Hurricanes Rally, Beat Rangers 4-3

The Rangers did not play like a playoff team Thursday and so, by the end of the night, they were not a playoff team.

The Blueshirts came out flat in the 1st period in Raleigh, had an impressive 2nd period to take the lead, but failed to hold that lead when it counted. The Hurricanes rallied from a 3-2 deficit to beat the Rangers 4-3, preventing the Rangers from clinching a spot in the playoffs. Victor Rask‘s power play goal midway through the 3rd period was the difference.

Coming into the game, the Rangers were 27-1-2 when leading after two periods this season.

Not only did the Rangers fail to clinch a playoff spot, but the loss, coupled with Pittsburgh’s 5-2 win over Nashville, dropped the Rangers to 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division behind the Penguins.

Carolina got on the board first. Patrick Brown scored his first career NHL goal at 11:05 of the 1st period, taking a Jeff Skinner shot that ricocheted off the corner boards and beating Henrik Lundqvist to make it 1-0. The Hurricanes dominated play in the period, outshooting the Rangers 13-4.

In the 2nd, the Blueshirts came alive. Mats Zuccarello tied the score 1:36 into the period, taking a pass from Derek Stepan and beating Cam Ward to make it it 1-1. It was his 25th goal of the season and the 200th point of Zuccarello’s NHL career.

Minutes later, Rick Nash scored a Rick Nash-like goal to make it 2-1 Rangers. He took a pass from J.T. Miller, fought off defender Brett Pesce, and bulldozed his way toward the net and scored at 5:03.

Justin Faulk tied the game at 13:27, scoring his 16th of the season to make it 2-2, but Chris Kreider gave the Rangers the lead again at 17:18 with a power play goal. Similar to the Brown goal, a long Stepan pass took an odd carom off the boards. Kreider beat the Pesce to the puck and scored to make it 3-2. It was Kreider’s 19th of the season.

Early in the 3rd period, Skinner tied the game, 3-3, deflecting a long Ryan Murphy shot in for a goal at 4:22, setting the stage for Rask’s heroics.

The Rangers [now 43-25-9, 85 pts] have only five regular season games to go. They host the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night at The Garden.


Crosby’s OT Goal Lifts Penguins Over Rangers, 3-2

Sidney Crosby‘s tip-in goal with 30 seconds to play in overtime gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-2 win over the Rangers Sunday night at The Garden, snapping the Blueshirts’ three-game winning streak, and bringing Pittsburgh to within three points of the Rangers for 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division.

Crosby, with Mats Zuccarello all over him, deflected a Kris Letang shot past Henrik Lundqvist for his 32nd goal of the season. The victory gave the Penguins the win in the season series against the Rangers, three games to one.

Eric Staal scored both New York goals, his 2nd and 3rd goals since joining the Blueshirts in February; linemates Jesper Fast and Kevin Hayes each had two assists. It was Staal’s 50th career multi-goal game, and his first as a Ranger.

The Rangers came out in the 1st period the more aggressive team. Crisp passing, with more of the action taking place in the Pittsburgh zone.  Staal gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead 4:19 into the game, taking a pass from Hayes with only one hand on his stick and scoring past Marc-Andre Fleury.  Matt Cullen tied the game, 1-1, at 15:49 of the period, knocking down Derrick Pouliot‘s shot and sweeping it past Lundqvist.

In the 2nd period, Staal gave the Rangers the lead again, taking a pass from Fast and scoring from a tough angle at 2:07 to make it 2-1.

Phil Kessel evened the game again, 2-2, at 8:36. Lundqvist’s clearing pass was intercepted by former Blueshirt Carl Hagelin, who shot and missed, but Kessel put the rebound past Lundqvist for a goal.

Neither team scored in the 3rd period. In the OT, the Penguins had a man advantage for nearly two minutes after a high sticking penalty on Derick Brassard in the closing seconds of regulation. The Rangers managed to kill off that penalty, but did not record a shot on goal in the extra session.

The Rangers [now 43-24-9, 95 pts] have only six games remaining in the regular season. They play the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh Thursday night.

Rangers Beat Montreal, 5-2; Win Streak At Three

The Rangers scored four goals in the 2nd period, to break open a close game, and beat the Canadiens, 5-2, Saturday night in Montreal, extending their winning streak to three games. Chris Kreider scored two goals and an assist to lead the Blueshirts and Derick Brassard had a goal and two assists.

Antti Raanta made 24 saves in the win, and improved his record to 10-5-2 on the season.

The Rangers have scored 14 goals during the win streak, the most in any three-game stretch this season.

With the game tied 1-1 entering the 2nd period, the Rangers took control. Brassard scored his 27th goal of the season just 92 seconds into the period to make it 2-1. Brassard got the rebound of Kreider’s missed shot and beat Mike Condon for the goal.

Kreider then scored a power play goal at 8:19 to make it 3-1, taking a great cross-ice pass from Brassard and scoring. Kreider would score an unassisted goal minutes later, stealing the puck and skating in and beating Condon at 10:42 to make it 4-1.

Phillip Danault cut the lead to 4-2 with a goal at 15:38, but Derek Stepan made it a three-goal margin again with 41 seconds to go. Just nine seconds into a power play, Stepan put the rebound of a Mats Zuccarello miss in to make it 5-2. Neither team scored in the 3rd period.

J.T. Miller scored the first New York goal, just 3:04 into the goal, his 21st of the season. Lars Eller scored the other Montreal goal.

The Rangers penalty kill unit was 6-for-6.

Condon was replaced after giving up five goals in two periods. Ben Scrivens finished up in net for the Canadiens.

The Rangers [ 43-24-8, 94 pts] have only seven regular season games to go, and host the Pittsburgh Penguins Easter Sunday night at The Garden.

Stepan, Lundqvist Lead Rangers Over Bruins, 5-2

Derek Stepan had a goal and two assists, and Henrik Lundqvist made highlight reel save after save, as the Rangers beat the Boston Bruins, 5-2, Wednesday night at The Garden. Lundqvist made 39 saves, winning his 33rd game of the season.

The win was Lundqvist’s 372nd of his career, tying him with Andy Moog for 15th all-time.

The Bruins lost their fourth game in a row, for the first time this season.

In the 1st period, the Rangers’ power play unit had one of its best periods of the season, scoring twice. Mats Zuccarello scored a power play goal at 8:37, off a great pass from Keith Yandle, to make it 1-0.

Stepan made it 2-0 at 11:39 with a power play goal of his own, again off a pass from Yandle, to make it 2-0. The Bruins would pull Tuukka Rask after one period; Jonas Gustavsson played the rest of the way for Boston.

The lead was extended to 3-0 on a Derick Brassard goal at 5:26 of the 2nd period. It was Brassard’s team-leading 26th goal of the season.

The Bruins cut it to 3-1 later in the period. Former Ranger Lee Stempniak scored his 18th of the season at 9:34.

J.T. Miller added his 20th goal of the season 6:32 into the 3rd period to make it 4-1. After scoring only ten goals in 2014-15, jumping up to 20 is quite an accomplishment.

Boston’s Frank Vatrano cut it to 4-2 with 7:54 to play. But Rick Nash‘s empty net goal with 2:53 closed out the scoring and gave the Blueshirts the 5-2 win.

With just eight games to go in the regular season, the Rangers [now 42-24-8, 92 pts] play the Canadiens in Montreal Saturday night.



From the Comforts of Home, Rangers Rebound

Returning to the home ice of The Garden, following a disappointing West Coast road trip, the Rangers rebounded Monday night, beating the Florida Panthers, 4-2. Rick Nash scored his first goal since December 30th, and Henrik Lundqvist, after going 0-3-2 in his last five starts, made 25 saves for the victory.

After going 1-1-1 on their road trip, including a bad loss to San Jose Saturday, and with the Pittsburgh Penguins creeping up the standings, the Blueshirts needed a win Monday to keep 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division, and got it.

Viktor Stalberg put the Rangers on top 11:15 into the 1st period, finishing off a 2-on-1 with Dominic Moore and putting the puck past Al Montoya for his 9th goal of the season.

Zuccarello made it 2-0 in the 2nd period with a powerplay goal at 3:33. Zuccarello took a pass from Derick Brassard, spun, and put a wrist shot past Montoya.

The Panthers cut it to 2-1 early in the 3rd period when Vincent Trocheck scored his 23rd of the season at 6:51. Nash made it 3-1 at 11:14, taking a perfect pass from Kevin Klein and blasting a one-timer past Montoya.

Jiri Hudler made it 3-2 at 19:24, with Montoya pulled for an extra attacker. But 27 seconds later, Tanner Glass scored an empty-net goal with :09 to play for the final 4-2 margin.

With nine regular season games to go, the Rangers [now 41-24-8, 90 pts] host the Boston Bruins Wednesday night at The Garden.

Sharks, With 52 Shots on Goal, Batter Rangers 4-1

The Sharks scored three goals in a 3:20 span of the 3rd period, breaking open a 1-1 game and going on to beat the Rangers, 4-1, Saturday afternoon in San Jose. The Blueshirts finished their West Coast road trip with a 1-1-1 mark, and have now gone 2-4-2 in their last eight games.

Joel Ward scored twice for the Sharks, and Tomas Hertl added three assists.

The Sharks kept the pressure on the New York defense all day, battering the Rangers at nearly a one-shot-per-minute rate, and finished the game with 52 shots on goal, the most the Rangers have allowed this season. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist faced 47 shots in 51 minutes, leaving the game after allowing San Jose’s 4th goal.

After a scoreless 1st period, San Jose took a 1-0 lead at the 7:50 mark of the 2nd period on a power play goal from Ward. Dan Boyle tied the goal later in the period at 17:32, taking a pass from Derick Brassard and faking San Jose goalie Martin Jones before putting the puck into the net to make it a 1-1 game. Boyle, a former Shark, has now scored goals against all 30 NHL teams.

In the 3rd period, Joe Thornton put a rebound past Lundqvist at 5:45 to make it 2-1 San Jose. Ward then made it 3-1 at 7:34, taking a pass from Patrick Marleau and scoring, as the puck dribbled past Lundqvist for a goal. Joel Pavelski closed out the scoring, converting a give-and-go with Hertl and scoring his team-leading 33rd of the season at 9:05 to make it 4-1.

The Rangers [now 40-24-8, 88 pts] host the Florida Panthers Monday night at The Garden.

Rangers Squander 3-1 Lead, Fall to Kings in OT

If you had told me that the Rangers would have three points from the first two games of their current West Coast road trip, I would’ve been over the moon, especially in the wake of the back-to-back losses to Detroit and Pittsburgh last weekend.

But somehow, last night’s 4-3, overtime loss to the Kings in Los Angeles stings . The Blueshirts had a 3-1 lead with 17:14 to play in the 3rd period after Kevin Hayes‘ 12th goal of the season. But the Rangers could not hold the lead.

Kyle Clifford took a pass from Jeff Carter and scored at 4:46 of the 3rd period to make it a one-goal game, 3-2. And Anze Kopitar took it from there. With heavy traffic in front of Henrik Lundqvist, Kopitar masterfully redirected Marin Lucic‘s shot for a goal with 4:10 to play that tied the game, 3-3.

And in the overtime, Kopitar did it again. He won a face-off in the Rangers’ zone. Carter passed the puck to Jake Muzzin who fired a slapshot toward the net, and Kopitar redirected the puck past Lundqvist for the game-winner.

It was the Kings’ 11th overtime win of the season.

J.T. Miller and Dan Boyle scored the other goals for the Blueshirts.

The Rangers [now 40-23-8, 88 pts] finish off their road trip with a game against the Sharks Saturday afternoon in San Jose.

Klein Scores Two As West Coast Trip Begins With A Win

Kevin Klein scored two goals and Antti Raanta made 22 saves as the Rangers started a pivotal three-game Western road trip with a 2-1 win over the Ducks Wednesday night in Anaheim. The win broke a three-game losing streak for the Blueshirts. It was the first time in Klein’s 555 game NHL career that he has scored two goals in a game.

The Rangers moved two points ahead of the Islanders for second place in the Metropolitan Division.

Klein played a role in Anaheim’s only goal, too. The Kings jumped out to a 1-0 lead the 14:03 mark of the 1st period when Klein was stripped of the puck in the Rangers’ zone by Corey Perry. Perry passed to Jamie McGinn, who beat Raanta, scoring his 17th goal of the season.

In the 2nd, Tanner Glass‘ shot was stopped by Anaheim goalie John Gibson, but the rebound came out to a wide-open Klein; his wrist shot beat Gibson up high to tie the score 1-1 at 3:11 of the 2nd period.

In the 3rd period, the Blueshirts used some nice passing by the team’s #3 offensive line to take the lead. Kevin Hayes poked a loose puck against the boards up the ice. J.T. Miller, streaking across the blue line in the Anaheim zone, passed to Eric Staal, and Staal passed the puck toward the net, where it deflected off Hampus Lindholm‘s skate and then off Klein’s stick past Gibson for the go-ahead goal at 13:19.

Raanta and the Rangers held off the Ducks in the final minutes and hung on for the 2-1 win.

The Blueshirts did get a scare in the final seconds. Just before the final horn, Cam Fowler‘s slapshot hit Ryan McDonagh in the helmet or back of the neck, and the Rangers’ captain was face down on the ice for several moments after time expired. He did get up and skate off to the locker room.

Raanta is 9-5-2 on the season and has won 5 of his last 6 starts.

The Rangers [now 40-23-7, 87 pts] play the Kings in Los Angeles Thursday night. Henrik Lundqvist will start for the Blueshirts.


Lost Weekend: Rangers Fall to Penguins, 5-3

Conor Sheary scored two goals for the first time in his career, and Matt Cullen‘s goal midway through the 3rd period gave Pittsburgh the lead for good, as the Penguins beat the Rangers, 5-3, Sunday afternoon at The Garden.

The loss came less than 24 hours after the Blueshirts lost in Detroit Saturday afternoon. It is the first time the Rangers have lost back-to-back games since December 18th & 20th.

Midway through the 1st period, Patrick Hornqvist gave the Pens a 1-0 lead with a power play goal. After Henrik Lundqvist stopped a Sidney Crosby shot, Hornqvist got the rebound and his shot from behind the net deflected in off Lundqvist and into the net for a goal at 11:56.

Chris Kreider tied the game, 1-1, at 18:06 of the period, taking a pass from Derek Stepan and deflecting the puck in past Marc-Andre Fleury for his 16th goal of the season.

At 7:30 of the 2nd period, Sheary redirected a Justin Schultz shot for a goal and a 2-1 Pittsburgh lead. But the Rangers answered. 89 seconds later, Derick Brassard scored his team-leading 25th goal of the season to tie the game, 2-2. Six seconds into a power play, Brassard’s slapshot deflected in off Pittsburgh defender Olli Maatta.

Sheary scored his 2nd goal of the period at 15:55, getting behind the New York defense, streaking in on Lundqvist, and scoring on a wrist shot over Lundqvist’s shoulder.

The Blueshirts rallied early in the 3rd period, tying the game 3-3 on a scintillating wraparound goal buy captain Ryan McDonagh at 5:04. But Cullen scored what proved to be the game-winner at 11:09. From his knees, behind the net, Cullen’s shot deflected into the goal off Marc Staal‘s skates.

Crosby scored an empty net goal with 39 seconds to play for the final 5-3 margin.

The Penguins are now 29-0-0 in games where they led after two periods.

The Rangers [now 39-23-7, 85 pts] have lost 3 of their last 4, and 4 of 6. They head west for a three-game road trip: at Anaheim Wednesday, at the L.A. Kings Thursday, and at San Jose Saturday.

A Road Win Becomes an Overtime Loss for Rangers

Hockey is a game of inches. Saturday afternoon in Detroit, the Rangers were reminded of that, as a road win suddenly became an overtime loss.

Seconds after Ryan McDonagh‘s attempt at an empty net goal hit the post, the Red Wings rallied to tie the game with 32 seconds left in regulation, and then beat the Rangers in overtime, 3-2. Pavel Datsyuk‘s shot deflected off Darren Helm‘s stick and past Henrik Lundqvist for the game-winning goal 3:03 into the overtime. It was Helm’s 2nd goal of the game and 10th of the season.

Chris Kreider had a goal and an assist for the Blueshirts. Lundqvist, in his first game after missing three games with a neck injury, made 40 saves, second only to the 46 he made in a loss to the Flyers October 24th.

Late in the 3rd period, the Rangers were seconds away from a 2-1 win when McDonagh hit the post with 1:21 to play. Moments later, Viktor Stalberg missed just wide right with another long shot at the empty Detroit net with 1:08 to play.

Back in the Rangers’ end, former Blueshirt Brad Richards put the rebound of a Henrik Zetterberg shot past Lundqvist at 19:28 for a power play goal that tied the game, 2-2.

Derek Stepan gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with 49 seconds to go in the 1st period. Lundqvist and the New York defense made it hold up until Helm tied the game 1-1 4:29 into the 3rd period. Kreider’s goal at 15:33 set the stage for the late heroics by Richards and Helm.

With the one point for the overtime loss, the Blueshirts extended their lead over the Islanders for 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division, 85-82. The Islanders lost at Boston Saturday, 3-1.

The Rangers [now 39-22-7, 85 pts] host the Penguins Sunday afternoon at The Garden.