Rangers Snap Road Losing Streak, Beat Lightning 5-2

Dominic Moore scored early in the 3rd period to give the Rangers the lead, and two empty net goals sealed the deal, as New York beat the Lightning in Tampa Wednesday night, 5-2, snapping an eight-game road losing streak. Moore, Dan Boyle, and Viktor Stalberg each had a goal and an assist to lead the Blueshirts.

The team’s last road win was November 21st against the Panthers.

The Rangers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead just 1:53 into the game when Boyle redirected a Keith Yandle pass past Ben Bishop for his 5th goal of the season. But the Lightning tied the score late in the 1st period when Jonathan Marchessault scored a power play goal at 16:35.

Mats Zuccarello gave the Blueshirts the lead again just 56 seconds into the 2nd period, scoring his team-leading 16th of the season to make it 2-1. Zuccarello took a nice drop pass from J.T. Miller and shot the puck high, past Bishop’s shoulder and into the net. Tampa Bay tied things up again with just :09 to play in the period, when former Ranger Anton Stralman scored a power play goal. The call on the ice was no goal, but the play was reviewed and Stralman was awarded the goal and it was 2-2.

Moore scored 3:16 into the 3rd period to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead. Stalberg and Rick Nash added the empty-netters.

Henrik Lundqvist was sharp, making 20 saves.

New York’s penalty kill units gave up two power play goals in a game for the 4th time in the last 6 games.

The Rangers [now 21-13-4, 46 pts] play the Panthers Saturday night in Sunrise, FL.

Rangers Lose Eighth Straight Road Game

The Predators broke open a close game with three goals in a four-minute stretch of the 3rd period to beat the Rangers, 5-3, Monday night in Nashville. It was New York’s eighth straight road loss, and continued a five-week slump that has seen the Blueshirts go 4-10-2 in their last 16 games.

James Neal scored twice, and Mike Ribeiro notched three assists for the Predators. Pekka Rinne made 26 saves for the win. The Predators were 2-for-2 on the powerplay.

Filip Forsberg gave Nashville a 1-0 lead late in the 1st period with a power play goal at 18:56. Jesper Fast tied things up for the Rangers, 1-1,  at the 7:56 mark of the 2nd period; it was Fast’s 6th goal of the season. But Neal scored at 13:48 of the 2nd to give the Predators a 2-1 lead.

Then, in the 3rd period, Forsberg appeared to score a goal at 5:13, but, after a replay challenge, the goal was overturned. The Predators responded shortly thereafter, getting goals from Craig Smith, Ryan Ellis, and Neal, in a span of 3:39 to make it 5-1 Nashville and blow the game open.

Henrik Lundqvist was pulled after the second Neal goal, after giving up five goals on 35 shots. Antti Raanta, back after an injury, played the remainder of the game.

Rick Nash and J.T. Miller scored goals late, to make it seem closer than it was.

Dan Girardi returned to the lineup after missing five games with an injury to his kneecap. Kevin Klein was back, after missing 11 games with an oblique injury.

The Rangers [now 20-13-4, 44 pts] play the Lightning Wednesday night in Tampa.

Zuccarello OT Goal Gives Rangers Much-Needed Win

Mats Zuccarello scored a power play goal 2:37 into overtime, giving the Rangers a stirring 3-2 win Tuesday night at The Garden. The slumping Blueshirts had lost three in a row and were 3-9-2 in their previous 14 games.

Derick Brassard had two goals and an assist to lead the Rangers’ offense. Henrik Lundqvist made 17 saves for his 16th win of the season.

The game started slowly for the Rangers, as so many recent games have; they only mustered five shots on goal in the 1st period. Corey Perry gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead 11:15 into the period, on a shot into the upper corner of the goal, over Lundqvist’s shoulder. Brassard tied it 1-1 at 17:50 of the period, on an unassisted goal.

Neither team scored in the 2nd period. In the 3rd period, the Rangers started the period like gangbusters, perhaps feeling a sense of growing desperation. Being more physical, getting more shots off, playing with a sense of urgency. That pace paid off  when Brassard scored at 2:44, off a terrific pass from Zuccarello, to make it 2-1.

But the Ducks tied the score 2-2 with just 2:54 to play, when Rickard Rakell scored his 7th of the season, on a laser, with traffic in front of Lundqvist, sending the game to overtime.

Cam Fowler was called for holding 1:09 into the OT, giving the Rangers a 4-on-3 power play, and Zuccarello made it count, scoring the game-winner at 2:37, off a cross-ice pass from Dan Boyle; it was Zuccarello’s 15th goal of the season, and The Garden erupted in what could best be described as a cathartic roar.

The Rangers [now 20-12-4, 44 pts] are off until Monday the 28th, when they play the Predators in Nashville.

Rangers Squander Early Lead, Lose Big to Capitals, 7-3

After the Rangers held a 3-1 lead on division rival Washington at the end of one period Sunday, Rangers fans could be excused for feeling good, a rare feeling in recent weeks.

But they had no idea what the next 40 minutes would bring.

The Capitals scored four goals in the 2nd period and added two more in the 3rd period to rout the Rangers, 7-3, Sunday night at The Garden. In Washington’s last 14 games, they are 12-1-1, while the slumping Rangers, in their last 14 games, are 3-9-2.

Justin Williams had two goals and an assist for Washington. Marcus Johansson had a goal and two assists, and Nicklas Backstrom had three assists. Alexander Ovechkin scored his his 17th of the season, a power play goal, in the 2nd period. Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie, and Jason Chimera had the other Washington goals.

The Rangers got goals from J.T. Miller, Chris Kreider, and Dan Boyle [Boyle’s 4th in the last seven games], all in the 1st period, as the Blueshirts took a 3-1 lead after one period.

Henrik Lundqvist was pulled after giving up five goals in the first two periods. Magnus Hellberg played the 3rd period, giving up two goals.

The Rangers [now 19-12-4, 42 pts] host former Ranger Carl Hagelin and the Anaheim Ducks Tuesday night at The Garden.

Rangers’ Slump Continues In Loss to Winnipeg

The Rangers dug themselves into a 1st period hole Friday night and never found their way out, losing 5-2 to the Jets in Winnipeg. Bryan Little scored twice in the first eight minutes of the game, and the Jets never trailed after that. The Blueshirts are now 3-8-2 in their last 13 games, and have lost their last seven road games.

After Little’s two goals, the Rangers cut the lead to 2-1 on a J.T. Miller goal at 14:01 of the 1st period. Miller pushed the puck past Connor Hellebuyck as he slid past the goal for his 6th of the season. But Dustin Byfuglien made it 3-1 minutes later, at 17:31.

In the 2nd period, Henrik Lundqvist was magnificent, making 16 saves in the period, including several terrific glove saves, to keep the Rangers in the game. Dan Boyle cut it to 3-2 with a power play goal at 14:12. But a wide-open Tyler Myers made it a two-goal margin again at 16:14, with a slapshot past Lundqvist that made it 4-2.

Andrew Ladd scored an empty net goal with 1:00 to play for the final margin.

Little finished with two goals and an assist, and Blake Wheeler had three assists.

It was Derek Stepan‘s first game back after missing ten games with a rib injury.

The Rangers [now 19-11-4, 42 pts] host the Washington Capitals Sunday night at The Garden.

Road Woes Continue As Rangers Fall to Wild, 5-2

Just when you thought they might have turned a corner, the Rangers lost again Thursday night in Minneapolis, falling 5-2 to the Wild. Mikko Koivu had two goals and an assist to lead the Wild. The Rangers are 1-5-2 in their last 8 road games, and, after a 12-game stretch where the Blueshirts won 11 of 12 overall, the team is now 3-7-2 in their last 12 games.

The Rangers missed a chance to jump out to a v-e-r-y early lead Thursday; Keith Yandle was awarded a penalty shot just 49 into the game, but his shot was stopped by Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk. Koivu would then score 8:27 into the period to give the Wild a 1-0 lead.

Then, a scary moment for the Blueshirts. Goalie Antti Raanta was hit squarely in the mask by a slapshot from Minnesota’s Marco Scandella and did not return. Henrik Lundqvist played the rest of the game for the Rangers, who are expected to call up a backup goalie for Friday’s game against the Jets, until the team knows the extent of Raanta’s health.

Matt Dumba made it a 2-0 Minnesota lead with a power play goal at 17:30 of the 2nd period, but Dominic Moore cut the lead to 2-1 with just 9 seconds to go in the period.

Minnesota would score two goals in a 40-second span midway through the 3rd period to blow the game open.  Jason Pominville scored a powerplay goal at 9:38, with Brady Skjei in the penalty box for holding, to make it 3-1. Pominville got past the Rangers’ defense, took a pass from Koivu and scored. Chris Porter made it 4-1 at 10:18, with a backhand shot from a near-impossible angle that somehow made it past Lundqvist’s left shoulder.

Ryan McDonagh scored his 5th of the season at 16:23 to cut it to 4-2, but Koivu scored his 2nd of the game, at 17:43, for the final 5-2 margin.

The Wild have now notched a point in nine straight games.

The Rangers [now 19-10-4, 42 pts] are right back in action Friday night in Winnipeg against the Jets.

Rangers Rebound, Top Oilers, 4-2

Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello each had a goal and an assist, and Dylan McIlrath scored his first career NHL goal, as the Rangers returned to their winning ways, beating the Oilers, 4-2, Tuesday night at The Garden. The win snapped the Blueshirts’ three-game losing streak and ended Edmonton’s six-game winning streak.

Henrik Lundqvist needed to make just 18 saves, as the Rangers blocked 23 shots. Lundqvist is now 15-6-3 on the season.

Zuccarello got the Rangers on the scoreboard first, scoring 5:04 into the 1st period to give New York a 1-0 lead. Zuccarello took a pass from Keith Yandle and scored while falling forward to one knee.

Taylor Hall scored a power play goal for Edmonton 5:14 into the 2nd period, tying the score at 1-1. Hall has 15 goals on the season.

A few minutes later, a little history: McIlrath scored his first career goal, on a slapshot from just inside the blue line at 7:54, giving the Blueshirts a 2-1 lead. But the Oilers re-tied the game just before the end of the period, on Jordan Eberle‘s goal at 18:20.

Nash gave the Rangers the lead for good 61 seconds later, putting his own rebound past Anders Nilsson and  scoring  power play goal at 19:21 to make it 3-2.

The Oilers could not convert on three power play opportunities in the first half of the 3rd period. Jesper Fast added an empty net goal with :03 to play in the 3rd period for the final margin.

Brady Skjei, called up Tuesday from Hartford, made his NHL debut, logging 14:54 of ice time.

The Rangers [now 19-9-4, 42 pts] play the Wild in Minneapolis Thursday night.





Stoll Waived, Skjei To Make NHL Debut Tonight

Jarret Stoll was waived by the Rangers Monday, and the team announced that Brady Skjei will make his NHL debut tonight when the Blueshirts host the Edmonton Oilers at The Garden.

Stoll joined the team in the off-season, adding a veteran presence, a championship pedigree from his time with the L.A. Kings, and a noted ability to win face-offs, a skill the Rangers struggled with in 2014-15.

Stoll bounced from center to wing on the team’s 4th line during the season, but had a team-best 57.9% face-off win percentage [9th in the NHL]. He played 29 games and had a goal and two assists. Coach Alain Vigneault cited his preference in keeping Dominic Moore as 4th line center as the reason for Stoll’s release.

Stoll was claimed off waivers Tuesday by the Minnesota Wild.

Skjei had two goals and nine assists in 21 games with Hartford. With Kevin Klein out indefinitely with an oblique strain, and with Dan Girardi listed as day-to-day with a swollen knee, Vigneault needed defensive help.

The Rangers [18-9-4, 40 pts] are 2-6-2 in their last ten games.

Rangers Lose To Flames in OT, Losing Streak Hits 3

The Rangers mounted a furious 3rd period comeback Saturday night to dig out of a three-goal deficit, but wound up losing to the Flames in Calgary in overtime, 5-4, on a goal by T.J. Brodie. The loss extended the Blueshirts’ slump in recent weeks; the team has lost three straight, 5 of the last 6, and is now 2-6-2 in its last ten games.

Johnny Gaudreau had two goals and an assist to lead Calgary. J.T. Miller and Dan Boyle each had a goal and an assist for the Rangers.

New York took a 1-0 lead midway through the 1st period when Miller took a perfect cross-ice pass from Viktor Stalberg and scored at 10:56, his 5th goal of the season.

The one-goal lead looked like it would hold up through the 2nd period, until the Flames scored two goals in 17 seconds at the end of the period to take a 2-1 lead. Gaudreau intercepted a Keith Yandle pass and fired the puck past Antti Raanta at 17:41 to make it 1-1. And Mason Raymond‘s goal at 17:28 of the period made it 2-1.

The Flames got goals from Goudreau and Joe Colborne early in the 3rd period to make it 4-1 lead, before the Rangers rallied. Tanner Glass scored his first goal of the season at 5:13 to make it 4-2. Boyle’s goal at 15:06 made it 4-3. And Mats Zuccarello scored a powerplay goal at 18:48 to cap off the comeback and tie the score 4-4.

In overtime, though, Brodie took a pass from Kris Russell, streaked up ice with the puck and sent a wrist shot past Raanta for the game-winner at 2:09.

The Rangers [now 18-9-4, 40 pts] head home after being swept on their three-game Western road trip. They host the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday night at The Garden.


Rangers Stumble and Fall to Oilers, 7-5

It was like video game hockey, with lots of goals and seemingly little defense, and, in the end, it marked a new low-water mark for the Rangers this season.

Taylor Hall scored two 3rd period goals, including the game-winner with 1:34 to play, and Lauri Korpikoski scored his first NHL hat trick, as the Edmonton Oilers outplayed the Rangers, 7-5, Friday night in Edmonton. It was the most goals the Blueshirts have allowed in a game this season, and the Rangers are now 2-6-1 in their last nine games.

The Blueshirts trailed 3-1 and 5-3, but each time they rallied to tie the score, the Oilers would quickly retake the lead. After trailing 3-1 going into the 2nd period, the Rangers tied the game 3-3 at the end of the period. But they gave up a goal to Hall 18 seconds into the 3rd period to trail again, 4-3.

And when Rick Nash scored a power play goal with just 1:46 to play, tying the score 5-5, the game seemed headed to overtime. But Hall scored his second goal of the period, and 14th of the season, just 12 seconds later to give Edmonton a 6-5 lead. Korpikoski, who got his start in the NHL with the Rangers in 2008-09, added an empty net goal with 38 seconds to play to complete his hat trick.

New York got two goals from Derick Brassard, and goals from Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, and Nash.

Henrik Lundqvist got the start but was pulled 2:40 into the 3rd period, after giving up 5 goals on 33 shots. Antti Raanta replaced him, and took the loss, giving up Hall’s game-winner.

The game was Alain Vigneault‘s 1000th game as an NHL head coach.

The Rangers [now 18-9-3, 39 pts] play the Flames in Calgary Saturday night.