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Rangers win again against Carolina; Talbot records third shutout

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers salute the crowd 12-21

The Rangers salute the crowd after defeating the Hurricanes to earn their sixth straight victory. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Make it six!

In front of an emotional crowd mourning the loss of two NYPD officers, The Rangers (17-10-4) continued to play their best hockey of the year, picking up another victory and sweeping the home-and-home against the Carolina Hurricanes (9-20-4).

After making a comeback victory last night, the Rangers jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, shutting out the Hurricanes by a score of 1-0.

The only lineup change head coach Alain Vigneault made was in goal, giving Cam Talbot the start in order to rest starter Henrik Lundqvist. It was Talbot’s first start since signing a 1 year, $1.45 million extension, and he answered in a big way.

Talbot made 18 saves in his third victory of the season, which also happened to be his third shutout of the season. It was just his seventh start this season, and he improves his record to 3-3-1 with a .928 save percentage and a 2.02 goals allowed average.

His three shutouts ties him with Jonathan Quick and Pekka Rinne, who have made nearly four times the amount of starts.

cam talbot 12-21

Cam Talbot made 18 saves and earned his third shutout victory of the season. Talbot has won his last three starts. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Talbot’s counterpart, Anton Khudobin, came into tonight’s game without a win this season, and with the loss, his record falls to 0-8-2. However, Khudobin did not play like his record and statistics show. He made 30 saves, including some sensational saves to keep the Hurricanes in it for 60 minutes.

The Rangers started off like they did in Carolina; creating tons of pressure and chances against Khudobin and the ‘Canes. The first period was played mostly in Carolina’s zone, and the Blueshirts dominated the period.

Two players were key in creating pressure right off of the puck drop, and that was Dan Boyle and Tanner Glass. Dan Boyle had a lot of jump in his game, joining the rush and getting some shots on net. Tanner Glass had a fantastic first period, also getting the puck to the net, playing physical hockey, providing solid defense and nearly tipping a puck past Khudobin.

With the pressure from Glass and Boyle, as well as contributions from other players, the Rangers were able to score the first goal of the game, and it was the Captain Ryan McDonagh scoring his second goal of the season just 4:10 into the game.

ryan mcdonagh goal 12-21

Ryan McDonagh fired a shot past Khudobin for his second goal of the season, and the only goal of the game. McDonagh continues to improve since returning to the lineup following his shoulder injury. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

After a good save by Cam Talbot, the Rangers went on a four man rush up the ice. Derek Stepan got the puck behind the net, and found Ryan McDonagh joining the rush and setting up in front of the net. The pass to McDonagh was perfect, and he fired it past Khudobin to give the Rangers the lead.

Stepan picked up his 15th assist of the season, and now has 18 points (3-15-18) in just 19 games. Zuccarello also had an assist on the play, giving him five points in his last five games, and a total of 16 points (6-10-16) this season.

Stepan continues his dominant play since his return to the Rangers lineup, and is third in the league in assists (15) since his return to the Rangers lineup.

Zuccarello has been playing much better as of late, scoring two goals and tallying three assists in the past five games.

zuccarello and stepan 12-21

Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan both picked up assists on the lone goal of the game, and both of them continue to make improvements in their game. a productive Stepan and Zuccarello is exactly what the Rangers need to keep the win streak going. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

That would be the only goal that the Rangers would need, and the Hurricanes sharpened their play in the last two periods, playing better defensively, and staying competitive.

Khudobin really was the MVP for the Hurricanes, and had an excellent game. Khudobin was able to keep a Matt Hunwick shot out of the net, which was reviewed and confirmed as no goal, and made a fantastic blocker save on Brassard after some excellent passing from Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello. If not for Khudobin’s play, the Rangers could have easily scored four or more goals.

Although Talbot was not tested often, he played a very good game. Talbot’s positioning on plays was excellent, and his rebound control also helped out the Rangers. The Rangers are fortunate to have a backup as good as Cam Talbot available whenever they need him, and he proved that tonight.

Although he did not score, Rick Nash had a tremendous game. Even when he isn’t scoring, Nash has an impact all over the ice. Whether he is drawing penalties, playing great defensive hockey, or something else, his impact is always felt. Nash created a ton of offensive pressure, registering six shots on goal, and played a very strong game.

Tanner Glass may have had his best game of the season against the Hurricanes. Glass surprisingly jumpstarted the offense early in the first, and finished the night with on shot on goal and three hits, played well defensively, as well as nearly scoring on a deflection. This is the Tanner Glass that needs to show up every night in order to remain in the lineup.

tanner glass 12-21

Tanner Glass provided a spark for the Rangers in the early stages of the game, and had one of his best games of the season. Although it doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, Glass played very well. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Ryan McDonagh and the rest of the defense did another tremendous job defensively, and Tablot acknowledged that after the game, saying that the guys played phenomenally in front of him. McDonagh also scored his second goal of the season, and now has 10 points (2-8-10) this season.

With the win, the Rangers are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games against Metropolitan division opponents. They also improved their record to 13-3-2 when carrying a lead into the third period. And their six game win streak is their longest since 2011.

The Rangers next game will come on Tuesday against the Washington Capitals (16-10-6) at Madison Square Garden, who are two points ahead of the Rangers in the standings.

THREE STARS

1) Cam Talbot – 18 SV, 1.000 SV %

2) Ryan McDonagh – 1 G, 1 BS, 23:36 TOT

3) Derek Stepan – 1 A, 1 HT

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Posted on December 22, 2014, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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