Apr 7 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Carl Hagelin (62) carries the puck during the second period against the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Rangers Schedule: New York Faces Ottawa Senators In First Round Of Playoffs

Follow this StoryStream for all New York Rangers game previews and recaps for the remainder of the 2012 NHL season.

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New York Rangers Face Difficult Decision With Rookie Chris Kreider

Rookie Chris Kreider might make the Rangers' lineup on Thursday when they kick off the postseason. Would it be the right move by the Blueshirts?

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2012 NHL Playoffs Schedule: Rangers Face Senators And The Rest Of The Eastern Conference Match-Ups

The 2012 NHL regular season concluded on Saturday, and the results finalized the first-round pairings and schedule for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In the Eastern Conference, the New York Rangers earned the top seed and will face the No. 8-seeded Ottawa Senators beginning on Thursday.

Over the course of the regular season, the Rangers went 1-3 against the Senators. Ottawa will feature goaltender Craig Anderson (2.84 goals against average and .914-save percentage) and top scorer Jason Spezza (34 goals, 50 assists, 84 points).


Related: Rangers, Devils, Islanders Local Hockey Awards

If New York is able to down Ottawa, it will move on to play the lowest remaining seed in the next round, while if the Senators earn a series victory, they will play the highest remaining seed.

Here's all at the schedule and TV coverage for this anticipated series:

Thursday, April 12 7 p.m. Ottawa at Rangers NHL Network, CBC
Saturday, April 14 7 p.m. Ottawa at Rangers NBC Sports Network, CBC
Monday, April 16 7:30 p.m. Rangers at Ottawa CBC, CNBC
Wednesday, April 18 7:30 p.m. Rangers at Ottawa CBC, CNBC
*Saturday, April 21 7 p.m. Ottawa at Rangers NBC Sports Network, CBC
*Monday, April 23 TBD Rangers at Ottawa TBD
*Thursday, April 26 TBD Ottawa at Rangers TBD

Here's how the rest of the Eastern Conference shapes out.

No. 2 Boston Bruins vs. No. 7 Washington Capitals: The Caps won the season-series 3-1.
No. 3 Florida Panthers vs. No. 6 New Jersey Devils: The regular-season series was split 2-2.
No. 4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 5 Philadelphia Flyers: This inter-state rivalry featured Flyers winning the season series 4-2

Here's what the Western Conference looks like:


For more on the Rangers, be sure to check out our blog Blueshirt Banter and SB New York for all the latest news and updates.

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Rangers Vs. Flyers Preview: Game Time, TV Schedule And More

Just one point away from clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, the New York Rangers visit the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET on MSG). A victory would help the Rangers (50-22-7, 107 points) cement their first No. 1 seed since 1993-94 and would cap an impressive, six-game series sweep of their Atlantic Division rival.

On Sunday, the Rangers magic number got smaller despite losing to the defending champions, the Boston Bruins, 2-1. That's because the second-place Pittsburgh Penguins were beaten by the Flyers (46-24-9, 101 points) in a rough-and-tumble, inter-state contest in Philly.

The Rangers now need one point to secure the East crown. New York is also trailing the Vancouver Canucks by one points for the NHL's President Cup Trophy, which is giving to the team with the best overall record.

The Flyers enter Monday's contest a bit short-handed -- a scenario they're used to by now -- as forward Danny Briere will be out with an upper-back contusion and defenseman Nicklas Grossmann will miss the final week of the regular season. It is still uncertain of starting goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov will return after missing the past three contests because of a bone chip in his foot.

For more on the Rangers, be sure to check out our blog Blueshirt Banter.

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Rangers Vs. Bruins Score: New York's Four-Game Winning Streak Ends With 2-1 Loss

The New York Rangers will have to wait at least two more days to clinch the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed. After the Pittsburgh Penguins lost earlier Sunday, the Rangers' magic number dropped to one. All they needed was a point. Instead they suffered a rare loss when taking a lead, falling 2-1 to the Boston Bruins at Madison Square
Garden.

Despite the loss -- one that halted the team's four-game winning streak -- New York played a solid game. It was a game reminiscent of one in the playoffs -- tight checking, goalies coming up with big saves and special teams providing an impact.

The Rangers went ahead 4:33 into the game when a Zdeno Chara shot deflected off of his own teammate, spurring a Marian Gaborik breakaway goal. It was the forward's 40th goal of the season, and he now has three of them in his career -- four with the Rangers. New York controlled the beginning half of the period, then couldn't muster a
shot in the final 9:25.

Boston tied the game four minutes into the second period on a blast from Dennis Seidenberg, which went past a screened Henrik Lundqvist. Patrice Bergeron would notch the would-be game-winning goal on the power play nearly eight minutes later. While the first goal went in because of traffic in front, this one was due to a lapse in the corner. Dan Girardi had the puck, but failed to release it out of the zone, Ryan McDonagh couldn't provide ample support once Tyler Seguin stole it from Girardi and Brian Boyle couldn't stick the puck away from Bergeron. All in all, a play you look at once and then throw the tape out because it was so ugly.

The Rangers entered the third period down in shots 18-15, but put on a full assault in the third period. Only, Boston's Tim Thomas was unbeatable and was ultimately the difference. New York had 19 shots to the Bruins three, and couldn't score on an early power play (they were 0-for-3 in the game).

It was one of those games that echoes coach John Tortorella's message -- the details of the game are the most important parts of the game, and it's an area the East-leading Rangers can always continue to perfect.

For more on the Rangers, be sure to check out our blog Blueshirt Banter.




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Rangers Vs. Bruins Preview: Game Time, TV Schedule And More

The New York Rangers could move one step closer to locking up the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs Sunday, as they play host to the defending champs, the Boston Bruins, at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network). The Rangers (50-21-7, 107 points) will also be searching for their fifth straight victory and a four-game season series sweep of the Bruins (46-28-4).

On Saturday, New York downed the Montreal Canadiens, 4-1, to move the magic number for an regular-season title to three games. Currently, the Rangers lead the second-place Pittsburgh Penguins by five games.

Meanwhile, the Bruins are 6-1-1 in their last eight games and are coming off a impressive 6-3 road victory over the New York Islanders. Boston can clinch the Northeast Division title if they match the Ottawa Senator's Sunday point total. The Senators play the Islanders earlier in the day.

For more on the Rangers, be sure to check out our blog Blueshirt Banter and SB Nation New York for all the latest news and updates.

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Rangers Vs. Jets Final Score: New York Picks Up 4-2 Win

Wednesday night, the New York Rangers visited the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre. The Rangers were looking to pad their lead as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and did just that with a 4-2 win.

Both teams scored two goals each in the second period. Winnipeg opened the scoring with shots by Spencer Machacek and Bryan Little that got past Henrik Lundqvist within a minute of each other. The Little goal at 4:54 of the second period would be the last for the Jets. The Rangers were able to even things up with a shorthanded goal by Michael Del Zotto at 7:44 and a power play goal by Ryan Callahan at 18:23 that was Callahan's 28th of the season.

In the third period, New York took the lead on a Brian Boyle goal at 3:07 and added the insurance at 10:06 on the 17th goal of the season for Derek Stepan, coming on a power play.

With the win, the Rangers now have 105 goals, far outpacing the 93 points of the Boston Bruins, who are in second place in the Eastern Conference.



For all news and information regarding the New York Rangers, please visit Blueshirt Banter. For updates and perspective on the Winnipeg Jets, head on over to Arctic Ice Hockey.

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Rangers Vs. Wild Final Score: New York Survives, 3-2

The New York Rangers took the lead twice over the Minnesota Wild Tuesday night, but both times the Wild responded, scoring on their only two power play opportunities of the game. But Minnesota had no answer for Ruslan Fedotenko's goal with under seven minutes to play, giving the Rangers a 3-2 win.

Brian Boyle scored off an assist by Brandon Dubinsky to put the Rangers up 1-0 midway through the first period. Kyle Brodziak tied the game again three minutes into the second, however. Marian Gaborik notched his 38th tally of the year eight minutes into the second, but four minutes later Mikko Koivu was there to tie the game again going into the final period.

Henrik Lundqvist faced 26 shots against and turned back 24. On the other end of the ice, Josh Harding made 29 saves on 32 shots faced. The Rangers remain on the road Wednesday, facing the Winnipeg Jets. New York then returns home Friday to close out the week against the Montreal Canadiens.



For all news and information regarding the New York Rangers, head over to Blueshirt Banter and SB Nation New York.

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Rangers Vs. Devils Fight: John Tortorella, Pete DeBoer Outspoken After Brawl, New York 4-2 Victory

The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils tensions for each other came to a boil Monday, as three seconds into the tri-state match-up at Madison Square Garden the gloves were dropped, fists flew and blood was spilled on the ice.

After the brawl finished, 50 minutes worth of penalties minutes were given out, however, issues didn't seem to be resolved between each teams as the Rangers' head coach John Tortorella and Devils' headman Pete DeBoer continued to exchange blows, but with their mouths, in the post-game.

"I guess in John's world you can come into our building and start your tough guys, but we can't do the same here," DeBoer told reporters. "He's either got short-term memory loss or he's a hypocrite."

"It's none of my business, I don't coach that team," Tortorella said of the Devils. "I do what I have to do with my team. I don't coach his team so it's none of my business."

The fight stemmed for a Dec. 20 meeting between the two Atlantic Division rivals, when Tortorella, who was the away coach and is required to set the game's starting lineup, started his fourth line of fighters. On Monday, DeBoer did the same.

Livid that DeBoer elected to start his fourth line of fighters, Tortorella was seen screaming and cursing toward the Devils bench before the puck dropped. And although Tortorella denied saying anything to DeBoer, DeBoer fired right back in a postgame press conference with reporters.

Here's the video of the Rangers, Devils fight from Monday night:

For all news and information regarding the New York Rangers, head over to Blueshirt Banter and SB Nation New York

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Devils 4, Rangers 1: 3-Goal Third Period Powers Devils Past Rangers

The New York Rangers played an uncharacteristically sloppy game, and the New Jersey Devils took full advantage Tuesday night at Prudential Center by routing the NHL's top team 4-1 thanks in large part to a 3-goal third period.

At the Rangers' morning skate prior to the game Tuesday, coach John Tortorella told the press that despite New York's record, he saw a lot of room for improvement in his club, saying they needed to work on "everything." Those words seem prophetic now, as a lack of defensive structure and puck discipline resulted in a very discouraging loss for the Rangers.

The first goal was a warning to the Blueshirts that this one could be a long one, as Ilya Kovalchuk pounced on a puck Marian Gaborik lost in the neutral zone, then proceeded to make a number of Rangers players look foolish. The last of which was Ryan McDonagh, who fell down on the play. Kovalchuk, 26 goals, was all over the ice, finishing with a game-high eight shots on goal while breaking his 10-game goalless streak.

About two minutes after the goal, Brandon Dubinsky fought Ryan Carter and left the game after injuring his hand. It was another sign of the Rangers being undisciplined; there was no need for Dubinsky to fight there, and now it may cost him down the line. (The team will update his status Wednesday.)

New York may have only trailed by two in shots (11-9), but it was lucky to go to the break only down one goal as the Devils thoroughly dominated the pace of the period.

The Rangers looked like a different team in the second period, as a run of slow starts followed up by kicking the effort up a notch in later periods continued. Carl Hagelin stole a puck from a Devils defender behind the night and passed it to Derek Stepan in point-blank range for a hight wrist shot on Martin Brodeur to tie the game. The Rangers finished the period outshooting New Jersey 14-7, and that was pretty indicative of the play. Brodeur had 25 saves.

However, the third period was an ugly one if you were a New York fan. David Clarkson scored his 26th goal when Petr Sykora's shot deflected off his leg. Ryan Carter then scored on the Devils' next shot via a Dan Girardi turnover to pretty much put the game out of reach just 4:21 into the period. Henrik Lundqvist finished the game with 23 saves.

The Rangers held the score at 3-1, and they had a chance to gain some momentum on a power play four minutes after the Devils' third goal. But the man advantage came up empty as New Jersey tightened up its defense (allowing only three shots all period) and Patrik Elias potted the empty-netter to put the nail in the Rangers' coffin.

The season series now sits 3-2 in favor of New Jersey, with the final game to be played at Madison Square Garden in mid-March. The win gave the Devils a 37-24-5 record and 79 points, 12 behind the Rangers, who have a 41-16-7 record on the year.



For more on the Devils, check out the SB Nation blog In Lou We Trust.

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Rangers 3, Hurricanes 2: Gaborik, Biron Carry New York

Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Marian Gaborik had a goal and an assist as the New York Rangers edged the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2, in NHL action Thursday night at RBC Center.

Artem Anisimov and Brandon Prust also scored for the Rangers, who won their third straight and improved to 12-3-2 over their last 17 games. Martin Biron stopped 21 of 23 shots in the win.

"[Biron] made some key saves at real important times of the game when we had some real struggles," Rangers head coach John Tortorella said. "It was one of his better games."

Jeff Skinner and Jay Harrison tallied, while Cam Ward made 22 saves but Carolina fell to 2-1-2 on a six-game homestand.

The Hurricanes started the second period on the power play after Brandon Dubinsky's unsportsmanlike conduct penalty within the final minute of the first carried over and they took advantage 58 seconds into the middle stanza on Skinner's slap shot from the high slot that snuck in between the pads of Biron.

But New York answered with a goal at the 8:21 mark of the second period when Gaborik raced down the left side of the ice before feeding a pass to the top of the left circle, where Anisimov snapped a shot into the top-right corner.

Then, with 5:07 left in the second, Derek Stepan took a shot from the right of the net that deflected into the air off the glove of Ward and was batted into the net by Gaborik after it landed behind the goaltender to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead.

Prust gave New York a two-goal cushion at the 1:57 mark of the third period when he finished off a 2-on-1 rush with Brian Boyle.

Carolina was given a four-minute power play with 5:53 remaining in the third period after a high sticking double minor to the Rangers' John Mitchell, but it failed to take advantage, even pulling Ward for the majority of the final two minutes for a 6-on-4 advantage.




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Rangers 2, Devils 0: Henrik Lundqvist Notches Eighth Shutout; Rangers Prevail In Defensive Showcase

If you're a hockey fan down to the core, then you enjoyed Monday night's game between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, one with 28 combined shots. If you're a Rangers fan disappointed with the squad not bringing in Columbus star Rick Nash, then this should be a reminder that they can win games because they're so fundamentally sound on defense and have a Vezina Trophy-worthy goaltender. The Devils got a taste of that in their 2-0 loss at Madison Square Garden, as Henrik Lundqvist made 15 saves for his eighth shutout of the year and the defense was smothering all night long.

Let's just set this straight: Neither team was particularly impressive on offense, and that was 100 percent due to the defensive-zone play of both sides, which limited both teams' ability to generate quality scoring chances.

What the Rangers did do, however, was take advantage of some soft coverage early on in the first, and they rode the lead throughout the game. Carl Hagelin's 11th of the year came on solid board play from Dan Girardi, who sent the puck down low to Ryan Callahan, who then freed himself for the tap pass to Hagelin at the side of the crease. The rookie quickly shot a bad-angle shot on Martin Brodeur, who was slow to cover the left post.

Callahan would pot the empty netter in the closing minute.

There obviously wasn't much offense in this one: the Rangers only finished with a 15 to 13 edge, but there was enough physicality (37 hits to 24), especially in the second period when their were two fights and 42 total penalty minutes.

Each team had their chances to find the back of the net, but there were none better than Ilya Kovalchuk's in the third period. Flying down the left flank he wristed a high-rising shot that Lundqvist snared with his glove.

New Jersey has hit a slight lull in its game, losing the past three games. The Rangers haven't played very well over the past two weeks, but this was a return to their defensive minded hockey. New York blanketed the Devils forwards all night, keeping their top dogs quiet throughout, and controlled the neutral zone for the most part. There were very few plus scoring chances, and probably no second-chance ones. New York has won two straight.




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Rangers Vs. Devils: New York Hosts New Jersey On Monday Night

The New York Rangers host the New Jersey Devils on Monday at Madison Square Garden at 7:30 p.m. (TV: NBC Sports Network).

The Rangers will be looking for their 100th all-time win in the series with the Devils. The series has been tight as of late with 11 of the past 15 meetings having been decided by two goals or less. The series stands at 99-83-27-6 in favor of New York. However, the Devils lead the series this season 2-1.

The Rangers lead the Eastern Conference entering the game. New York won their last game while the Devils are looking to avoid losing three in a row in regulation for the first time in nearly three months.

Martin Brodeur might be in net for the Devils although he hasn't appeared on consecutive days all season. Brodeur remains the best option between the pipes for New Jersey on the road. In his last 11 road games this season, Brodeur has gone 9-0-1 with a 1.84 GAA. Rangers winger Ryan Callahan is fresh off his 100th goal of his career and will be looking to get his 25th goal this season on Monday.

For more on the Rangers Vs. Devils, stay tuned to our Storystream. For more on the Rangers check out Blueshirt Banter. For more on the Devils, head to In Lou We Trust.

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Rangers Vs. Sabres: New York Looks To Get Back To Winning Brand Of Hockey

The New York Rangers have one more game to play to give the organization an idea of what it needs as the playoff run heats up. Saturday, the Rangers host the Buffalo Sabres (7:00 p.m. EST) in the the midst of one of their worst funks of the season.

The Rangers (38-15-6) have gone 1-2-1 over their last four games -- the first time all year they haven't won a game in regulation over a four-game spurt. Their only win was against the league-worst Columbus Blue Jackets in overtime. Other than that, New York has scored seven goals and allowed 13. New York likely will be open to adding a scorer, but that player should really be someone whom the Rangers don't have to part with the core and the farm for. Columbus' Rick Nash has been the name thrown around, but general manager Glen Sather is said to not be a fan of what he has to give up. We'll see in two days if Sather's stance changes or not.

The Sabres (27-27-7) have been one of the league's most disappointing teams, but they've played better lately and are now just five points out of a playoff spot. Buffalo has won three straight, and like New York will be playing the second of a back-to-back set. The main key for the Sabres has been the play of goaltender Ryan Miller (2.7- goals-against average, .910 save percentage), as the All-Star break seems to have refreshed him and gotten him back on track.

Buffalo is led by winger Jason Pominville, who has 23 goals and 59 points this season. Thomas Vanek has 22 goal and 46 points. Marian Gaborik leads the Rangers with 28 goals and 52 points.

The Rangers' objective needs to be to play a simpler game, focusing on making the simple passes and executing their forechecking/cycling game plan. They were sloppy in their shootout loss to the Islanders and were taken advantage of because of it.


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Rangers Vs. Penguins Final Score: New York Blanked 2-0 In Pittsburgh

The New York Rangers had no answer for Marc-Andre Fleury Tuesday night. The Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender tied a franchise record with his 22nd career shutout win, stopping 27 shots on goal. Evgeni Malkin added a goal and an assist, leading the the Pens to a 2-0 victory at CONSOL Energy Center.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 29 shots, but couldn't quite match Fleury's brilliance. He had little chance when Malkin broke loose early in the second period. Malkin's backhand was his NHL-leading 33rd goal of the season. Steve Sullivan notched the Pens' second tally during a power play on a long slapshot with just over nine minutes left in the second.

New York lost for the second time in three games after having fallen 4-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks two days before beating the Columbus Blue Jackets last Sunday. They will look to rebound during Friday's showdown against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden.



For more on the Rangers check out Blueshirt Banter. Stay tuned to our StoryStream for everything New York.

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Rangers vs. Blue Jackets Final Score: New York Rebounds From Blown Late, Wins In Overtime

After falling at home Thursday, the New York Rangers desperately wanted to avoid its first losing streak since December.

A blown 2-1 lead late in regulation was the last thing the Rangers wanted to see, though Derek Stepan reversed their fortunes with the game-winning goal in New York's (38-14-5, 81 pts) 3-2 overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets (17-35-7, 41 pts) Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.

After Michael Del Zotto faked a shot and fired a backdoor pass to Stepan, the 21-year-old center fired the puck past Columbus goaltender Steve Mason for the game-winner 22 seconds into overtime. Mason stopped 32 shots on the night, while New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist saved 21.

Rick Nash, Columbus' captain and a potential trade target for New York, tied the game up at 2-2 with 1:33 remaining in regulation. Nash's goal prompted chants of "We don't want you" from the Garden crowd.

The Rangers struck first when Brad Richards scored in the first period. The Blue Jackets' Derick Brassard tied the game in the second before Artem Anisimov snapped the tie shortly thereafter.


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Rangers Vs. Blackhawks Final Score: New York Falls To Chicago, 4-2

The Chicago Blackhawks tallied four first-period goals and never looked back in downing the New York Rangers 4-2 in the inter-conference contest Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers (37-14-5, 79 points) had their four-game winning streak end, while the Blackhawks (30-21-7, 69 points) snapped a nine-game skid.

Jonathan Toews scored the game's first goal on a penalty shot against New York backup goaltender Martin Biron, who allowed three more in the period. The Eastern Conference-leading Rangers' early hole was just too much to overcome, as Marc Staal tallied a goal in the second period, while Carl Hagelin added another in the third, but it was a little too late for the Blueshirts.

Overall, the Rangers outshot the Blackhawks, 26-23, but finished 0-for-7 on power-play.

On Sunday, the Rangers host the Columbus Blue Jackets (8 p.m. ET).

For more on the Rangers check out Blueshirt Banter. Stay tuned to SB Nation New York StoryStream for everything on New York.


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Devils Vs. Rangers Final Score: Martin Brodeur Pitches Shutout In Win

The New Jersey Devils won their fifth straight Tuesday night, taking down the New York Rangers 1-0 thanks to a David Clarkson power play goal in the first quarter. Martin Brodeur earned first star honors on the night, however, turning back all 30 Rangers shot attempts for his first shutout of the season.

The Rangers thought they scored the game-tying goal with just 3.5 seconds left in regulation. Yet, the goal was disallowed when Marian Gaborik was whistled for goaltender interference after crashing into Brodeur in the crease. The play was the last of a third-quarter offensive onslaught by the Rangers. New York out-shot New Jersey 15-1 in the period. Rookie Carl Hagelin had a great opportunity to score on a wrister early in the third, but Brodeur was on top of his game all night.

The Devils had just 22 shots on goal for the night, compared to 30 for the Rangers. New York also held a 26-17 advantage on faceoffs. However, the Devils got the win, their second over the Rangers in the past week.

For more on the Devils, head over to the SB Nation blog In Lou We Trust. For more on the Rangers check out Blueshirt Banter. Stay tuned to SB Nation New York for more updates on both teams.

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Rangers-Sabres Final Score: Blueshirts Win 1-0 In Second Straight Shootout

Another day, another shootout for the New York Rangers. The Blueshirts headed upstate Wednesday night to Buffalo to take on the Sabres a day removed from their 4-3 shootout loss to the Devils. Ryan Callahan scored in overtime to give the Rangers a 1-0 win.

Henrick Lundqvist was brilliant in net. He turned away 34 shot through three periods and an extra frame, before stopping four of five in the shootout. Lundqvist is now 22-10 on the season.

Ryan Miller wasn't too shabby for Buffalo, turning away shots himself, stopping all 29 shots that came his way before surrendering the deciding goal in the shootout.

Both goalies were credited with a shutout.

Callahan hit an open left side of the net, catching Miller as he bit on a fake to the right.

The game paused when referee Kelly Sutherland caught a deflection to his face off a shot from Jordan Leopold. Bloodless, Sutherland was struggling as he made his way off the ice.

The win gives the Rangers 69 points and a 32-12-5 record. They lead the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference. They host the Flyers on Sunday.

-- For more Rangers coverage, visit Blueshirt Banter. For complete NHL coverage, check out SB Nation's NHL hub.

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Devils 4, Rangers 3 (SO): David Clarkson, Ilya Kovalchuk 'Bounce' Blueshirts In Shootout

The New Jersey Devils were on the brink of dropping their fourth straight game when an innocent dump-in went their way. With 47.6 seconds left against the visiting New York Rangers, Andy Greene's dump-in off the back boards took a fortuitous carom straight to David Clarkson at the front of the net, who tied the game at 3-3, and the Devils ultimately prevailed in a shootout, 4-3. New Jersey has a remarkable (and league-leading) nine shootout victories on the season.

It's a bitter way for the Rangers to end a game -- the first for both teams since the All-Star break -- as they played extremely well with all the circumstances of not having played in six days, despite blowing three leads in the game. It was one game, but New Jersey showed it has the resiliency to continue to bounce back against what is still the Eastern Conference's top team -- with 67 points -- by one point. The Devils' win moves them to seventh place, one point ahead of Toronto.

The first period was actually unexpectedly quiet. Typically, one thinks of the divisional rival games as uptempo and full of energy. But the first was the total opposite. Both teams were strong defensively, limiting the opposition to very few second-chance opportunities. Anton Stralman, who played a very strong game defensively and offensively, was rewarded at 19:27 with his second goal of the year off a rebound from a Marian Gaborik shot.

New Jersey answered back about midway through the second period, however, when Zach Parise picked up his own rebound a roofed a shot over Martin Biron on his short side for a truly brilliant goal. For the second game in a row between these two teams, they'd go into the third period tied, 1-1.

Brian Boyle notched his fourth of the year after a Stu Bickel rebound rolled to him. He collected it and waited patiently as Martin Brodeur laid sprawled out on the ice trying to block any sort of angle for a shot. Ilya Kovalchuk, who was all over the ice in this one, notched an easy goal on a power-play rush point-blank blast after Ryan Callahan's offensive-zone giveaway.Thirty-six seconds later Michael Del Zotto answered right back, as Marian Gaborik fluttered a cross-ice back-hand pass to Del Zotto in the offensive zone. The jubilation would be short-lived with the lead lasting 3 minutes, 11 seconds after the crazy ricochet to Clarkson.

Kovalchuk was the only one to score in the shootout. Brodeur made 23 saves for his 15th win of the year, while Biron lost only his third game, making 26 saves.

New Jersey will get a day break before hosting the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, while New York travels to Buffalo for a clash on Wednesday.




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New York Rangers Vs. Montreal Canadiens Preview

Less than 24 hours after blanking the Toronto Maple Leafs the New York Rangers will end their weekend Canadian road trip Sunday night when they visit the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Center (7 p.m. on NBC Sports Network). The first-place Rangers (28-10-4, 60 points) are looking to earn their sixth victory in seven tries, and 11 of 13, while the Canadiens (16-20-8, 40 points) trying to maintain a five-game home winning streak against New York.

On Saturday, backup goaltender Martin Biron made 20 saves to help New York shutout the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-0. The victory helped the Rangers bounce back from a 3-0 loss Thursday to visiting Ottawa Senators. Before that, New York had rallied off five straight to help earn the best record in the NHL.

New York's No. 1 goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is expected to be in net Sunday.

Meanwhile, Montreal has lost three of the last 10 games, including four straight. Possibily making his debut Sunday will be Rene Bourque, who was acquired Thursday in a trade that sent Michael Cammalleri back to Calgary.

For more on Rangers hockey, check out the SB Nation blog Blueshirt Banter.

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