1 Total Update since March 26, 2011
about 2 years ago Update 0 comments
The New York Rangers scored an early goal in the first period and despite roaring pressure from the Boston Bruins in the third period, they were able to hang on for the 1-0 victory. Henrik Lundqvist tallied his league leading (and career high) 11th shutout of the season and was brilliant in net, setting aside 26 Boston shots, 12 of which came in the third period.
Stemming from a missed offisides call on Marian Gaborik in the first period, the Rangers took a shot that Tuuka Rask held onto for the in-zone faceoff. Derek Stepan won the ensuing faceoff cleanly back to Michael Sauer who ripped a wrist shot toward the net, that the 20-year-old rookie deflected past Rask. It was Stepan's 20th goal of the season and he became the youngest 20-goal scorer for the Rangers since Alexei Kovalev in 1993-94, according to the New York Daily News' Jesse Spector.
Unlike the previous two one-goal games, the Rangers played playoff-type hockey Saturday afternoon -- using their shutdown defense (for the most part) to transition to their offense. The Bruins were unable to muster any offensive chances in the first two periods. The Rangers would only score one goal, but the life that was lacking against the Panthers and Senators was back.
The Rangers controlled most of the game and had a 13-6 shot advantage in the second period, but the third period was an entirely different story. New York had one shot on goal and leaned entirely on blocking shots -- 29 in the game -- and Lundqvist to secure the victory. Not enough can be said for stalwart goaltender's performance in the last frame. His play throughout the season -- and especially lately -- has vaulted him into the Vezina Trophy discussion.
As of now, the Rangers are tied with Montreal for sixth place in the East. However, the Canadiens play the Capitals tonight and a win would keep the playoff picture the same as it was before today's games. New York has 87 points on the year -- seven points ahead of ninth-place Carolina and will take part in another key playoff-picture battle with the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday.
about 2 years ago Update 0 comments
The New York Rangers probably took part in one of their more lackluster performances of the season against the East's worst team, the Ottawa Senators, on Thursday and they still earned a point -- the sixth consecutive game they've been able to do so.
During Saturday's 1 p.m. EST matinee with the Boston Bruins, the Rangers will be afforded no such luxuries and will have to come out with a playoff mentaiity to compete against a team with a 41-22-10 record.
Based purely on wins and losses, the Bruins are playing their worst hockey this month, with "only" five wins, however they've only lost three games in regulation -- plus three in overtime -- this month. Because of stud goaltending from Tim Thomas (31 wins on the year, 2.02 GAA, .938 SV%) and goal scoring from all over the roster (11 players have more than 10 goals), Boston is never out of any game. They have the best goal differential (plus-48) in the East as a result, while the Rangers are tied for the second best (plus-36). This game should be a dandy, so long as New York stays disciplined and their high energy staple of the 2010-2011 season returns.
The Rangers are in striking distance from surpassing sixth-place Montreal -- which has the same amount of games played and is just two points ahead -- but is also vulnerable to falling into eighth place as they are only two points ahead of Buffalo, which has a game in hand. Thus, this is a playoff-type game, on the road, that the Rangers can make a statement in. With the second most road wins in the conference, this would seem to be an opportunity the Rangers can seize.
No word yet on who will be scratched; Steven Eminger has been solid on defense since being re-inserted into the lineup so he will probably be back in again ... but there's a possibility a forward (Mats Zuccarello, Wojtek Wolski or Erik Christensen) other than Sean Avery gets scratched.