Rangers Blow 3rd Period Lead, Fall to Hurricanes, 4-3

Sebastian Aho scored a pair of 3rd period goals, as the Carolina Hurricanes came from behind to beat the Rangers, 4-3, Thursday night in Raleigh. The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Blueshirts, and a five-game road winning streak.

The Rangers protested Aho’s second goal, at 12:28 of the 3rd, saying that Antti Raanta was interfered with in the crease by Carolina’s Elias Lindholm. The play was reviewed but the goal stood, giving Carolina a 4-3 lead.

On a positive note, the once-dormant Rangers power-play unit, which hadn’t scored in ten games, awoke from its slumber and scored three power play goals Thursday. Chris Kreider scored one in the 1st period, and Mika Zibanejad scored two power play goals in the 2nd period, to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.

1st period goals by Jeff Skinner and Valentin Zykov gave Carolina a 2-1 lead after one period.

Midway through the 3rd, trailing 3-2, Aho scored a power play goal 9:04 into the 3rd to tie the game 3-3, with Nick Holden in the penalty box for tripping. Then, three minutes later, with Zibanejad in the box for a slashing penalty, Aho scored again, at 12:28, to give the Hurricanes the lead for good.

The Rangers were without six injured players, Henrik Lundqvist, Rick Nash, Michael Grabner, Jesper Fast, Dan Girardi, and Kevin Klein.

The Rangers [now 43-23-2, 88 pts] play the Red Wings in Detroit Sunday night.

Lundqvist, Nash Out Tonight vs Hurricanes

The Rangers are playing at Carolina tonight and the team says that Rick Nash [undisclosed upper body injury] and Henrik Lundqvist [undisclosed lower body injury] will not play tonight.

Antti Raanta will start in goal. Matt Puempel will play on the 3rd line with Jimmy Vesey and Kevin Hayes.

So the veritable All-Star team of Rangers out with injuries tonight:
Rick Nash
Michael Grabner
Jesper Fast
Kevin Klein
Dan Girardi
Henrik Lundqvist

Lundqvist Makes History in 5-2 Win Over Panthers

Henrik Lundqvist made 43 saves, and Tanner Glass had a goal and an assist, as the Rangers continued their strong play away from Madison Square Garden, beating the Panthers, 5-2, Tuesday night in Sunrise, FL.

The win was Lundqvist’s 404th career NHL win, moving him into 10th place in league history. The win was also his 30th of the season, a mark he has hit 11 times in his 12 seasons.

The Rangers have now won five straight road games and, at 24-8-0, have the best road record in the NHL.

Chris Kreider got the Rangers on the board 9:25 into the game, deflecting a Steve Kampfer shot in for his 25th goal of the season. Then Glass, in his second game since being recalled from Hartford, scored 13:00 into the 1st period to give the Blueshirts a 2-0 lead.

Kevin Hayes and Nick Holden scored 2nd period goals, and Pavel Buchnevich added an empty net goal with 1:45 to play for the final New York tally.

Thomas Vanek and Aaron Ekblad scored for the Panthers.

One sour note: the Rangers power play went 0-for-4, and is now 0-for-26 in the team’s past ten games [and 1-for-40 in the last 15 games].

The Rangers [now 43-22-2, 88 pts] continue their four-game road trip with a game against the Hurricanes Thursday night in Raleigh.

Zibanejad Goal in OT Beats Lightning, 1-0

Mika Zibanejad scored the game’s only goal 3:56 into overtime, and Antti Raanta made 38 saves for his 3rd shutout of the season, as the Rangers beat the Lightning 1-0 Monday night in Tampa.

It was the 3rd time in the last 12 days that Zibanejad has been a hero late in the game; on February 23rd his shootout goal beat Toronto, and on February 25th he scored the overtime winner against the Devils. Monday, late in the 3-on-3 overtime, he took a pass from Ryan McDonagh and swooped in a beat Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Tanner Glass, in his first game of the season after being called up from Hartford Sunday, inspired the Blueshirts to play a more physical game Monday. Glass did draw five-minute fighting penalty in the 1st period when he dropped the gloves with Luke Witkowski. 

The Rangers penalty kill unit was terrific, killing off all six Lightning power plays.

The Blueshirts have now gone five games without scoring more than two goals.

The Rangers [now 42-22-2, 86 pts] continue their four-game road swing Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers.


Rangers Lose 4th Straight Home Game

Four different Canadiens scored goals, and Carey Price was sharp, making 27 saves, as Montreal beat the Rangers, 4-1 Saturday night at The Garden. The Canadiens have won five straight, while the Rangers have lost 3 of their last 4 – but all three of those losses have been home games.

If the season ended today, the two teams would meet in the first round of the NHL playoffs.

The Blueshirts were without Dan Girardi, Kevin Klein, Michael Grabner and Jesper Fast, all out with injuries.

Shea Weber made it 1-0 Montreal at the 12:42 mark of the 1st period. The Canadiens won a faceoff and Shaw’s shot appeared to deflect off Adam Clendening and past Henrik Lundqvist for a goal.

Then, midway through the 2nd period, Artturi Lehkonen made it a 2-0 Canadiens lead after the Blueshirts had trouble clearing the puck out of their own zone.

Then, with 1:23 to play in the 2nd, Andrew Shaw scored Montreal’s 3rd goal. His initial shot deflected back to him; he grabbed it out of the air and then beat Lundqvist on a wraparound for the goal, his 10th of the season.

Chris Kreider cut the lead to 3-1 1:44 into the 3rd period, scoring his 24th of the season, but Jordie Benn, acquired from Dallas earlier in the week, scored his first goal as a Canadien, at 6:58, to make it 4-1. Benn’s shot – off another Montreal faceoff win, appeared to deflect in off Marc Staal.

Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk each had two assists for Montreal.

The Rangers [now 41-22-2, 84 pts] begin a four-game road swing Monday night in Tampa against the Lightning.

Lundqvist Celebrates Birthday With Win Over Bruins, 2-1

Henrik Lundqvist, celebrating his 35th birthday, stopped 32 of 33 shots he faced as the Rangers beat the Bruins, 2-1, Thursday night in Boston. The win was Lundqvist’s 403rd career NHL win, tying him with Grant Fuhr for 10th place on the all-time list.

The win also snapped a two-game losing streak for the Rangers.

Pavel Buchnevich continued his eventful, up-and-down week. He was sent down to AHL Hartford Tuesday, scored two goals there Wednesday – including the game-winner in OT, and then was called back up to the Rangers Thursday, due to an injury to Michael Grabner. Buchnevich would then score the Rangers’ first goal of the game in the 3rd period.

The game was scoreless after two periods, with the Rangers mustering only 11 shots on goal in the first 40 minutes of play. In the 3rd, Buchnevich blistered a slapshot past Tuukka Rask at 5:10 to make it 1-0 New York. Oscar Lindberg would make it 2-0 Rangers at 9:35 of the period, with an outstanding move past the defense. He lifted the puck over Rask for the goal.

Brad Marchand, with an amazing goal of his own, cut the lead to 2-1 at 12:56 with his 29th goal of the season. But Lundqvist and the New York defense stopped Boston the rest of the way.

Brendan Smith, acquired Tuesday from Detroit, played nearly 21 minutes in his first game for the Blueshirts.

The Rangers power play continued to struggle, going 0-for-4. It’s 0-for-19 in the last seven games.

The Rangers [now 41-21-2, 84 pts] host the Montreal Canadiens Saturday night at The Garden.