Stepan’s Late Goal Gives Rangers Win Over Columbus

Derek Stepan scored a shorthanded goal with 2:48 to play and Antti Raanta made 26 saves as the Rangers beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-1, Monday night at The Garden. The Blueshirts have won three in a row, 5 of 6, and are 10-2-1 in their last 13 games.

Raanta, who made two clutch saves in the game’s final seconds, is now 6-4-2 on the season.

The Rangers took a 1-0 lead late in the 1st period. Dan Boyle scooped up a loose puck and passed it to Mats Zuccarello, who skated behind the Columbus net and slipped the puck past Joonas Korpisalo at 17:41 for his 21st goal of the season.

Neither team scored in the 2nd period. Early in the 3rd period, the Blue Jackets capitalized on a Rangers turnover to tie the game. Dan Girardi‘s pass was intercepted by Cam Atkinson, who skated in alone on Raanta. Raanta stopped Atkinson’s first shot, but Atkinson scored on the rebound to tie the game 1-1 at 3:46.

With 4:41 to play, and the game still tied, 1-1, Marc Staal was called for tripping, and the Blueshirts went on the penalty kill for the first time all night. Ryan McDonagh poked the puck loose near center ice, Stepan grabbed the puck and skated in on Korpisalo. Stepan made a fake, waited, and then shot the puck over the outstretched body of Korpisalo for the game-winning goal. It was Stepan’s 14th goal of the season.

It was only the team’s 2nd shorthanded goal of the season. Stepan scored the other one January 5th against Dallas.

Eric Staal, acquired Sunday from Carolina, made his Rangers debut. He played nearly 16 minutes, and won 9 of the 17 face-offs he took [53%].

The Rangers [now 37-20-6, 80 pts] play the Penguins in Pittsburgh Thursday night.

Rangers Acquire Eric Staal

24 hours before the NHL trading deadline, the Rangers acquired veteran forward Eric Staal, brother of Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, from the Carolina Hurricanes. In the deal, Carolina received Alexsi Saarela and New York’s 2nd round picks in the 2016 and 2017 NHL Draft.

Eric Staal is expected to be in uniform Monday night when the Rangers host the Columbus Blue Jackets at The Garden.

Klein the Hero Again as Rangers Edge Stars, 3-2

Kevin Klein scored his second game-winning goal in a week, and Henrik Lundqvist made 36 saves, as the Rangers edged the Stars in Dallas Saturday, 3-2. The Blueshirts have won 4 of their last 5 and are 9-2-1 in their last 12 games.

The game seemed headed to overtime when Dallas’ Valeri Nichushkin tied the game, 2-2, with just 4:01 to play. But the Rangers rallied moments later. Jesper Fast, playing with a broken nose, stole a pass in the Dallas zone, passed it to Derek Stepan. Stepan deflected the puck back to Klein, whose wrist shot beat Kari Lehtonen with 2:53 to play, just 68 seconds later, to make it 3-2.

Klein’s goal in overtime beat the Detroit Red Wings, 1-0, last Sunday at The Garden.

After a scoreless 1st period, Chris Kreider gave New York a 1-0 lead at 4:38 with a power play goal, deflecting in a shot by Keith Yandle. But the Stars evened the game, 1-1, midway through the 2nd. Lundqvist stopped Tyler Seguin‘s shot, but Colton Sceviour put the rebound in for a goal at 9:08.

Ryan McDonagh got the other goal for the Blueshirts; his backhander from a tough angle at the right of the Dallas net deflected in off Lehtonen’s left elbow at 8:26 of the 3rd period too give New York a 2-1 lead.

The Rangers [now 36-20-6, 78 pts] host Columbus Monday night at The Garden.

Jesper Fast Injured at Practice

Jesper Fast was injured at the Rangers’ practice this afternoon, at the Dallas Stars’ practice facility. According to our friends at, Fast was hit in the face with a  puck and suffered a broken nose, and had teeth some teeth loosened.

His status for Saturday afternoon’s game in Dallas against the Stars in uncertain. If he cannot play, coach Alain Vigneault said defenseman Dylan McIlrath would move up and play winger(!), and additional line adjustments would occur.



Lundqvist Notches 30th Win as Defense Shuts Down Blues

Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves and the Rangers’ defense, buoyed by the return of Ryan McDonagh and Marc Staal, played one of its sharpest games of the season, as the Rangers beat the Blues in St. Louis Thursday night, 2-1. Tanner Glass and Chris Kreider scored the New York goals.

The win was Lundqvist’s 30th of the season; he became the first goalie in league history to record 30 wins in ten of his first 11 seasons. It was also the 369th of his NHL career, moving him into a tie for 16th place all-time, with Tom Barrasso.

Glass gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead midway through the 1st period, at 13:14. With his back to the goal, he deflected a Dan Girardi shot past Jake Allen.

Troy Brouwer tied the score, 1-1, at 14:23 of the 2nd period with a power play goal.

Then in the 3rd period, Chris Kreider gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead at 4:18, taking a pass from Oscar Lindberg and ripping a shot past Allen.

The Blueshirts [now 35-20-6, 76 pts] have won 3 of their last 4 and are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games. They play the Stars in Dallas Saturday afternoon.

Devils Dominate Rangers, 5-2

The Rangers scored two goals in a 45-second span in the 1st period to take a 2-1 lead, but managed little offense after that, losing to the New Jersey Devils in Newark Tuesday night, 5-2.

Tyler Kennedy gave the Devils a 1-0 lead 4:47 into the game, scoring his second goal of the season. Kevin Hayes made it a 1-1 game at 8:17. Viktor Stalberg missed a shot, but Hayes put the rebound past Cory Schneider for the goal. Hayes has seven points in the last seven games.

45 seconds later, the Blueshirts took a 2-1 lead. Marek Hrivik passed to Keith Yandle just inside the blue line and Yandle made a perfect pass to Dominic Moore, who deflected the puck in for the goal. It was Hrivik’s first NHL point, and Yandle’s team-high 30th assist of the season.

In the 2nd period, the Devils tied it up, 2-2, when Kyle Palmieri scored a power play goal at 10:28, with Mats Zuccarello in the penalty box for tripping. Its was Palmierei’s 23rd goal on the season, tops on the Devils. Later in the 2nd, New Jersey took a 3-2 lead when former Ranger Lee Stempniak scored at 18:06.

With under three minutes to play in the 3rd, Sergey Kalinin picked up a loose puck, skated in a Henrik Lundqvist and scored, at 17:16 to make it 4-2. Adam Larsson added an empty-net goal at 19:31 for the final margin.

The Devils out-shot the Rangers, 36-19. After eight shots in the 1st period, the Blueshirts only registered eleven more.

The Rangers [now 34-20-6, 74 pts] play the Blues in St. Louis Thursday night.

Klein’s OT Goal Gives Rangers 1-0 Win

When the NHL adopted a 3-on-3 overtime this season, it promised end-to-end action. That proved itself true Sunday night at The Garden.

Seconds after Henrik Lundqvist made a clutch save, Kevin Klein‘s goal at the other end gave the Rangers a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Lundqvist stopped all 22 shots he faced for his 4th shutout of the season. The Blueshirts are now 7-1-1 in their last 9 games, and are also 9-1-2 in their last 12 home games.

It was the first time this season that the Red Wings had been shut out.

Lundqvist and Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard were locked in a terrific goaltending duel, each making save after save, as the game remained scoreless after 60 minutes. The Rangers looked as if they had taken a 1-0 lead at 5:54 of the 3rd period when Kevin Hayes scored on a shot from the right of the goal, but, after a video review, the referees disallowed the goal, saying that Oscar Lindberg had interfered with Howard, and the game remained scoreless.

It was the second time in three games that the Blueshirts had had a goal disallowed due to interference with the opposing goalie.

Later in the period, Jesper Fast was awarded a penalty shot at 14:35 of the 3rd, after being pulled down on a breakaway, but Howard stopped Fast’s attempt. Howard would stop Fast again moments later, at 16:20, from point-blank range.

The teams went to a five-minute, 3-on-3 overtime. In a tantalizing end-to-end sequence, Lundqvist stopped a Gustav Nyqvist shot, but the puck trickled past him toward the goal. Chris Kreider saved the puck from going in and passed it to Hayes. Hayes streaked up the ice on a 2-on-1 with Klein, and passed to Klein, who beat Howard at 1:59 of OT for the game-winner.

The New York power play, which had scored a goal in four straight games, went 0-for-4 on the night.

The Rangers [now 34-19-6, 74 pts] play the Devils in Newark Tuesday night.

Stepan Saves The Day as Rangers Score Late to Top Leafs

Derek Stepan scored with 91 seconds to play, breaking a 2-2 tie, and the Rangers bounced back from Wednesday’s loss to Chicago with a 4-2 win over the Maple Leafs Thursday night in Toronto.

Coach Alain Vigneault juggled his lines for the game, putting Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello and J.T. Miller together, and the move worked; Brassard scored twice, Zuccarello had a goal and two assists, and Miller had three assists.

Goalie Antti Raanta, after being in the net for an overtime loss to Los Angeles last Friday, had publicly spoken about feeling as if he had let the team down that night. Thursday, he made amends. He looked confident and strong and made 35 saves against the Maple Leafs. It was Raanta’s first win since a November 15th game at The Garden, also against Toronto.

Despite the good feelings about the bounce-back win, some bad news. The Rangers lost captain Ryan McDonagh to injury again. With 1:02 to play in the 1st period, Toronto’s Leo Komarov hit McDonagh with an elbow to the head, and Komarov was given a match penalty. McDonagh looked dazed on the bench, and did not return to the game.

The Rangers found themselves trailing early. Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau opened the scoring with a goal at 3:58 of the 1st period to give the Leafs a 1-0 lead.

But the Blueshirts did not let the early deficit get worse. In the 2nd period, Brassard scored his team-leading 21st goal of the season at 3:56 to tie the game 1-1. In the closing moments of a brief 5-on-3 power play, Brassard took a pass from Keith Yandle and blasted a shot past Jonathan Bernier. It was the 4th straight game that the Blueshirts have scored a power play goal.

Later, at 9:24 of the 2nd, Zuccarello gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead, taking the rebound of a Stepan shot and scoring. It was his 20th goal of 2015-16, a new career high.

But the Leafs rallied late in the 3rd period to tie the game. With Bernier pulled for an extra attacker, and after Raanta had stopped an initial Toronto shot, Colin Greening pushed the loose puck into the net during a mad scramble to make it 2-2 at 17:30.

But 59 seconds later, Miller stole the puck in the Toronto zone, passed to Zuccarello, who fed Stepan for the goal and a 3-2 New York lead. Brassard added an empty-net goal with 19.9 seconds to play for the final 4-2 margin.

The Rangers’ penalty kill unit, after giving up a season-high three goals in Wednesday’s loss to Chicago, was much improved, going a perfect 5-for-5 Thursday.

The Rangers [now 33-19-6, 72 pts] host the Detroit Red Wings Sunday night at The Garden.

Rangers Give Up Three Power Play Goals, Lose to Chicago, 5-3

The Rangers’ penalty kill unit, beleaguered all season, gave up a season-high three power play goals Wednesday night, including the go-ahead goal with 3:00 to play, as the Blueshirts lost to the Chicago Blackhawks, 5-3, Wednesday night at The Garden. Artemi Panarin scored his first career hat trick to lead Chicago.

New York’s penalty kill is now 28th in the NHL. It was the 10th  time this season that the Rangers have allowed two more power play goals in a game; they are 2-8 in those games.

Chicago took a 1-0 lead 3:30 into the 1st period when Andrew Desjardins redirected a Teuvo Teravainen pass past Henrik Lundqvist.

The Rangers t-h-o-u-g-h-t they had tied the score in the opening moments of the 2nd period when Dan Girardi beat Corey Crawford with a slapshot at 1:52, but the Blackhawks challenged the call on the ice, saying that Chris Kreider had interfered with Crawford, and the goal was disallowed, and the score remained 1-0.

Panarin made it 2-0 with a power play goal at 10:05 of the 2nd, a blistering wrist shot up high past a screened Lundqvist, but Kevin Hayes cut the lead to 2-1 at 13:45, taking a pass from Oscar Lindberg and scoring his 10th goal of the season.

In the closing seconds of the 2nd period, Chicago’s Vincent Hinostroza was given a four-minute double minor for high-sticking Dominic Moore, and the Blueshirts scored a couple of power play goals of their own, early in the 3rd period, to take the lead. Derick Brassard scored his career-high 20th goal of the season just 24 seconds into the 3rd, to tie the game 2-2. And Dan Boyle made it 3-2 at 2:17 of the period, taking a pass from Hayes and pushing the puck past Crawford with a little 2nd effort in front of the net, breaking an 18-game scoring drought for Boyle.

Then it became a matter of whether the Rangers could hold off the defending Stanley Cup champions for another 17 minutes and come away with the win. They could not.

Viktor Stalberg was whistled for holding at 8:11, when it actually appeared that Panarin had held Stalberg’s stick and fallen to hit knees. Chicago’s Andrew Shaw tied the score, 3-3, with a power play goal at 9:53.

And later, after a holding penalty against Keith Yandle at 16:30, Panarin scored the go-ahead goal. The NHL’s leading scorer, Patrick Kane, split a seam in the New York defense, and took a pass from Brent Seabrook. He then threw a pass to Panarin from behind-the-net, and Panarin beat Lundqvist to make it 4-3.

Panarin added an empty-net goal at 18:49 to complete his hat trick.

The Blackhawks scored four power play goals in a  win over Toronto Monday.

The Rangers [now 32-19-6, 70 pts] play the Maple Leafs Thursday night in Toronto.

Lundqvist Named NHL’s #2 Star of the Week

Henrik Lundqvist was named the NHL’s #2 Star of the Week for the week of February 8th-14th. He was 3-0-0 for the week, and had a GAA of 0.67. He gave up a goal with 2:17 to play in a 2-1 win over New Jersey Monday, made 34 saves in a shutout win at Pittsburgh Wednesday, and beat the Flyers Sunday night at The Garden, giving up a goal with only 9.7 seconds left.

For the season, Lundqvist has 28 wins [tied for 3rd in the NHL] with a GAA of 2.29.

Pavel Datsyuk of Detroit was the #1 Star, and Boston’s Brad Marchand was the #3 Star.

Lundqvist and the Rangers are back in action Wednesday night, in a home game at The Garden against the Chicago Blackhawks.