Rangers Snap Losing Streak, Beat Carolina 4-1

The New York Rangers awoke from their post-All Star Game offensive slumber to beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 Saturday night at The Garden. The Blueshirts had only scored one goal in their two games since last weekend’s festivities in Columbus, losing both games [Tuesday at the Islanders, and Thursday at home against Montreal].

The Rangers got on the board first, 6:30 into the first period, on Rick Nash‘s 29th goal of the season. The Blueshirts made it 2-0 a few minutes later on Dominic Moore‘s beautiful shorthanded goal. A great individual effort to skate up the ice, get past two Hurricanes, and past the puck past Cam Ward.

The Rangers got a scare early in the second period when Henrik Lundqvist went down, after being clipped in the throat by what replay showed was Ryan McDonagh‘s stick. Lundqvist was down for several minutes but stayed in the game.

Carolina cut the lead to 2-1 at 5:38 when Brad Malone redirected a pass in front of the net and past Lundqvist.

The Blueshirts broke the game open midway through the third period with two goals in 21 seconds. Chris Kreider took a great pass from Kevin Hayes and put the puck in for his 11th goal of the year, and a 3-1 Rangers lead at 10:16. And Dan Boyle‘s snapshot at 10:37 made it 4-1.

Lundqvist made 31 saves for the victory.

The Rangers [now 28-15-4, 60 pts] host the Florida Panthers at The Garden Monday night.


Canadiens Top Rangers 1-0 on Late Goal

Max Pacioretty scored with 4:17 to play, and Carey Price made 24 often sparkling saves, as the Canadiens shut out the Rangers 1-0 Thursday night at The Garden.

Henrik Lundqvist was equally amazing, making several highlight reel saves, including one on Pacioretty late in the first period, and stopped 25 shots on the night, but took the loss.

The Blueshirts had their chances. Dan Girardi was stopped by Price at point-blank range with about four minutes to go in the first period. Martin St. Louis hit the crossbar at 13:18 into the second period, which was arguably the Rangers’ best chance. Rick Nash was thwarted by Price on a breakaway in the first minute of the third period. Price made a whirling, spinning stop on St. Louis a few minutes later.

The Blueshirts [now 27-15-4] continue their four-game homestead Saturday night against the Carolina Hurricane.

Islanders Top Rangers 4-1

The Rangers peppered Islander goalie Jaroslav Halak with 41 shots but couldn’t mange to get many past him, falling to the Isles, 4-1 Tuesday night, in their first game after the All-Star break.

The Islanders [32-14-1, 65 pts] are now 3-0-0 against the Rangers [27-14-4, 58 pts] this season, and they continue to lead the Metropolitan Division.

The Islanders got on the board, at the 18:05 mark of the first period, on a goal by Mikhail Grabovski, off a couple of pretty passes from Johnny Boychuk and Josh Bailey. It was Grabovski’s 7th of the season. They made it 2-0 early in the second period, on a wrist shot by Matt Martin at 4:11.

In the third, Ryan Strome made it 3-0 at 6:12, and John Tavares, who scored four goals in Sunday All-Star Game, scored his 22nd of the season at 16:47.

Carl Hagelin ruined Halak’s shutout at 19:51 of the third period, scoring his 9th goal of the season. Halal had shut the Rangers out, 3-0, on January 13th.

Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves but took the loss.

The Rangers are back in action Thursday night, when they host the Canadiens at The Garden.



Rangers Outlast Senators in OT

Carl Hagelin tipped in a Derek Stepan pass 2:55 into overtime, giving the Rangers a 3-2 win over Ottawa Tuesday night at The Garden.  The win was the third straight for the Blueshirts [27-13-4, 58 pts], who head into the All-Star Break having won 16 of their last 19 games.

After a scoreless first period, Kevin Klein got New York on the board first, scoring on a wrist shot at 9:29 to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.

The Senators rallied, scoring two goals in 63 seconds to take a 2-1 lead later in the period. Erik Karlsson scored his 9th of the season at 13:38 to tie the game at one, and Milan Milachek scored a power play goal at 14:31 to put Ottawa on top.

The Rangers rallied early in the third; Chris Kreider scored at 2:42, on assists from Marc Staal and Martin St. Louis, to tie the game a 2-all. Kreider’s last three goals this season have been huge. He scored the game-winner January 10th at San Jose and January 16th at Columbus.

Neither team scored in the final 17minutes of the third. Henrik Lundqvist and Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson were both up to the task.

Then in the overtime, Hagelin tipped in Stepan’s pass, on the Rangers’ only shot of the extra period, to give the Blueshirts the win.

Lundqvist stopped 33 shots for his 23rd win of the season.

The Rangers are now off until Tuesday January 27th, when they face the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. Except for Rick Nash, who will represent the Rangers at the All-Star Game, Sunday January 25th in Columbus. Nash played his first nine NHL seasons for the Blue Jackets.




Nash, Stepan Score Two Apiece as Rangers Beat Pens, 5-2

The Rangers do not seem to fear the Penguins this regular season. They scored twice in the first period Sunday afternoon, added two more in the second, and breezed their way to a 5-2 win on the road in Pittsburgh. The Blueshirts [26-13-4, 56 pts] have now beaten the Penguins in three of four meetings this year.

The Rangers have won 15 of their last 18 games.

Rick Nash opened the scoring a mere 26 seconds into the game to make it 1-0. A pass bounced over the stick of Kris Letang, and Nash picked up the loose puck, streaked down the ice and scored his 27th of the season, unassisted.

Derick Brassard scored at 6:09 of the period, picking up a rebound in front of the net and putting it past Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 2-0. Brassard’s 12th of the season.

Sidney Crosby cut it to 2-1 with a power play goal at 15:08 of the first period.

Nash scored early in the second period as well, scoring his league-leading 28th goal of the season at 2:39, to make it 3-1 Blueshirts.

Derek Stepan blasted a wrist shot past a heavily screened Fleury at 5:34 to make it 4-1, chasing Fleury from the game. Thomas Greiss played the rest of the way for the Pens.

In the third, the Rangers seemed to take their foot off the gas a bit, and the Pens capitalized. David Perron tightened things up, scoring with 15:44 to play to make it 4-2. But Stepan responded at 13:45 with his 2nd of the game to make it 5-2.

Henrik Lundqvist was rock-solid, making 32 saves on his way to his 22nd win of 2014-15. He has beaten Pittsburgh three times this season.

The Rangers are back on the ice Tuesday night when they host Ottawa at The Garden.

Rangers Rebound, Beat Columbus 2-1

The Rangers got the second half of the season off to a good start, and beat the Blue Jackets in Columbus Friday 2-1, behind stellar goaltending by Henrik Lundqvist. The Blueshirts had been shutout in their previous two games.

Marc Staal scored 5:59 into the second period to give New York a 1-0 lead, with assists from Derek Stepan and Kevin Klein. Four minutes later, Chris Kreider got a perfect pass from Stepan and put the puck past Columbus goalie Sergei Dubrovsky to make it 2-0.

The Blue Jackets cut the lead in half 3:16 into the third period on a goal by Scott Hartnell. But Lundqvist and the New York defense stood tall, and the Rangers held on for the win. Lundqvist made 35 saves for his 21st win of the season. His finest save may have been when he stopped a shot by Brandon Dubinsky in the closing seconds of the second period.

The Rangers [25-13-4, 54 pts] are back on the ice Sunday afternoon, when they take on  the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

Rangers Start Second Half of Season Tonight

41 games down, 41 – and hopefully more than that – to go. On the heels of Thursday night’s shutout loss to Boston, the Rangers start the second half of the 2014-15 season tonight in Columbus against the Blue Jackets.

So what to make of the Blueshirts at the halfway point? Statistically, at least, they’re a bit better. This year’s 24-13-4 [52 pts] mark beats last year’s midway mark of 20-19-2 [42 pts]. But this year’s Rangers were hovering around the .500 mark in early December before exploding with that 13-wins-in-14-games streak that just ended a few nights ago.

For as good as a 24-13-4 mark looks on paper, the Eastern Conference is tightly bunched this season. The Rangers are in 8th place in the conference standings, only three points ahead of 9th place Florida, but only eight points behind front-running Tampa Bay.

One note: the Blueshirts have games in hand, so to speak, having played the fewest games of any of the teams ahead of them in the standings [the Rangers and tonight’s opponent, the Blue Jackets, have played a league-low 41 games].

Consistency is clearly an issue. After that stirring three-game Western road trip January 7th-10th [that saw them beat Anaheim, the defending champion L.A. Kings, and San Jose], the Rangers fell back to Earth and have lost in back-to-back shutouts.

Offensively, Rich Nash‘s 26 goals have him tied for most in the NHL, tied with Dallas’ Tyler Seguin and Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos. Nash’s 41 total points are tied for 14th in the league.

Derick Brassard [11G, 22A, 33 pts] and Martin St. Louis [14G, 18A, 32 pts] and second and third on the team in scoring.

The power play is improving after some early struggles, and now ranks 11th in the NHL, converting 20.0% of their chances; the team scored power play goals in eight of ten games recently. The penalty kill unit also ironically ranks 11th, killing off 82.8% of penalties.

And the goaltending has been solid. Henrik Lundqvist is 20-9-3, with a .917 save percentage and five shutouts [2nd in the NHL], but I’m sure Lundqvist wishes his numbers were a tick better. Cam Talbot is 4-4-1 with a .926 save percentage and an impressive three shutouts.

The second half begins tonight. Let’s Go Rangers!

Offensive Struggles Continue as Bruins Blank Rangers

The New York Rangers were shut out for the second straight game Thursday, losing to Tuukka Rask and the Bruins in Boston, 3-0. The Bruins [24-15-6] won their fifth straight game, with Rask stopping all 29 shots he faced.

That sweep out West and that 13-wins-in-14-games stretch for the Blueshirts now seems like it was a while ago.

Boston got on the board first, 4:00 into the first period when Patrice Bergeron put a rebound past Cam Talbot for a 1-0 Bruins lead, Bergeron’s 11th goal of the season. David Krejci made it 2-0 early in the second period with a tip-in, and that remained the score after two periods.

Midway through the third period, Loui Eriksson‘s great individual effort in front of the net for a goal put Boston up 3-0. Eriksson’s 10th of the season, with assists to Carl Soderberg (his 21st) and Torey Krug (15th).

The Rangers [24-13-4] are back on the ice Friday night against the Blue Jackets in Columbus.

Lackluster Rangers Fall to Islanders 3-0

After winning 13 of their last 14 games, the Rangers were probably overdue for a flat, unsettling performance, and that’s what happened Tuesday night at The Garden. The Blueshirts were badly outshot by the division-leading Islanders, 44-27 and lost 3-0.

Jaroslav Halak made 27 saves for his 23rd win of 2014-15. The 44 shots were the most given up by the Rangers this season, and the loss snapped the Blueshirts’ five-game winning streak.

The most fight the Rangers showed all night was in a scrap after the final horn, which went on for several minutes, and will make things more interesting when the teams meet again, on January 27th in Long Island.

It was the first time the Rangers had been shut out since a November 1st loss to Winnipeg.

The Islanders were the more aggressive team all evening, and, after a scoreless first period, they got on the board first when Anders Lee put a rebound past Henrik Lundqvist at the 8:49 make to make it 1-0. It was Lee’s 11th of the season. Nikolay Kulemin made it a 2-0 game at 16:31 with his 8th goal of the season.

Then, at 19:19, on a Rangers power play, Frans Nielsen scored a shorthanded goal, skating all the way up ice, to make it 3-0.

Cam Talbot came in in the third period, and stopped all 12 shots he faced.

The Rangers [24-12-4] play the Bruins in Boston Thursday night.


Rangers Edge Sharks, Sweep West Coast Trip

The Rangers scored two goals in the first period and made that lead hold up, beating the Sharks Saturday night in San Jose, 3-1. The win gave the Blueshirts a sweep of their three-game Western road trip, was their fifth straight overall, and was their 13th win in their last 14 games.

Henrik Lundqvist had a great night between the pipes, making 30 saves for the win. He is 11-1-0 in his past 12 games, and has posted a 1.57 goals-against average and a save percentage of .939 during that stretch.

The Rangers got on the board first, off a faceoff. Martin St. Louis took a one-handed pass from Chris Kreider and put the one-timer past San Jose goalie Antti Niemi for his 14th goal. Kreider made it 2-0 with a goal at 15:13, off assists from Dan Girardi and Derek Stepan.

Neither team scored in the second period. Sharks rookie Melker Karlsson scored a power play goal at the 7:14 mark of the third period to make it 2-1; Karlsson has now scored in five straight games.

Rick Nash, who was named to the All-Star Game earlier in the day, added an empty-netter for the final margin.

The team beat Anaheim Wednesday, topped the Stanley Cup champion L.A. Kings Thursday before beating San Jose Saturday. At 24-11-4 [52 pts], the Blueshirts have moved into a tie for 6th place in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Rangers are back in action Tuesday night when they host the Islanders at The Garden.