Rangers Edge Carolina, Snap Losing Streak

The Rangers led from the opening moments of the game, and then had to hold on to beat the Carolina Hurricanes Monday night, 4-3, snapping a three-game losing streak. Henrik Lundqvist made 33 saves in the win.

The fans at the Garden were barely in their seats when Carolina’s Brett Pesce was whistled for tripping just 64 seconds into the game. The Rangers made them pay five seconds later when Mats Zuccarello scored a powerplay goal at 1:09 to make it 1-0, a wrist shot from above the face-off circle, after Derick Brassard had won the face-off. It was Zuccarello’s 11th goal of the season, tops on the team.

New York made it 2-0 with only 1:27 left in the 1st period on Oscar Lindberg‘s 9th goal of the season, another power play goal. It was the first time all season that the Rangers had scored more than one power play goal in a game.

Jordan Staal made it a 2-1 game 1:40 into the 2nd period, but New York answered quickly. Chris Kreider scored 44 seconds later, at 2:24 in, to make it 3-1. It was Kreider’s 4th goal of the season.

The Blueshirts made it a 4-1 game at 15:49 on Brassard’s 7th goal of the season. Carolina goalie Cam Ward‘s clearing pass was intercepted by Kevin Hayes, just as Hayes was exiting the penalty box. Hayes made a perfect pass to Brassard, to the right of the goal, and Brassard beat Ward to make it 4-1.

Carolina cut it to 4-2 before the end of the period, on Victor Rask‘s 9th of the season at 17:59. They would make it 4-3 at the 8:23 mark of the 3rd period when Jeff Skinner made a perfect lead pass to Chris Terry, just coming off the bench. Terry slid the puck between Henrik Lundqvist‘s legs to cut New York’s lead to one.

The Rangers [now 17-6-2, 36 pts] are back in action Wednesday night when they play the Islanders at The Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Stepan To Miss 4-6 Weeks

The Rangers announced this morning that Derek Stepan will be out of the lineup 4-6 weeks with broken ribs. Stepan was injured in Friday afternoon’s 4-3 loss at Boston on a hit from Bruins forward Matt Beleskey. Beleskey was not penalized for the hit.

Stepan did not play in Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Philadelphia. He has scored six goals and 6 assists in the team’s first 23 games.

The Blueshirts [16-6-2, 34 pts] have lost straight three games, their longest losing streak of the season. They host the Carolina Hurricanes Monday night at The Garden.


Flyers Blank Rangers 3-0

Wayne Simmonds had two goals and an assist, and Steve Mason stopped all 24 shots he faced, to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-0 win over the Rangers Saturday afternoon at The Garden. After a stretch that saw them win 11 of 12 games, this is the first rough patch for the Blueshirts this season, losing to three Eastern Conference rivals in four days, Montreal Wednesday, at Boston Friday, and to Philadelphia Saturday. The Rangers only scored a total of four goals in the three losses.

The Blueshirts were without Derek Stepan, who suffered broken ribs in the Boston game Friday and is out indefinitely.

Neither team scored in the first period, but the Rangers came out as the more aggressive team, outshooting Boston 10-4 in the period.

Simmonds gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead at the 12:24 mark of the 2nd period, taking a pass from Matt Read at the blue line and skating in on Antti Raanta and beating him for the goal.

Sean Couturier made it 2-0 3:06 into the 3rd period. Raanta stopped a shot by Simmonds, but Couturier was waiting in front of the net and put the rebound in for the goal, his 2nd of the season.

Simmonds scored an empty-net goal with 50 seconds to play for the final 3-0 margin.

Raanta stopped 31 shot, but lost for the first time this season.

The Rangers [now 16-6-2, 34 pts] host Carolina Monday night at The Garden.

Late Rally Gives Bruins 4-3 Win Over Rangers; Stepan Hurt

David Krejci‘s goal with 1:43 to play gave the Bruins a 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Rangers Friday afternoon in Boston. The Bruins scored twice in the final four minutes to rally from a 3-2 deficit and win their fifth straight game. The Blueshirts, meanwhile, lost back-to-back games in regulation for only the second time this season.

But the biggest loss Friday may have been the injury to Derek Stepan. Stepan was injured 8:06 into the 2nd period when he made a pass and was hit by Boston’s Matt Beleskey. Stepan sustained broken ribs and the team said he is out indefinitely.

Patrice Bergeron opened the scoring at 14:15 of the 1st period, with a wrist shot past Henrik Lundqvist for his 8th goal of the season.

The Rangers took a lead in the 2nd period. Oscar Lindberg scored his 8th goal of the season 2:10 into the period, taking the puck from behind the Boston net, skating out in front and shooting past Tuukka Rask to make it 1-1. Three minutes later, Rick Nash scored his 8th goal of the season, taking a great pass from Ryan McDonagh and putting it past Rask to make it 2-1 Rangers.

Then came a pivotal sequence, later in the 2nd period. After Beleskey’s hit on Stepan, Dylan McIlrath came to Stepan’s defense and dropped the gloves with Beleskey. The referees cited McIlrath as the instigator in the fight, and he was given a total of 17 penalty minutes.

On the subsequent Bruins power play, Brett Connolly scored a power play goal at 9:34 of the 2nd to make it 2-2.

The Rangers took a 3-2 at 9:28 of the 3rd period on J.T. Miller‘s power play goal. But in the closing minutes, after Jesper Fast was whistled for holding, Ryan Spooner scored a power play goal at 16:14 to tie the game 3-3, setting the stage for Krejci’s late goal.

The Rangers [now 16-5-2, 34 pts] can put this one behind them quickly; they host the Flyers Saturday afternoon at The Garden.

Canadiens Rout Rangers 5-1

After weeks of not playing their best hockey and still managing to win games, the Rangers did not play their best again Wednesday night at The Garden, and got drummed out of the building by the Montreal Canadiens, 5-1.

Montreal reconstructed its top offensive line Wednesday, and the line had a big night; Devante Smith-Pelly scored twice, Max Pacioretty had a goal and an assist, and Tomas Plekanec added three assists. Plekanec was added to the line in place of Brendan Gallagher, who broke two fingers last week is expected to miss six weeks.

Carey Price, in his third game back since missing nine games with a lower-body injury, made 22 saves but left the game after the 2nd period and did not return. Mike Condon stopped all 11 shots he faces in the 3rd period.

The Canadiens’ offensive assault started early. Sven Andrighetto scored 4:45 into the 1st period to give Montreal a 1-0 lead. Smith-Pelly’s goal just 2:25 into the 2nd period made it 2-0.

Rick Nash cut the lead to 2-1 with a power play goal at 17:41 of the 2nd period, his 7th goal of the season

Smith-Pelly scored again just 17 seconds into the 3rd period to make it 3-1. Alex Galchenyuk‘s unassisted goal 72 seconds later made it 4-1, and Pacioretty scored a power play goal 9:06 into the period, his 12th goal of the season, for the final 5-1 margin.

Henrik Lundqvist was pulled after the Pacioretty goal, after giving up a season-high five goals.

The Rangers [now 16-4-2, 34 pts] have now lost both meetings with Montreal this season. The Blueshirts play the Bruins in Boston Friday afternoon.

Lundqvist, Rangers Blank Predators, 3-0

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 31 shots he faced, and three Rangers each scored their 6th goal of the season, as the Blueshirts shut out Nashville 3-0 Monday night at The Garden. It was New York’s 11th win in their last 12 games.

It was Lundqvist’s 2nd shutout of the season. The Predators have now gone three straight games – and more than ten periods  – without a goal.

After a scoreless 1st period, the Blueshirts got on the board first. Rick Nash made it four goals in the last two games, scoring his 6th of the season at 4:32 of the 2nd period. Nash picked up a loose puck in the defensive end, raced down the ice in what was, in essence, a 4-on-2 break for the Rangers, and finished the play himself, scoring up high on Pekka Rinne.

The Blueshirts made it 2-0 early in the 3rd period when Derek Stepan redirected a beautiful pass by Marc Staal past Rinne for a goal at 4:23. It was Stepan’s 6th of the season.

Kevin Hayes made it 3-0 with a power play goal at 10:38 of the 3rd period, a wrist shot from just inside the blue line for his 6th goal of the season. It was the team’s 6th power play goal in their last nine games.

Though the Rangers were badly out-shot, 31-19, they did hold the Predators to only six shots in the 3rd period while protecting the lead. And special teams were huge; New York was 1-for-4 on the power play, and stopped all five of Nashville’s power play chances.

Next up: the Rangers [now 16-3-2, 34 pts] have a big game Wednesday night, when they host Montreal Canadiens at The Garden.

Rangers Top Panthers in OT Behind Nash Hat Trick

Rick Nash‘s power play goal in overtime – his 3rd goal of the game – gave the Rangers a 5-4 win over the Panthers Saturday night in Sunrise, FL. The Blueshirts squandered a two-goal lead in the final minutes of regulation as the Panthers tied the game 4-4, but rallied in overtime for the win. Nash had only scored two goals in 2015-16 coming into the game, and now has five on the season.

The seesaw affair saw New York jump out to a 1-0 lead in the 1st period as Nash scored from the right of the goal at 11:03, off a nice pass from Ryan McDonagh.

The Panthers evened the game at 6:46 of the 2nd when Nick Bjugstad scored his 7th goal of the season, redirecting the puck past Henrik Lundqvist.

Nash gave the Blueshirts a 2-1 lead at 13:22, streaking toward the net and beating Robert Luongo to the stick side. but Jussi Jokinen‘s power play goal with only 2:03 left in the period tied the game 2-2.

In the 3rd period, goals by Mats Zuccarello [his 10th, at 10:16] and Viktor Stalberg [his 2nd, at 12:14], gave the Rangers a seemingly comfortable 4-2 edge. But Florida scored twice in 39 seconds, in the game’s final minutes, to tie it, with the goals coming from Aleksandr Barkov [a power play goal at 17:32] and Jaromir Jagr [at 18:11].

The Panthers actually had a chance to win in regulation, but Lundqvist stopped a Reilly Smith penalty shot at 18:18.

In the overtime, Florida was called for a too many men on the ice penalty, and Nash’s power play goal 2:01 into the extra session was the difference.

Lundqvist made 39 saves on the night.

The Rangers [now 15-3-2, 32 pts] host the Nashville Predators Monday night at The Garden.

Late Lightning Goal Beats Rangers, Ends 9-Game Win Streak

Valtteri Filppula scored a shorthanded goal with 65 seconds to play, giving the Lightning a dramatic 2-1 win over the Rangers Thursday in Tampa, snapping New York’s nine-game winning streak.

The Blueshirts had a late power play opportunity with 1:26 to play and the score tied 1-1, after an interference call on former Ranger Brian Boyle . But early in the power play, a turnover by Ryan McDonagh created a 2-on-1 with J.T. Brown and Filppula. Brown made a perfect pass to Filppula, who slid the puck past Henrik Lundqvist at 18:55 for his 2nd goal of the season.

The Blueshirts could not answer in the final 65 seconds, despite having a man advantage.

The Lightning got on the board first, in the 1st period, when a Keith Yandle clearing pass was intercepted by Filppula during a 4-on-4. Filppula passed to Alex Killorn, whose wrist shot beat Lundqvist at 14:47 to make it 1-0.

Neither team scored in the 2nd period. In the 3rd period, Chris Kreider was awarded a penalty shot at 3:51, but his attempt was stopped by Lightning goalie Ben Bishop.

Dominic Moore tied the score at 13:43 of the 3rd, picking up a loose puck after a misplay by ex-Ranger Anton Stralman. Moore spun and shot it past Bishop to make it 1-1.

So all three goals were created by turnovers.

The goalies were both very good Thursday; Bishop made 20 saves while Lundqvist made 26.

It was New York’s first loss since a shootout loss at Philadelphia October 24th, and the team’s first loss in regulation since a loss at Montreal October 15th. The Rangers [now 14-3-2, 20 pts] play the Florida Panthers Saturday night in Sunrise, FL.

Zuccarello Named NHL’s #2 Star of the Week

Mats Zuccarello, hours after scoring the game-winning goal against Toronto, was named the NHL’S #2 Star of the Week. During the week, Zuccarello scored 2 goals and 5 assists in four games, and the Blueshirts won all four games.

Zuccarello’s goal with 0:54 left Sunday night gave the Rangers a 4-3 win over the Maple Leafs, the team’s 9th straight win.

This is the 2nd time this season that a Ranger has been one of the league’s Stars of the Week; Oscar Lindberg was the league’s #2 Star in the first week of the season.

For the season, Zuccarello leads the team with 18 points [9 G, 9 A]. The 18 points is tied for 8th-most in the NHL, and the 9 goals is tied for 5th.

Colorado’s Matt Duchesne was #1 Star of the Week; he had 4 goals and 4 assists during the week, and Toronto goalie James Reimer was the #3 Star. Reimer was 3-0-0 with a 1.62 GAA and a .952 save percentage.

Toronto’s backup goalie, Jonathan Bernier, was in the lineup Sunday for the loss to the Rangers.


Zuccarello’s Late Goal Gives Rangers 4-3 Win

Mats Zuccarello scored with 54 seconds to play, lifting the Rangers to a 4-3 win over Toronto Sunday night at The Garden. It was New York’s 9th straight win, and gives them a point in 13 straight games.

Ryan McDonagh‘s shot from just inside the blue line was stopped by Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier, but Zuccarello put the rebound in for the game-winning goal, his 9th goal of the 2015-16 season. In the last 8 games, he has tallied 12 points [5 G, 7 A].

Antti Raanta made 23 saves and is now 4-0-0 as a starter.

Toronto took a 1-0 lead late in the 1st period when Oscar Lindberg lost the puck deep in the Rangers’ zone, and Peter Holland put the loose puck past Raanta at 17:57.

In the 2nd period, the Rangers came out with more pep in their step and quick tied the score. McDonagh made it 1-1 with his 3rd goal of the season just 44 seconds into the period, off a perfect pass from Zuccarello.

Later in the 2nd, the Blueshirts caught a bit of puck luck. Derek Stepan shot the puck toward the Toronto net from center ice; the puck bounced once, flattened out, and slid between Bernier’s pads for a goal and a 2-1 New York lead at 13:55.

Joffrey Lupul tied the game 2-2 at 17:38, putting the rebound of a Deon Phaneuf shot past Raanta for a goal, his 7th of the season, tops on the Leafs.

Raanta came right back and made a terrific save on Leo Komarov moments later on an odd-man rush for Toronto. 

The Rangers broke the tie at 3:37 of the 3rd period. Zuccarello skated behind the Toronto net and passed to Derick Brassard, who beat Bernier for his 6th goal of the season and a 3-2 New York lead.

But the Leafs came right back to re-tie the game. Phaneuf’s slapshot beat Raanta at 5:15 to make it 3-3, setting the stage for Zuccarello’s late heroics.

Zuccarello finished with a goal and 2 assists. McDonagh had a goal and an assist.

The Rangers [now 14-2-2, 30 pts] are off til Thursday when they take on the Lightning in Tampa.