarello scored the game-winner, his first goal of the season, with 3:11 to play.

The first two periods were rough for New York. They were outshot 24-8, and goals from Nate Prosser, Matt Cooke, and Jason Pominville gave Minnesota a three-goal advantage. It didn’t look like the night would end well.

But Kevin Klein got the Rangers on the board 2:52 into the 3rd period on a snapshot from the blue line. New York closed it to 3-2 about two minutes later on Rick Nash‘s 9th goal of the season.

The Wild slowed the Rangers’ rally down 5:35 into the period when Jason Zucker scored to make it 4-2 Wild. Brassard made it 4-3 with his 4th goal of the season, with 12:06 to play.

Eight tense minutes went by, with the deficit stuck at one. Then 19-year-old Anthony Duclair notched the 1st goal of his NHL career, streaking down the ice and scoring with 3:48 to play, evening the score at 4-all. And 37 seconds later, Zuccarello scored the game-winner.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 26 shots in the win, and is now 5-3-0 on the season.

Two Rangers were tossed from Monday’s game; Chris Kreider received a major penalty for boarding defenseman Jonas Brodin late in the first period and a game misconduct. John Moore was ejected midway through the second for a blatant hit to the head of forward Erik Haula that resulted in a match penalty.

The Rangers are back in action Saturday night against Winnipeg.




Win Streak Snapped at 3 as Rangers Lose to Habs

Going into last night’s game against the Canadiens in Montreal, it was understandable to think that the Rangers had their work cut out for them. The Habs had the best record in the Eastern Conference at 6-1-0. The Canadiens were playing at home at the Bell Centre, where they were 3-0 for the season. The Blueshirts were facing Montreal for the first time since beating them in last spring’s Eastern Conference Finals. And Montreal’s goaltender Carey Price was healthy again and playing well.

It all proved to be too much, as Price stopped 34 shots and Montreal beat the Rangers, 3-1.

Before Saturday’s game, fans observed a moment of silence to honor Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, two Canadian soldiers who were killed in separate attacks this week in Ottawa and Quebec.

The Rangers gave up a shorthanded goal to Tomas Plekanec midway through the 1st period, to trail 1-0. Carl Hagelin then evened the score with about three minutes to go in the period, on a rebound off a Dan Girardi shot.

Lars Eller broke a tie midway through the second period, to give Montreal a 2-1 lead, and Max Pacioretty added a goal in the third to seal the win.

The Rangers are 4-4-0 on the season; 2-2-0 at home and 2-2-0 on the road. They start a four-game home stand Monday night against Minnesota.

Rangers Face Canadiens in Montreal Tonight

The Rangers are back in action tonight, on the road in Montreal to face the Canadiens. They’ve been idle since Tuesday night’s overtime win over New Jersey in Newark. The Blueshirts [4-3-0] are riding a three-game winning streak and face the Habs for the first time since the Eastern Conference Finals, when New York eliminated Montreal in six games.

The Canadiens, also riding a three-game winning streak, have the best record in the Eastern Conference, at 6-1-0 [12 pts].

19-year-old Anthony Duclair, a native of Montreal, will be back in coach Alain Vigneault‘s lineup after sitting out the past two games.

Rick Nash leads the team in scoring with eight goals and nine points; he is now 2nd in the NHL in goals; Anaheim’s Corey Price scored a hat trick Wednesday and added a goal last night and leads the NHL with nine.

Klein Goal Lifts Rangers to OT Win

Down 3-1 to the Devils in the 3rd period last night, it felt like it wasn’t going to be New York’s night. But the Rangers picked themselves off the mat, so to speak, and rallied for a 4-3 overtime win across the Hudson in Newark. Kevin Klein‘s goal, off a beautiful pass from Chris Krieder, was the game-winner.  It was New York’s third straight win, and pushed them above .500 for the first time in nearly two weeks.

The Rangers got on the board in the 1st period on a goal from Kreider; Amazingly, it was the team’s first power-play goal of the year, after an 0-for-17 start in the first six games. The Devils tied it later in the 1st on a power-play goal by the ageless, 42-year-old Jaromir Jagr.

The Devils added two more power-play goals [Adam Henrique in the 2nd, Jon Merrill in the 3rd] to make it 3-1. Chris Mueller cut the score to 3-2 on another power-play goal [five power-play goals in this game!], and Rick Nash tied the score at 14:32 on a backhander in front of the net. It was Nash’s NHL-leading 8th goal of the season; he didn’t score his 8th goal last season until January 6th. NHL Player of the Month for October, anyone?

Henrik Lunqvist got the win in net for the Rangers, stopping 28 of 31 shots.

The Rangers are off until Saturday, when they take the ice in Montreal against the Canadiens.


Lundqvist, Rangers Blank Sharks

One could argue that Sunday night’s 4-0 win over San Jose was the Rangers’ best performance of the season thus far.

One could counter by saying it was an October home win again a team the Rangers should beat.

Henrik Lunqvist stopped 33 shots, and the Blueshirts scored two goals in a four-second span of the 2nd period, on their way to their 2nd straight win. They evened their record for the season at 3-3-0.

The first period was scoreless, but did feature a nice play from Matt Hunwick, who saved a goal by swatting away a puck that had gotten past Lundqvist before it crossed the goal line.

Carl Hagelin made it 1-0 Rangers at the 13:10 mark of the 2nd period, and Martin St. Louis and Rick Nash scored four seconds apart in the period’s final minute. That tied the record for fastest back-to-back goals in team history. It was Nash’s NHL-leading 7th goal of the season; the winger scored when Sharks goalie Alex Stalock came out too far to stop a long Nash shot and misplayed the puck. Nash put the rebound past him for a 3-0 New York lead.

Kevin Hayes scored the Rangers’ final goal, in the 3rd period; it was his first goal of the season.

Lunqvist looked sharp and posted his 51st career shutout.

The Rangers are back in action Tuesday night, in Newark, against the Devils.


Rangers Snap Losing Streak, Top Hurricanes in Shootout

Exhale, Rangers fans.

Yes, it was a home win over the injury-depleted Carolina Hurricanes, but a win is a win. Rick Nash scored the winning goal in a shootout and Henrik Lundqvist came up big when it counted, as the Blueshirts recorded a 2-1 win over Carolina last night at the Garden, to snap a three-game losing streak.

Trailing 1-0 midway through the third period, Derick Brassard scored his third goal of the season – and third in the last three games – to tie the score. Neither team scored in overtime, and in the shootout, Nash was the only skater to score, which was enough for the Rangers to post their first home win of the season.

After allowing 17 goals in the last three games, the defense seemed like a more cohesive unit.  Head coach Alain Vigneault juggled his defensive lineup Thursday; the pairing were Dan Girardi-Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Klein-Marc Staal, Matt Hunwick-John Moore. After the game, Staal told the media, “We were better in our end. We didn’t give up as many quality chances in the middle of the ice, so we were better that way. We won a game. We got two points.”

Lundqvist, who had allowed six goals in back-to-back games, had 29 saves. He lowered his GAA from 5.41 to 4.09.

One troubling stat; the Rangers are now 0-for-16 on the power play for the season, after going 0-for-5 Thursday.

Next up: after two days off, the Rangers will host San Jose Sunday afternoon at 5pm.

Defense Must Respond as Rangers Face Hurricanes Tonight

The Rangers, in the midst of a three-game losing streak, take the ice against Carolina tonight at the Garden. The Blueshirts, 1-3-0 on the season, have given up 17 goals in the three losses, so the team’s six defensemen and goalie Henrik Lundqvist are probably feeling a sense of feeling an urgency to put up a good showing in from of the Garden faithful.  [To be fair, Cam Talbot was the goalie in the first of the losses, at Columbus last Saturday. Lundqvist was between the pipes for the losses to Toronto and the Islanders].

Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Kevin Klein, John Moore and Matt Hunwick will be Alain Vigneault‘s six defensemen tonight against the Hurricanes. Wednesday Vigneault told the media, “Way too many turnovers from our defense group right now. Right now that group is really playing under par.”

An understatement.

Losing Streak at 3 as Rangers Fall to Isles

A tough few days for the Rangers got tougher last night, as they lost at home to the New York Islanders, 6-3. The Blueshirts have now lost three straight and have looked bad in those losses. There’s a got to be a growing sense of concern, not only in the locker room, but in the front office, and in the stands.

The teams were tied 2-all after two periods. Rick Nash continued his white-hot start to the season, scoring an unassisted goal from a tough angle in the 1st period, his 5th goal of the season. Derick Brassard scored his 2nd goal of the year in the 2nd.

Then the Islanders exploded in the 3rd, scoring four times against Henrik Lundqvist, before Nash added another goal in the game’s final minutes [his 6th]. Lundqvist has now given up six goals in each of the last two games, and has a 5.41 GAA for the season.

The defense has given up 17 goals in the past three games, the last two of those games at home, where the defense and the team are usually strong. Coach Alain Vigneault must keep trying to figure out a combination of defenders that will mesh, to stop the recent onslaught of goals each game. Hard to win in the NHL when you give up 5 or 6 goals a night.

The Rangers are back in action Thursday night, at home against Carolina.



Malone, Kostka To Play Tonight vs Islanders

The Rangers take on the New York Islanders tonight [7:00pm on MSG], and two new Rangers will make the season debuts. 34-year-old winger Ryan Malone, who was signed as a free agent September 11th, will take the ice for the first time as a Ranger, as will defenseman Michael Kostka, who was called up from Hartford to help out, after the injury to Dan Boyle. Mats Zuccarello is expected back, after missing Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury.

Looking at the projected lineups for tonight, one eyebrow-raising line change: 19-year-old rookie Anthony Duclair will skate with Martin St. Louis and red-hot Rick Nash on the team’s #1 line. Nash has four goals in the team’s first four games.