Stepan To Play Saturday

Derek Stepan will make his season-debut for the Rangers Saturday night when the Blueshirts [6-4-2, 14 pts] take on the Maple Leafs [6-5-2, 14 pts] in Toronto. Stephan broke a bone in his left leg in training camp September 24th and has missed the team’s first 12 games.

In other injury news, Dan Boyle skated in Friday morning’s practice; Boyle broke his hand in the season opener October 9th at St.Louis.

The Rangers have gotten at least one point in seven of their last eight games, going 5-1-2 in that stretch.


Brassard Goal Lifts Rangers to OT Win

After losing two straight games in shootouts, the Rangers seemed determined not to let that happen for a third straight game. Derick Brassard scored a power-play goal, 1:50 into overtime, lifting the Rangers to a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings, in a seesaw affair at The Garden Wednesday night.

The Blueshirts were on the verge of winning in regulation, but Tomas Tatar put the puck just past Henrik Lundqvist’s left glove, to tie the score at three with :08 left.

Rick Nash opened the scoring for the Rangers, at the 13:24 mark of the first period, deflecting a shot in off his backside, giving New York a 1-0 lead. The power-play goal was Nash’s 10th goal of the season. He has scored in eight of the team’s 12 games this season.

Lundqvist came up huge in the second period, stopping Gustav Nyqvist‘s penalty shot, to keep the game at 1-0.

With the scored tied at two in the third period, Lee Stempniak gave the Blueshirts a 3-2 lead with 7:50 to play. It looked like the Rangers would win in regulation until Tatar’s last-second goal.

In an encouraging sign, after scoring only two power-play goals in their first 10 games, the Rangers have scored three in their past two.

The Rangers, who are 5-1-2 in the last eight games, will be in Toronto to the play the Maple Leafs Saturday night.


Zuccarello, Klein Back In Lineup Tonight

Forward Mats Zuccarello and defenseman Kevin Klein will be back on the ice tonight when the Rangers and Red Wings face off at The Garden. Both players missed Monday’s loss to St. Louis. Zuccarello missed the game with an undisclosed illness, while Klein injured his foot last Saturday night against Winnipeg, missing the rest of that game and Monday’s.

In other moves, Dylan McIlrath was sent back to Hartford of the AHL; McIlrath, considered one of the top prospects in the Rangers organization, made quite an impression Monday night, on the scoresheet at least. He picked up nine minutes of penalties, including a memorable fight with St. Louis’ Ryan Reaves.

One interesting numerical note: Rangers coach Alain Vigneault will coach his 900th career game tonight



Rangers Fall to Blues in Shootout

For two periods at The Garden Monday night, neither the Rangers nor the Blues could generate much. Passes that were just off the mark. Good shots that went just wide. A few frustrating missed chances. Then, in the 3rd period, both teams picked up the the pace, and the intensity, and it turned into a helluva night of hockey. The game would need overtime – and then a shootout – to decide. Vladimir Tarashenko of the Blues scored the winning goal in that shootout, giving the Blues a 4-3 win over the Rangers.

Martin St. Louis had two goals for the Blueshirts, both in the crazy 3rd period. His first goal, on a great pass from Carl Hagelin, tied the game at 2-all with 13:32 to play. St. Louis scored again six minutes later, with 6:43 to go, giving New York a short-lived 3-2 lead.

Jay Bouwmeester scored 76 seconds later for the Blues, to tie the game at 3. The ensuing overtime was scoreless, sending the game to a shootout. In the shootout, Lee Stempniak was the only Ranger to score [St. Louis and Rick Nash missed], while Alexander Steen and Tarashenko scored shootout goal for the Blues.

Tarashenko, with a goal in the 2nd period, an assist on the Bouwmeester goal, and the game-winning goal in the shootout, was named the game’s Number One Star.

Cam Talbot got the start in goal for the Rangers, and looked fresh. He made 31 saves on the night, but took the loss. He is 0-2 for the season.

The Rangers are back in action Wednesday night when they host the Red Wings.


Talbot To Start Tonight vs Blues

Cam Talbot gets the start between the pipes tonight at The Garden as the Rangers (5-4-1) take the ice against the St. Louis Blues (6-3-1).

Just in front of Talbot will be a pair Rangers making their 2014-15 debuts, thanks to two injuries suffered Saturday night against the Jets. Captain Ryan McDonagh separated his shoulder and may miss three to four weeks of action. Kevin Klein suffered a bruise to his foot and will sit tonight. They’ll be replaced by Conor Allen and Dylan McIlrath, who were called up from Hartford of the AHL yesterday and will be wearing the Rangers jersey for the first time this season tonight.

It has been hard for head coach Alain Vigneault to send out six healthy defenseman lately; Dan Boyle is still out with a broken hand suffered on Opening Night against St. Louis, and John Moore is serving a five-game suspension. Matt Hunwick and Michael Kostka have been replacing them.

It’ll be Talbot’s first start since a loss October 11th at Columbus.



Rangers Fall to Jets; Two Defensemen Injured

The New York Rangers lost in a shootout Saturday night at The Garden, to the Winnipeg Jets. Evander Kane scored in the fourth round of the shootout to give the Jets a 1-0 win. The Jets improved to 5-5-1, while the Blueshirts fell to 5-4-1.

But the more depressing news from Saturday was that two Rangers defensemen left the game in the first period with injuries, depleting an already shorthanded unit. Ryan McDonagh sustained a separated left shoulder at 11:46 of the first period when he was driven hard into the boards by Kane. Kevin Klein left at 3:12 of the first with a foot bruise after blocking a shot.

With Dan Boyle still out with a broken hand, and John Moore serving the first game of a five-game suspension, that left the Rangers with only four healthy defensemen for the remainder of the game. And leaves them with lineup questions going into their next game, against St. Louis at The Garden Monday night.

Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec was named the game’s Number One star and with good reason; he stopped all 38 shots he faced. Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers played well, stopping 25 shots.

In the overtime, Pavelec gave up a goal to Mats Zuccarello, but stopped Rick Nash, Dominic Moore and Martin St. Louis. Lundqvist allowed a goal to Blake Wheeler, but made saves on shots by Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little, before giving up the game-winner to Kane.

In the continuation of a bad trend, New York went 0-for-5 on the power play, and are now 2-for-28 this season.

Rangers Back On The Ice Tonight

A well-rested Rangers team is back in action tonight, for the first time since their stirring comeback win over Minnesota Monday night. The Blueshirts will host the Winnipeg Jets at The Garden [7pm ET on MSG].

The Rangers (5-4-0) have won 4 of their last 5 games. The Jets are 4-5-1, and tonight’s game is part of a four-game road trip for Winnipeg, much of it spent in the tri-state area; they beat the Islanders in Uniondale, LI Tuesday, but lost to the Devils in a shootout in Newark Thursday. After tonight’s game in NYC, they’ll play the Blackhawks in Chicago  tomorrow before heading home to Winnipeg.

With defenseman John Moore serving a five-game suspension, Michael Kostka will be in the lineup; with Moore out and Dan Boyle still recovering from a broken hand, New York only has six healthy defensemen on the roster.

Hopefully the long layoff hasn’t cooled off Rick Nash. Nash has nine goal in nine games, 2nd in the NHL behind Anaheim’s Corey Perry, who has ten goals.



Moore Suspended Five Games

The Rangers are going to have to do a little lineup shuffling on defense yet again. On Wednesday John Moore was suspended by the league for five games, for his hit on Minnesota’s Erick Haula during Monday’s win over the Wild. Moore was given a match penalty and tossed from the game after he elbowed Haula 7:12 into the 2nd period. Haula missed the rest of the game and did not play in Minnesota’s game Tuesday.

Moore may have gotten the five games because he has been suspended before. He was given a two-game suspension during last spring’s Eastern Conference Finals against Montreal, for a hit on Dale Wiese of the Canadiens.

The Rangers are already thin on defense; Dan Boyle broke his hand October 9th, in the team’s opening night win over St. Louis.

The Blueshirts are back on the ice Saturday night, when they host Winnipeg.

Furious Comeback Gives Rangers 5-4 Win

I know we’re only nine games into the 2014-15 season, but it’s hard to imagine the Rangers having a better period than the 3rd period last night at home against Minnesota.

Down 3-0 at the start of the period, the Blueshirts staged a furious comeback, rallying for a 5-4 win against the Wild at The Garden. Mats Zuccarello scored the game-winner, his first goal of the season, with 3:11 to play.

The first two periods were rough for New York. They were outshot 24-8, and goals from Nate Prosser, Matt Cooke, and Jason Pominville gave Minnesota a three-goal advantage. It didn’t look like the night would end well.

But Kevin Klein got the Rangers on the board 2:52 into the 3rd period on a snapshot from the blue line. New York closed it to 3-2 about two minutes later on Rick Nash‘s 9th goal of the season.

The Wild slowed the Rangers’ rally down 5:35 into the period when Jason Zucker scored to make it 4-2 Wild. Brassard made it 4-3 with his 4th goal of the season, with 12:06 to play.

Eight tense minutes went by, with the deficit stuck at one. Then 19-year-old Anthony Duclair notched the 1st goal of his NHL career, streaking down the ice and scoring with 3:48 to play, evening the score at 4-all. And 37 seconds later, Zuccarello scored the game-winner.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 26 shots in the win, and is now 5-3-0 on the season.

Two Rangers were tossed from Monday’s game; Chris Kreider received a major penalty for boarding defenseman Jonas Brodin late in the first period and a game misconduct. John Moore was ejected midway through the second for a blatant hit to the head of forward Erik Haula that resulted in a match penalty.

The Rangers are back in action Saturday night against Winnipeg.




Win Streak Snapped at 3 as Rangers Lose to Habs

Going into last night’s game against the Canadiens in Montreal, it was understandable to think that the Rangers had their work cut out for them. The Habs had the best record in the Eastern Conference at 6-1-0. The Canadiens were playing at home at the Bell Centre, where they were 3-0 for the season. The Blueshirts were facing Montreal for the first time since beating them in last spring’s Eastern Conference Finals. And Montreal’s goaltender Carey Price was healthy again and playing well.

It all proved to be too much, as Price stopped 34 shots and Montreal beat the Rangers, 3-1.

Before Saturday’s game, fans observed a moment of silence to honor Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, two Canadian soldiers who were killed in separate attacks this week in Ottawa and Quebec.

The Rangers gave up a shorthanded goal to Tomas Plekanec midway through the 1st period, to trail 1-0. Carl Hagelin then evened the score with about three minutes to go in the period, on a rebound off a Dan Girardi shot.

Lars Eller broke a tie midway through the second period, to give Montreal a 2-1 lead, and Max Pacioretty added a goal in the third to seal the win.

The Rangers are 4-4-0 on the season; 2-2-0 at home and 2-2-0 on the road. They start a four-game home stand Monday night against Minnesota.