Rangers-Capitals Series To Begin Thursday

The Rangers’ second round playoff series against the Washington Capitals will begin Thursday night at The Garden, according to news released today by the NHL.

The rangers have been off since eliminating the Penguins in five games in their opening round playoff series. The Capitals advanced to the second round Monday night by eliminating the Islanders  Monday night, 3-1, to win their best-of-seven series, 4 games to 3.

Games 1 will be Thursday night April 30th at 7:30pm ET and Game 2 will be at The Garden Saturday afternoon May 2nd at 12:30pm.

In roster news, Kevin Klein is expected to play Thursday night in Game 1; Klein has been out of the lineup since a March 11th game at Washington. Meanwhile, Mats Zuccarello remains out of the lineup indefinitely; Zuccarello was hit in the head by a Ryan McDonagh shot in last Friday’s Game 5 against Pittsburgh.


Hagelin’s OT Goal Gives Rangers Series Win Over Penguins

Carl Hagelin scored 10:52 into overtime to give the Rangers a 2-1 win over the Penguins Friday night at The Garden, and a win in their best-of-seven opening round playoff series, four-games-to-one. The Blueshirts will now play the winner of the Washington-Islanders series; the Capitals hold a 3-2 edge, with Game Six in that series Saturday afternoon in Uniondale, LI.

Dominic Moore, who had missed a wide-open net on a shot attempt in the third period, made amends on the winning play. He hustled and kept the puck alive behind the goal and pushed it to Hagelin, who skated in front and rifled a wrist shot past Marc-Andre Fleury for the game-winner.

The game featured a memorable goaltending duel between Henrik Lundqvist and Fleury. The two stopped shot after shot and thwarted offensive chances all night long. Lundqvist made 37 saves, while Fleury stopped 34 of 36.

The Rangers jumped out on top early; Derek Stepan scored a power play goal just 4:23 into the game to give the Blueshirts a 1-0 lead.  Little did we know it would be another 66 minutes before they would score again.

The Penguins tied things up late in the second period. Amid a scramble in front of the Rangers net, Nick Spaling was credited with a goal when his shot was stopped by Lundqvist, but trickled off the goalie’s pad and in.

Mats Zuccarello appeared to have been hit in the head by a Ryan McDonagh shot in front of the goal in the first period. He left the game and did not return.



Hayes Goal in OT Gives Rangers 3-1 Series Lead

Kevin Hayes’ goal 3:14 into overtime gave the Rangers a 2-1 win over the Penguins Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, and a commanding 3-1 lead in the their best-of-seven opening round series.

The Penguins got on the board first, just 2:22 into the game on a goal by Patric Hornqvist. That first period saw the Rangers offense struggle mightily to get shots off; the Blueshirts were credited with only two shots on goal in the period.

The Rangers picked up their tempo and aggressiveness a few minutes into the second period, and seemed like the team of the first three games. That finally paid off late in the period when Derick Brassard pushed the puck past Marc-Andre Fleury at 17:15 to tie the game at one. It was Brassard’s 3rd goal of the series.

Neither team scored in the third; the Rangers defense was particularly good and let the Penguins from scoring. Dan Girardi, who blocked several shots in the period, swept a loose puck out of the crease at one point, saving a goal.

In the overtime, the Rangers had the only three shots on goal. With the Rangers pressing in the Pittsburgh end, Martin St. Louis picked up the puck behind the net and passed it out in front of the goal. Carl Hagelin tried to stuff the puck into the net but his second shot slid through the crease, and Hayes put the rebound in for his first career playoff goal.

Game Five is Friday night at The Garden.




Rangers Edge Penguins 2-1, Take Series Lead

A smothering Rangers defense stymied the Penguins all night, and goals by Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider held up, as the Rangers beat the Penguins in Pittsburgh Monday night, 2-1, taking a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven playoff series.

The Blueshirts held Sidney Crosby to two shots on goal, and held Evgeny Malkin without a shot. The New York defense’s ability to slow down those two superstars has been a key factor in the first three games of the series.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced.

For the third straight game, the Rangers got on the board first, at 8:43 of the first. Hagelin took a perfect pass from Keith Yandle, skated in and scored to make it 1-0. Yandle had poked the puck loose from Crosby in the Rangers’ end, and then started the rush up ice before spotting Hagelin.

The Rangers made it 2-0 midway through the second period. Marc Staal intentionally shot the puck wide left, and Kreider took the rebound off the boards and put it past Marc-Andre Fleury for a two-goal edge.

Patric Hornqvist cut the lead to 2-1 at 13:12 of the third, pushing Staal off of him and putting a loose puck into the net. Assists went to Crosby and Ian Cole.

But Penguins could not score the rest of the way. After the final horn, Crosby and Dominic Moore started scuffling, and Hagelin and Hornqvist jumped into the scuffle before the referees sent both teams to the locker rooms.

Game 4 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

Crosby Scores Two as Pens Top Rangers, Even Series

Sidney Crosby scored two goals, and the Penguins added two power play goals as Pittsburgh beat the Rangers 4-3 Saturday night at The Garden, to even their best-of-seven playoff series 1-1.

The first period with full of physical play, with checking and blocked shots and missed opportunities. The Penguins went 8:56 before their first shot on goal. The two teams combined for only eight shots in the period, but the Rangers picked up the only goal at 17:05 when Derek Stepan took a terrific pass from J.T. Miller and put the puck past Marc-Andre Fleury for a 1-0 lead.

In the second, Carl Hagelin was whistled for tripping Taylor Chorney at 8:12, but replays showed that Chorney lost an edge and merely fell, without any help from Hagelin. The Penguins took advantage of the botched call and scored a power play goal at 10:01 on a wrist shot from Brandon Sutter, evening the score at 1-1.

Then, at 14:07, Crosby scored to make it 2-1 Pittsburgh. Patric Hornqvist‘s shot was stopped and Crosby put the rebound past Henrik Lundqvist.

Crosby scored again with 1:14 left in the second period to make it 3-1, after a Rangers turnover in their own end; Paul Martin picked up the puck, passed it to Chris Kunitz, who got it to Crosby, who scored as he was falling down.

The Blueshirts clawed back into it early in the third period when Derick Brassard scored a power play goal at 3:16 to make it 3-2. And Stepan looked as if he had tied the score at 5:53, during another Rangers power play chance, but the puck hit the left post.

The Penguins made it a two-goal margin again at 9:41 on a power play goal by Kunitz that made it 4-2. Kunitz finished with a goal and two assists.

Rick Nash added a goal with :06 to play for the final 4-3 score.

The Penguins were 2-for-4 on the power play while the Rangers were 1-for-7 [after going 1-for-5 in Game 1]. Defenseman Dan Girardi was on the ice for three of the four Pittsburgh goals.

Game Three is Monday night in Pittsburgh.



Early Goals Hold Up as Rangers Edge Penguins, 2-1

First period goals by Derick Brassard and Ryan McDonagh gave the Rangers a lead, and Henrik Lundqvist and the Blueshirts defense made it hold up, as the Rangers beat the Penguins 2-1 Thursday night at The Garden, in Game 1 of their best-of-seven opening round playoff series.

Brassard scored only 28 seconds into the game; Marc-Andre Fleury stopped Rick Nash‘s shot but Brassard was there to put the rebound in for a goal and a quick 1-0 edge.

Then, at 15:16 of the first, McDonagh scored a power play goal on a snapshot from just inside the blue line.

Pittsburgh cut it to 2-1 at 6:15 of the second when Blake Comeau scored after the Pens had missed three shots at Lundqvist.

Lundqvist made 24 saves in the win.

Dan Girardi left the game at 10:31 of the third period after being struck in the mouth by a deflected shot by Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz. Girardi did not return.

Game 2 is Saturday night at The Garden.

And So It Begins: Rangers-Penguins in Game 1 Tonight

The Rangers square off with Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at The Garden, in Game 1 of their best-of-seven opening round playoff series.

The team is nearly 100% healthy; Kevin Klein will be the only notable player out of the lineup. He missed the final 16 games for the regular season with a broken arm, but Klein is expected to be back for Game 2 Saturday night.

The Blueshirts were 3-0-1 against the Penguins in 2014-15.




Rangers To Face Penguins in Round One

The Rangers will play Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in Round One of the NHL Playoffs; the Pens beat the Sabres 2-0 in Buffalo Saturday night to clinch a spot in the post-season.

Game 1 will be Thursday night April 16th at 7pm at The Garden.

The Blueshirts will face Pittsburgh in the post-season for the second straight season; last year they trailed the Penguins 3-1 in the best-of-seven series and roared back to win the series in seven games, inspired, in part, by the passing of Martin St. Louis‘ mother.

One could point to a game against the Pens this season as being the springboard to the overall success the team had this season. The Rangers entered their home game against Pittsburgh on December 8th with a 11-10-4 record. They would beat Pittsburgh that night, 4-3 (on a Kevin Klein goal in OT), and started a 42-12-3 stretch the rest of the season.


Rangers End Regular Season With 4-2 Win Over Capitals

The Rangers set franchise records for wins and points Saturday afternoon, beating the Washington Capitals on the road in the regular season finale, 4-2. They finished the regular season at 53-22-7, for 113 points. The 53 wins and 113 points are both franchise bests.

The Blueshirts jumped out to a lead midway through the first period when Kevin Hayes scored at 12:36. Then Derick Brassard scored the 100th goal of his NHL career at 15:50, a power play goal, to make it 2-0.

In the second, Dominic Moore pushed it to 3-0 when he scored his 10th goal of the season at 2:30.

Alex Ovechkin then got the Capitals on the board, with his 25th power play goal of the season, to make it 3-1 at 6:31. It was Ovechkin’s league-leading 53rd goal of the season.

Neither team scored in the third period until late; at 18:06 Jesper Fast scored an empty-net goal, and at 19:31 Washington’s Stanislav Galiev scored his first NHL goal, for the final 4-2 margin.

Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves; it was his 30th win of the season.

The Rangers start the playoffs Thursday night at The Garden, against either Detroit, Pittsburgh, or Boston depending on the outcome of Saturday night’s games.

Offense Rests, and Rangers Lose to Ottawa 3-0

Having clinched the Metropolitan Division and the Presidents’ Trophy, the Rangers sat three key players Thursday night at The Garden. Perhaps as a result, the offense failed to fire and the Blueshirts lost to Ottawa 3-0, in the final home game of the regular season.

The loss broke a five-game winning streak for the Rangers.

Coach Alain Vigneault rested leading scorer and team MVP Rick Nash, 5th-leading scorer Mats Zuccarello, and defenseman Marc Staal, saying all three were day-to-day with “nagging injuries”. All are expected back for the team’s next game.

After a scoreless first period, the Senators took a 1-0 lead at the 17:31 mark of the second period when Clarke MacArthur scored. They made it 2-0 just 64 seconds later, when Kyle Turris scored his 24th of the season at 18:35, on a deflection past Henrik Lundqvist.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored an empty-netter at 18:21 of the third period for the final margin.

Lundqvist made 24 saves in the loss, including several in a memorable stretch midway through the third period.

The Rangers [now 52-22-7, 111 pts] wrap up the regular season Saturday afternoon on the road against the Washington Capitals.