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Rangers pick up win number 50 over Devils; Lundqvist triumphant in return to MSG

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers goal celebration 4-4

The Rangers exploded for six goals on Saturday, dominating the rival New Jersey Devils thanks to a stellar performance from Henrik Lundqvist and the rest of the team. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

In Henrik Lundqvist’s first start at MSG in over two months, the Rangers (50-21-7) exploded for six goals, burying their rivals, the New Jersey Devils (32-34-13), by a final score of 6-1, playing a very solid game for their third straight win.

With the win, New York reached the 50 win mark for just the fourth time in franchise history, putting them at 107 points for the season. That ties them with the Anaheim Ducks for the best record in the league, and brings them closer to further home ice advantage in the playoffs. Three points would clinch the Eastern Conference title for the Rangers, and two wins would clinch the President’s Trophy for the Rangers.

Henrik Lundqvist started his fourth game since returning from his vascular injury, and his third consecutive start. Lundqvist was absolutely spectacular tonight, stopping 35 shots, and nearly escaping with a shutout. From the first period, Henrik was making key saves, denying Travis Zajac and Steve Bernier from in tight early to keep New Jersey off the board. It was unfortunate that the one goal slipped through, his performance was spectacular, and he was deserving of the standing ovation that he received.

henrik lundqvist side profile 4-4

Henrik Lundqvist was absolutely fantastic in net against the Devils, stopping 35 shots, and keeping the Devils out of the game. It was his 28th win of the season. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

In the Rangers three game win streak, in which Henrik Lundqvist started all of the games, Henrik has a 1.67 GAA and a .949 save percentage, stopping 93 0f the 98 shots that he faced.

The Rangers got production from all over the ice, with five different players finding the back of the net, and 13 players recording at least a point. The Devils still had their fair share of chances, getting 13 shots on goal in the first period alone. But Lundqvist was strong, allowing the Rangers start generating offense of their own.

After a cautious first five minutes, the Rangers broke through just over five minutes into the period, and it was Rick Nash scoring his 42nd goal of the season, setting a new career high in goals. His previous record of 41 goals was set back in the 2003-04 season.

Keith Yandle carried the puck through the neutral zone and into the Devils zone before dumping it off to Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello skated around to gain some separation, passing the puck into the crease where Rick Nash was positioned. The puck deflected off the end of Nash’s stack and past Cory Schneider, putting the Rangers up 1-0.

rick nash goal celebration 4-4

Rick Nash celebrates after deflecting in the first goal of the game, setting a new career high in the process. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Almost seven minutes later, New York broke through again, with Keith Yandle scoring his first goal at Madison Square Garden. Following a faceoff win, Chris Kreider used his size and strength to work the puck back to Yandle. After looking for a passing lane and not finding one, Yandle fired a wrist shot through traffic that managed to sneak past Schneider for the second Rangers goal.

And just 25 seconds later, the Rangers would score their third goal of the game on just their sixth shot of the game, ending Cory Schneider’s night just 12:24 into the game. The fourth line was out for the shift, and Tanner Glass chipped the puck into the offensive zone before making a great little move to beat defenseman Jon Merrill. Glass backhanded a centering pass to an uncovered Dominic Moore streaking down the middle of the ice. Moore’s shot beat Schneider top shelf for the third goal of the period. The Rangers would head into the locker room with a 3-0 lead.

The second period was much quieter, as Lundqvist continued to come up with quality saves to keep New Jersey off of the board. The Blueshirts came close on a few occasions, with Jesper Fast hitting the post on one occasion. However, they would add onto their lead with less than three seconds remaining thanks to a Derek Stepan shorthanded goal. On a quick outlet pass, Nash carried the puck into the neutral zone before splitting two defenders with a pass. Stepan had all the time in the world to deke out Keith Kincaid, scoring five hole to end the second period.

derek stepan goal 4-4

Derek Stepan went five hole on a short handed breakaway, netting his 14th of the season. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

The scoring continued 1:55 into the third period on Derick Brassard’s 18th goal of the season. That tied a career high in goals that he set last season. Brassard skated all the way from his own end into the Devils zone, going to the side of the net before attempting a centering pass. His pass deflected off of Adam Larsson’s skate and snuck past Kincaid for the fifth goal of the season. The goal extended his point streak to four games (3-2-5), and put him at 59 points (18-41-59) for the year.

The final goal for the Blueshirts came 12 minutes in, and it was Dominic Moore netting his second of the game, and his ninth goal of the season. Ryan McDonagh’s blasted the slap shot from the point, and Moore was positioned well in front to deflect the puck past Kincaid for the sixth unanswered goal for New York.

dominic moore hi five line 4-4

Dominc Moore scored his second goal of the game on a deflection of a Ryan McDonagh pass-shot, putting the Rangers up by a score of 6-0. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Unfortunately, with just 3:30 remaining in the game, the Devils snuck one past Lundqvist, spoiling his shutout bid. Tuomo Ruutu got the goal on a long wrist shot through traffic. It appeared to deflect off of Jacob Josefson, but he did not get credited with the goal.

This was a really solid, feel good win for the Rangers. All four lines performed well, the defensive effort was solid, and Lundqvist was spectacular. There were a few turnovers, and the Devils managed to get 36 shots on net, but it was definitely a really solid game from New York.

I thought Keith Yandle had one of his best games as a Ranger tonight. Yandle was responsible defensively, has a knack for stretching play with his outlet passes, and picked up two points, giving him 9 points (2-7-9) in 17 games as a Ranger. Yandle has a total of 50 points (5-44-50), giving him back to back 50 point seasons. Yandle has been a solid addition since the trade deadline.

keith yandle celebration 4-4

Keith Yandle continues his solid play as a member of the Rangers, scoring his second goal and his seventh assist as a Ranger in the win over the Devils. Yandle has a total of 50 points this season. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Rick Nash continues to score goals this season, finding so many different ways to find the back of the net. His 42 goals is a new career high, and he leads the team with 69 points (42-27-69). Nash is a tremendous two way forward, and keeps on finding ways to contribute.

The fourth line was much more effective than it had been in recent games. There were a few lengthy offensive shifts, and they chipped in with two goals on the night, with Jesper Fast nearly scoring another goal. Dominic Moore continues to have a solid season, with 24 points (9-15-24), three goals in the last two games, acting as the top faceoff man on the team, and a key penalty killer. A good fourth line is important in the playoffs, and it’s nice to see them clicking now.

The Rangers will have Sunday off before they take on the hottest team in the NHL, the Columbus Blue Jackets, on Monday evening.

THREE STARS

1) Henrik Lundqvist – 35 SV, ,972 SV%

2) Dominic Moore – 2 G, 3 SOG, 2 HT, 12:13 TOT

3) Keith Yandle – 1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, 20:35 TOT

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Posted on April 5, 2015, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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