Brassard’s 5-Point Night Sparks Rangers’ 6-3 Win

Derick Brassard tallied two goals and three assists as the Rangers pulled away from a tie game early in the 3rd period and beat Buffalo, 6-3, Monday night at The Garden. After a flat performance in a 3-0 loss at Ottawa Sunday, the Blueshirts showed energy and urgency from the start Monday, and have won 3 of their last 4, and 5 of 8.

The five points for Brassard were a career-high.

The Blueshirts entered the 3rd period with a 2-1 lead, on goals from Dylan McIlrath [at 5:58 of the 1st], and Viktor Stalberg [at 14:52 of the 2nd]. Brassard’s goal, 1:06 into the 3rd] made it 3-1.

The Sabres tied it when Zemgus Girgensons scored twice in a 73-second span. But the Rangers responded, with goals by the recently white-hot J.T. Miller [at 6:44] and Mats Zuccarello [a power play goal, at 9:23] to make it 5-3. Miller now has five goals in his last six games. Zuccarello’s goal came off a perfect cross-ice pass by Derek Stepan. And both goals included assists by Brassard.

Brassard would add an empty-net goal with 36 seconds to play for the final 6-3 margin.

Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves, in his 22nd win of the season.

The Rangers [now 27-17-5, 59 pts] are off until February 2nd, when they play the Devils in Newark.

Senators Blank Rangers, 3-0

Craig Anderson made 35 saves as the Senators shut out a rather listless Rangers team, 3-0, in a Sunday afternoon matinee game in Ottawa. It was Anderson’s 3rd shutout of the season. The win snapped the Blueshirts’ two-game winning streak, and the team was shut out for the 4th time this season.

The two teams played scoreless hockey for most of the first two periods. Then, with :20 remaining in the 2nd period, Bobby Ryan poked a loose puck past Henrik Lundqvist and into the net for a 1-0 lead.

In the 3rd period, Mike Anderson scored his team-leading 22nd goal of the season just 2:40 into the period to make it 2-0. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored a shorthanded, empty-net goal at 17:38 of the period for the final margin.

The Rangers [now 26-17-5, 57 pts] host the Buffalo Sabres Monday night at The Garden, the team’s final game before the All-Star Break.

Miller Scores Two as Rangers Calm Hurricanes, 4-1

It’s been a good week for J.T. Miller. He scored a goal last Saturday in a win at Philadelphia. He had the game-winner in overtime Tuesday night at The Garden in a win over Vancouver. And Friday night, Miller scored twice as the Rangers beat Carolina, 4-1, in Raleigh. Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves.

The Rangers, who had not won back-to-back games since November 21-23, have now won 3 of their last 4. They are 7-4-1 in their last 12 games.

The Rangers took a 1-0 lead at the 14:01 mark of the 1st period on Ryan McDonagh‘s 6th goal of the season. Keith Yandle made it 2-0 at 17:53. Kevin Hayes passed the puck to Oscar Lindberg behind the net, and Lindberg fed it to an unchecked Yandle streaking toward the net. Handle converted for his 3rd of the season.

The Blueshirts, after taking a season-high 49 shots Tuesday vs Vancouver, peppered Carolina goalie Eddie Lack with 17 shots in the 1st period Friday.

In the 2nd period, Joakim Nordstrom made it 2-1 at 3:29, off an assist from Andrej Nestrasil. But then Miller made it 3-1 at 9:41. Jesper Fast picked up a loose puck in the Hurricanes zone and got it to Miller, who spun and shot high on Lack for the goal.

Miller made it 4-1 at 11:51 of the period, with an unassisted goal. Miller stole the puck from Jaccob Slavin a few feet in front of the Carolina net, faked Lack, and scored. Miller now has 12 goals on the 2015-16 season.

The Rangers [now 26-16-5, 57 pts] play at Ottawa Sunday afternoon. Blizzard permitting.

J.T. Miller OT Goal Wins It For Rangers, 3-2

J.T. Miller timed it right late Tuesday night at The Garden. He hopped over the boards on a shift change in overtime, picked up the puck, missed a shot, got his own rebound, and skated around the net and scored a wraparound game-winner, as the Rangers beat the Canucks, 3-2.

Miller’s terrific individual effort capped an impressive comeback for the Rangers, on a night when the team peppered the Canucks goal with shots. The Blueshirts took a season-high 49 shots, and out-shot the Canucks 16-2 in the 3rd period. Vancouver goalie Ryan Miller made 46 saves in the loss [after making 47 Sunday against the Islanders].

Vancouver took a 1-0 lead midway through the 1st period. Bo Horvat skated toward the Rangers’ net and passed to Sven Baertschi in front of the net and Baertschi scored at 9:02.

The Blueshirts evened things up early in the 2nd period. Taking advantage of a delayed penalty on the Canucks, and with an extra attacker on the ice, Chris Kreider fed the puck to Derek Stepan in front of the net, and Stepan scored his 9th goal of the season, at 4:18, to make it 1-1. But the Canucks regained the lead later in the period. Ex-Ranger Emerson Etem got the puck to Alexandre Burrows, who deflected it past Henrik Lundqvist for the goal and a 2-1 lead.

In the 3rd, just when Rangers fans might’ve been getting a growing feeling of defeat, the usual offensive heroes stepped up. Mats Zuccarello scored at 11:46 of the 3rd period, off a perfect thread-the-needle pass from Keith Yandle, through the legs of Ryan Miller for his team-high 17th goal of the season and a 2-2 tie.

Yandle’s assist was his team-high 22nd of the season.

Lundqvist was lightly tested, stopping 18 of the 20 shots he faced, but he came up big several times, including a 2nd period save to stop a Baertschi shot.

The Rangers [now 25-16-5, 55 pts] have now alternated wins and losses in eleven straight games. They play the Hurricanes in Raleigh, NC, Friday night.

Defensive Lapses Exposed in 5-2 Loss To Capitals

The Capitals scored two power play goals and took advantage of some defensive mistakes by the Rangers, and beat the Blueshirts 5-2 Sunday afternoon in Washington. Justin Williams had a hat trick for the Capitals, the 2nd one of his career.

The New York penalty kill unit gave up two goals for the 8th time this season, and the team made numerous mistakes in their own zone.

The Capitals [34-8-3, 71 pts], who lost Saturday at Buffalo, have not lost back-to-back games all season. It was their 12th straight win at home.

The Rangers took a 1-0 lead midway through the 1st period when Chris Kreider deflected a Ryan McDonagh shot in for a goal at 10:17 that made it 1-0. But the Capitals evened the score late in the 1st period when Alexander Ovechkin scored a power play goal at 18:01. Derick Brassard had been whistled for a holding-the-stick penalty against Evgeny Kuznetsov deep in the Rangers’ zone, and Washington made the most of the man advantage. It was Ovechkin’s 27th goal of the season, 2nd in the NHL behind Chicago’s Patrick Kane.

In the 2nd period, with the game tied 1-1, the Blueshirts gave up two goals in a 62-second span. Markus Johansson‘s power play goal at 7:18, off a great pass from Nicklas Backstrom, made it 2-1. Then at 8:20, Williams deflected in a shot by Taylor Chorney past Antti Raanta to make it 3-1 Washington.

Kreider closed the score to 3-2 late in the 2nd period. Rick Nash got the puck out of the corner and skated toward the net. Kreider got the puck and put it past Braden Holtby at 17:28.

Holtby would leave the game after that goal, and was replaced by Philipp Grubauer who played the rest of the way; Holtby was said to be dealing with exhaustion.

Then in the 3rd period, J.T. Miller made a bad cross-ice pass in the Rangers zone, and Washington converted. Andre Burakovsky gave it to Kuznetsov, who passed the puck to Williams in front of the net for the easy goal at 4:51 that made it 4-2.

Williams added an empty net goal, off a bad pass from Keith Yandle, to complete his hat trick and make it 5-2.

The Rangers outshot Washington, 33-24.

The Rangers [now 24-16-5, 53 pts] host the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night at The Garden.

Lundqvist The Hero in Rangers’ Shootout Win

Henrik Lundqvist made two clutch saves in the final minute of overtime, and then stopped all three Philadelphia shots in the shootout, as the Rangers edged the Flyers, 3-2, Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia. Lundqvist made 34 saves and notched his 20th win of the season. He is now the first goalie in NHL history to record 11 straight 20-win seasons to start his career.

In the waning moments of overtime, Lundqvist stopped a Shayne Gostisbehere slapshot, and then, moments later, stopped an unguarded Matt Read  point-blank in front of the net. In the OT, he stopped Gostisbehere and Claude Giroux, and forced Jakub Voracek to miss wide of the net.

Mats Zuccarello scored the only goal of the shootout.

The win snapped Philadelphia’s four-game winning streak, and ended a six-game home win streak for the Flyers.

Brayden Schenn gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead 3:56 into the game, with his 10th goal of the season. But later in the 1st period, J.T. Miller tied things up with a power play goal at 16:08, snapping a 0-for-19 streak on the powerplay for the Rangers.

Chris Kreider scored 4:49 into the 2nd period to make it 2-1 New York, off a terrific centering pass from Rick Nash. But Wayne Simmonds scored a power play play goal, at 10:33 of the 3rd, off crisp passes from Voracek and Giroux, to tie the game 2-2.

The Rangers [now 24-15-5, 53 pts] play the Capitals Sunday at 5pm.

3rd Period Rally Helps Isles Top Rangers, 3-1

The Islanders scored twice in the opening minutes of the 3rd period, and held on for a come-from-behind 3-1 win over the Rangers Thursday in Brooklyn. The win moved the Islanders into 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division, above the Blueshirts.

The two teams played nearly 40 minutes of scoreless hockey before Marc Staal put the Rangers on top 1-0 in the final minute of the 2nd period. Jesper Fast , near the right face-off circle, spun and passed the puck toward the net and a streaking Chris Kreider and Staal. Staal deflected the puck past Jaroslav Halak for the goal.

In the 3rd period, Brock Nelson tied at score 1:53 into the period, with his 18th goal of the season, tops on the Islanders. And minutes later, Nick Leddy scored a power play goal at 4:17 to make it 2-1. John Tavares passed the puck from behind the net to Leddy, whose shot beat Henrik Lundqvist for the goal.

Kyle Okposo scored an empty-net goal with :02 to play for the final margin.

The Blueshirts were 0-for-3 on the power play and are now 0-for-their-last-18.

The Rangers [now 23-15-5, 51 pts] play back-to-back road games this weekend; in Philadelphia Saturday afternoon, and in Washington Sunday.


Following Win Over Boston, Prepping For the Islanders

While much of the sports world was watching college football Monday night, the Rangers played their best game in weeks, coming from behind to beat the Bruins, 2-1 at The Garden. Jesper Fast‘s goal with 1:42 to play was the game-winner, and Henrik Lundqvist was super-sharp, making 32 saves for his 19th win of the season.

A clutch win over an Eastern Conference foe, and the continuation of a more positive stretch for the Blueshirts. They are 4-2-1 in the their last seven games.

The Rangers trailed 1-0 at the start of the 3rd period, but Derick Brassard, off a pass from Mats Zuccarello, tied the game just 35 seconds in, Brassard’s 15th of the season.  Then, more than 17 minutes later, Fast deftly deflected a Keith Yandle shot that was going wide of the net past Tuukka Rask.

It was the first time this season that the Rangers won a game that they were trailing at the end of two periods.

The Rangers [now 23-14-5, 51 pts] play Thursday night against the Islanders at the Barclay Center. In their only other meeting this season, the Islanders beat the Blueshirts in a shootout, 2-1, December 2nd,

Ovechkin’s OT Goal Lifts Caps Over Rangers, 4-3

Alexander Ovechkin‘s goal 1:25 into overtime gave the Capitals a come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Rangers Saturday afternoon at The Garden, thwarting a dramatic 3rd period rally by the Blueshirts. The goal was the 499th of Ovechkin’s NHL career.

The Rangers entered the 3rd period trailing 2-0, after playing two arguably listless periods of hockey, and came alive in the 3rd period to take a 3-2 lead, But Nicklas Backstrom scored with :06 to play in regulation to send the game to overtime, setting the stage for Ovechkin.

Backstrom’s late goal was a bit reminiscent of Joel Ward‘s goal with 1.3 seconds to play in the opening game of the Rangers’ 2nd round playoff series with the Capitals last spring.  In that game, though, Ward’s goal was the game-winner.

Ovechkin opened the scoring with a power play goal late in the 1st period. Dan Girardi skated behind the Rangers’ net and attempted a pass to Dominic Moore, but Ovechkin stole the puck and shot it past Henrik Lundqvist with :15 to go in the period.

The Capitals made it 2-0 at 3:56 of the 2nd period on a goal by Justin Williams.

Then in the 3rd period, the Rangers mounted their rally. Oscar Lindberg broke a 12-game scoring drought with a goal at 5:54 from the right face-off circle past Braden Holtby to make it 2-1.

Then, midway through the period, the Rangers tied it 2-2. Kevin Hayes, seconds after the leaving the penalty box, knocked the puck past Holtby at 9:48 for his first goal in 18 games. Ryan McDonagh passed the puck toward the crease, and Hayes put it home.

Minutes later, the Blueshirts took a 3-2 lead in dramatic fashion. Keith Yandle‘s shot from just inside the blue line was redirected by Viktor Stalberg for a goal at 13:11, Stalberg’s 6th goal of the season.

Despite Ovechkin’s heroics, the Rangers came away with a point. Now 22-14-5 (49 pts), they host the Boston Bruins Monday night at The Garden.

Rangers Trade Etem to Vancouver For Nicklas Jensen

The Rangers traded Emerson Etem to the Vancouver Canucks for forward Nicklas Jensen and a 6th round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.

Jensen was assigned to Hartford. He was the 29th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, when Rangers coach Alain Vigneault was head coach of the Canucks.

Etem had three assists in 19 games with the Rangers. The Blueshirts host Washington at The Garden this afternoon.