Friday, February 3, 2012

Rangers Trade Erik Christensen To Minnesota Wild

The New York Rangers have traded center Erik Christensen and a conditional 2013 7th round draft pick to the Minnesota Wild for center Casey Wellman.  Christensen had one goal and four assists in 20 games for the Rangers this season, but he has not seen an NHL game since Dec. 17.  During a two week conditioning assignment last month Christensen had two goals and one assist for the Connecticut Whale.

Wellman, 25, has been up and down with the Wild for parts of the last three seasons recording four goals and nine assists at the NHL level.  However, Wellman has been very effective at the AHL level scoring 14 goals and 12 assists in 26 games this season.  The Whale have been in desperate need of help after a winless January and this will provide them some while removing Christensen from the NHL roster.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gaborik Hat-trick Earns All-Star MVP In Team Chara Win

Marian Gaborik scored three times and added an assist to earn MVP honors in the 2012 All-Star Game.  Gaborik continues to erase any memories of last season's struggles and take his place amongst the elite snipers in the NHL.  The fun party for Rangers fan today was that Gaborik went head-to-head with teammate Henrik Lundqvist.

After chirping all weekend with Lundqvist, Gaborik had the last laugh scoring two on Lundqvist during the first period.  Following his first goal of the game Gaborik brought back Artem Anisimov's rifle celebration at Lundqvist.  Coach John Tortorella said Gaborik will be fined $1,000 for the celebration, but for bragging rights alone, Gaborik will pay it with a smile.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rangers' Hagelin Named All-Star Rookie Replacement

According to Josh Rimer, Rangers rookie Carl Hagelin has been added to the Rookies in the 2012 NHL All-Star weekend as an injury replacement.  No official announcement on who he is replacing, but Devils' defenseman Adam Larsson appears to be the player.

Tremendous work by Hagelin to play his way into this opportunity. Hagelin has eight goals and eight assists in 29 games for the Rangers this season, but the numbers do not reflect the full impact he has had on the roster.  His speed has added a different dimension to the Rangers roster and expect Hagelin to be showcasing it in the fastest skater competition, which he should win.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lundqvist To Start As Biron Out With Flu; Chad Johnson Recalled From Whale

Earlier this morning, Steve Zipay at Newsday reported that Martin Biron would get the start against the Winnipeg Jets tonight, but now Biron is out with the flu and Henrik Lundqvist will get the nod.  According to Katie Strang of ESPN New York the Rangers recalled Chad Johnson from the Whale to serve as the backup tonight.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gaborik Scores Twice In Rangers 3-2 OT Win Over Bruins

The matchup of the best two teams in the Eastern Conference lived up to the hype as the New York Rangers game against the Boston Bruins had everything you could ask for in a regular season game.  The first matchup between the two teams went to overtime with the New York Rangers winning 3-2 over the Boston Bruins on a Marian Gaborik power-play goal with 3.6 seconds left in the overtime period.  Tukka Rask made two great saves in Ryan Callahan and Brad Richards before Gaborik netted the game-winner, his second goal of the game, 25th goal of the season, to give the Rangers the extra point and maintain their lead in the Eastern Conference standings.  

The Rangers were on the power-play after Andrew Ference was assessed a five-minute major for charging when he ran Ryan McDonagh into the boards behind New York’s net 1:50 into the extra session.  McDonagh laid prone on the ice for several minutes before finally skating off the ice on his own and into the locker room.  Ference will likely face discipline from Brendan Shanahan in the coming days.

New York gets another win in the final seconds, but once again they are never in that position without stellar play from Henrik Lundqvist.  Lundqvist made 32 saves, including multiple of the highlight variety, to allow the team to stay in there when the Rangers were being outplayed.

Ryan Callahan got the Rangers on the board early in the second period when coming out of the box Brandon Prust found Callahan and he beat Rask far post 1:31 in.  The lead did not last long as Andrew Ference tied the game at 3:28 of the second off a beautiful cross-ice feed from David Krejci that left Lundqvist defenseless.

Marian Gaborik scored his first of the game, first in seven games, late in the second when he jumped on a loose puck and fired it past Rask for a 2-1 lead.  Carl Hagelin attempted a shot, but it was blocked by Dennis Seidenberg, dropping down to Gaborik’s feet and there was no hesitation to let the shot go.

The Rangers seemed poised to head into the final period with the one goal lead, but Adam McQuaid had other ideas when he tied the game with 49 seconds left in the second.  McQuaid fired from the right faceoff circle having the puck deflect off Brian Boyle’s stick and over the shoulder of Lundqvist.
  • Great to see the Rangers bigger offensive players carry the load in a big game with Gaborik, Callahan and Richards being in on the winning goal.
  • Ryan Callahan played his best game in some time being impactful all over the ice and adding some offense back in.
  • Gaborik going to the front of the net is always the key to offense and today he got back to doing that more than he has in the past few weeks resulting in both his goals.
  • McDonagh was phenomenal all game and hopefully his injury is not too severe.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rangers Inconsistency Continues In 4-1 Loss To Penguins

For much of the first half of the season the New York Rangers found ways to win games even when they did not play their best hockey for a 60 minute game.  Those results are not coming right now as the Penguins came into Madison Square Garden Thursday night and handed the Blueshirts their third loss in five games by a score of 4-1.  Evgeni Malkin led the way with two more goals to push his league leading point total to 54. 
Most surprising about the outcome of the game is the Rangers after struggling for much of the first period where they fell behind early on a Chris Kunitz goal, they dominated the second with Carl Hagelin netting the tying goal to send it to the final period even at 1-1.  The Rangers have dominated the final stanza much of the last two seasons, but tonight it was the Penguins beating the Rangers at their own game with three goals in the final 20 minutes to take the two points in the standings. 
Entering the third tied 1-1 the Penguins took the early advantage just 2:23 into the period when Richard Park scored the eventual game-winner.  The Rangers had all three forwards below the goal line, but Marc Staal still tried to pinch along the wall, leading to the Penguins breaking out for a 3-on-1 odd-man rush with Cooke, Engelland and Park leaving Lundqvist exposed.
Staal’s struggles in the third period continued when Evgeni Malkin took advantage of his turnover to stretch the Pens advantage to two.  Staal misplayed the puck along the wall by stepping out in front, walking around a sliding Michael Del Zotto and roofing a beautiful backhander under the bar to beat Lundqvist.  Malkin added the empty-netter with 1:40 left to give him 24 goals on the season and the Penguins the final 4-1 margin.
Hagelin’s goal in the second showed what the combination of speed between him and Marian Gaborik can provide the Rangers, if they stay together.  Ryan McDonagh fed the puck to Gaborik up the ice, where Gaborik flipped an area pass in front of the speedy Hagelin to skate into.  Hagelin collected the puck and fired on Marc-Andre Fleury watching the puck trickle through Fleury’s five-hole and over the goal line for the tie.
  • Bickel's fight in the first woke the team up, but this team has to be better early in games and it should not take him dropping the gloves to spark them.
  • Staal is clearly still a work in progress as he varies from showing signs of his former self and being a player who missed half the year and is looking for his game. Playing 24:58 tonight is certainly a step in the right direction for his conditioning, but he is still off in reading the play at times.
  • Hagelin is doing everything that the team can ask from him and then some.
  • Richards, Callahan, Gaborik and Dubinsky need to step up and lead this team offensively right now by putting some pucks in the back of the net.  Supporting players have been doing much of the work when the team actually scores.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lundqvist Blanks Predators As Rangers Win 3-0

The New York Rangers continued their ability to put the rare bad performance behind them and take it out on their next opponent.  Following a 4-1 defeat Sunday in Montreal the Rangers got back to basics with their forechecking and defensive style en route to a 3-0 win over the Nashville Predators.

Henrik Lundqvist led the way with 27 saves for his fourth shutout of the season and 39th of his career.  The win was also the 20th of the season for Lundqvist who rebounded after two subpar outings in a row for the Rangers best player. 

Each of the Rangers three goals had help from the Predators.  Dan Girardi opened the scoring just 6:15 into the game when his attempted pass to the front of the net went off the Predators’ defenseman Jack Hillen and beat backup netminder Anders Lindback short side.

Mid-way through the second period John Mitchell scored for the second consecutive game when he beat Lindback short side from the right faceoff circle.  Mitchell circled along the wall and fired from the circle getting a screen from defenseman Roman Josi.  The goal was Mitchell’s fourth of the season as he continues to show he belongs in the lineup even as Wolski and Christensen are available.

Ryan Callahan capped the scoring with 50.9 seconds remaining when he was hooked by Martin Erat on a breakaway with the empty net. Callahan was awarded the goal because of the empty net, giving him 15 goals on the season.
  • Rangers forecheck was dominant in the third period as they were able to control the clock for much of the final 10 minutes.
  • The penalty kill was excellent, especially when Gaborik was wrongly assessed a double minor for high-sticking against Mike Fisher while the Rangers were on the power play late in the second period.
  • The power play at least threatened a few times tonight, but the conversion rate has to improve.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Rangers Nightmares Continue In Montreal With 4-1 Loss

The New York Rangers failures in Montral continued with an ugly 4-1 loss Sunday night.  The loss dropped the Rangers to 0-5-1 in their last six trips to the Bell Centre. 

After dominating the Toronto Maple Leafs top line last night the New York Rangers watched the Montreal Canadiens top line of Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais and Erik Cole dance circles around them for three goals and nine points in a 4-1 loss.  While the Rangers used Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh mainly against the Tomas Plekanec line, it was this line that made the Rangers defense look lost.

The Rangers certainly did not get the start they wanted as the Canadiens got on the board only 2:39 into the opening period.  Marc Staal had a number of fails leading to the Montreal goal as he turned the puck over in the neutral zone with a bad pass allowing the Canadiens to carry back into the Rangers zone.  Staal then could not stop Desharnais from getting behind the net with the puck.  With Desharnais behind the net failed coverages from Wolski, Bickel and Newbury left Lundqvist down and out when Max Pacioretty eventually ended up with the puck in the slot.

New York got back into the flow of the game when Stu Bickel dropped the gloves with Travis Moen directly off a faceoff.  The fight came just moments after Rene Bourque side swiped Carl Hagelin along the wall, which drew the ire of both Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust.

Getting even on the scoreboard came 12:49 into the first period when John Mitchell converted a Derek Stepan rebound from the crease.  The scoring play started with Gaborik working behind the Montreal net feeding Stepan in the slot for the initial shot which Budaj stopped, but bad rebound control left the puck laying there for Mitchell.  The assist for Gaborik was his 300th of his NHL career and first since December 20.

Montreal took the lead back early in the second when the Rangers once again failed to clear their zone against the Pacioretty -Desharnais-Cole line.  Following the failed clear Desharnais played the puck back to Erik Cole who let the shot go from just inside the blue line and it was deflected off Pacioretty in front.  Stu Bickel had an awful shift in failing to get the puck out, not clearing Pacioretty out from in front and helping screen Lundqvist.  Following the goal he got an earful from Tortorella on the bench and never saw the ice again on the night.

The deficit expanded to two when Scott Gomez found Mike Blunden in the right faceoff that beat Lundqvist short side.  Desharnais got his turn to finish one off when he beat Marc Staal down the ice in transition and had a tap-in goal to beat Lundqvist to push the Canadiens’ advantage to 4-1.

The Rangers will look to toss this one aside and get back at it Tuesday against Nashville.

Dubinsky, Fedotenko Both Out Against Canadiens

Both Brandon Dubinsky and Ruslan Fedotenko will miss tonight's hasn't against the Montreal Canadiens.  Tonight will mark the third straight game Dubinsky has missed with a sore shoulder he sustained Tuesday. The hope is a couple extra days rest will have him ready for Tuesday against Nashville.

Fedotenko will miss his first game of the season after leaving last night with back spasms.

Kris Newbury, who was recalled today, will take Fedotenko's spot in the lineup.

Newbury Recalled With Dubinsky, Fedotenko Hurting

Andrew Gross reports that the Rangers have recalled Kris Newbury for tonight's game in Montreal.  Newbury is likely just precautionary in case both Brandon Dubinsky (shoulder) and Ruslan Fedotenko (back spasms) cannot play this evening.