Rangers weather the storm and snap losing streak; Kevin Klein injured

Bobby Bevilacqua

derick brassard hi five line 11-30

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

A hurricane came blowing through Madison Square Garden, but the Rangers weathered the storm.

Despite playing a similar type of hockey that saw the Rangers (17-6-2) lose three straight games, Alain Vigneault’s squad managed to come out on top, 4-3, against the Carolina Hurricanes (8-12-4), who have just two wins in their last 10 games.

It was a game that the Rangers were grossly outshot in, yet again, and it took some gifted goals from Cam Ward and an excellent performance by Henrik Lundqvist to come away with a win in this one. A win is a win, but the team needs to be better before they take on the Islanders in their next game.

New York continues to dominate the Hurricanes, winning the last 11 games that have taken place between these two teams at MSG. They’ve also won 18 of the last 19 games against Carolina.

The Rangers had an electric start to the first period, clearly coming out motivated and energized, trying to improve their play and pounce on the Hurricanes early on. Despite being outshot 10-6, New York managed to score twice on the power play and capitalized on their best chances.

The top line came out extremely aggressive, with Rick Nash skating harder than he has all season after a fiery and outspoken morning with the media. He drew a tripping penalty, and Mats Zuccarello needed just five seconds to give New York the lead, sending a wrist shot through a crowd of players in front of Cam Ward.

Derick Brassard had the assists and Boyle made a nice play to help win the faceoff back to Zuccarello, but wasn’t credited with helper. The goal gave the Norwegian an 11 game point streak against the Hurricanes, the first player to have a point streak of that length against a single team since Marc Messier from 1991-93 against the Flyers.

Shortly after the goal, Kevin Klein left the ice, heading to the bench favoring his left leg. He suffered a muscle strain in his abdomen and did not return.

The Hurricanes started to build some momentum after the Rangers took two penalties. That led to some shots on goal and good chances, but Henrik Lundqvist turned aside all 10 shots he saw. His best stop came on Andrej Nestrasil, keeping his redirection out of the back of the net.

With less than two minutes remaining in the opening period, John-Michael Liles took an interference penalty, giving the Blueshirts one more power play opportunity.

It took just 12 seconds this time as Oscar Lindberg scored his first career power play goal, his ninth goal of the season. Keith Yandle and Dan Boyle combined for some gorgeous passing work, and Lindberg’s one-timer gave New York a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

The Hurricanes didn’t wait long to get their first goal of the game, finding the back of the net after just 1:40 into the second period. Dan Girardi gave up the puck along the boards behind Lundqvist’s net, and Andrej Nestrasil fed it to Jordan Staal for a redirection, cutting the lead to just a goal.

But the Rangers showed resiliency, answering back 44 seconds after the ‘Canes scored their first goal of the game. Jesper Fast came in hard on the forecheck, forcing Carolina to turn the puck over in their own zone. Chris Kreider, in desperate need of a goal, swiveled and surprised Ward with the shot, sneaking it through his pads for his fourth goal of the season, giving New York their two goal lead back.

The middle period didn’t see too much action, with both teams trading a few chances, but Lundqvist and Ward made the stops. Henrik denied Nestrasil’s wrist shot through traffic, and Cam Ward made an excellent left pad stop on a JT Miller re-direction after some superb passing from the third line.

After a dodgy penalty kill that saw Justin Faulk hit the crossbar and the Rangers pinned back in their own zone for almost the full two minutes, the Rangers managed to score a goal and extend the lead to 4-1. Kevin Hayes came out of the box, intercepted Cam Ward’s clearance at the blue line, fakes a shot and set up Brassard for a one timer.

Carolina poured the pressure on late, and one of the many shots managed to sneak through Henrik Lundqvist’s pads as Victor Rask scored his eighth goal of the season.

Henrik Lundqvist made two important saves, one on a wide open Noah Hanifin following a turnover, and another on Rask as the horn sounded. The Blueshirts headed into the locker room up 4-2, but down in shots 24-14.

Early in the third period, Derick Brassard had a golden opportunity, but was turned aside by the skate of Cam Ward, getting just enough to deflect it off of the post and keep the score at 4-2.

That wound up being a big part of this period, with Cam Ward making some crucial saves to keep the Rangers from extending their lead further.

Henrik Lundqvist continued his strong play in this period, making yet another fantastic save on Elias Lindholm. Lindholm snuck behind the defenders for a breakaway, and Henrik made two consecutive saves, one with the left arm and one with the left pad.

henrik lundqvist pad save 11-30

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

However the Hurricanes would get another breakaway, and it was Chris Terry scoring this one for Carolina. He came straight off the bench, got a stretch pass from Jeff Skinner and snuck it underneath Lundqvist. After holding a three goal lead, the Rangers saw their lead depleted to one.

There was some late pressure from Carolina, and some nice defensive plays from Marc Staal and Mats Zuccarello, but the Rangers managed to squeak by and get a win out of this game.

The Rangers didn’t really improve their play all that much. They were outshot 36-22, outchanced 59-31, gave up 16 high danger scoring chances, and they won with a high shooting percentage yet again. If they weren’t playing a team like Carolina, who don’t have good goaltending and don’t have a proven goal scorer, this would have been a much harder game to win.

After getting re-inserted into the lineup following two games as a healthy scratch, Dan Boyle was awesome. He didn’t have an assist on the first power play goal, but he was crucial in getting the puck back to Zuccarello for the shot. He also made an excellent pass to Lindberg for the second power play goal. Only one turnover that led to a big chance, but other than that, mistake free.

On the other hand, some of the other defenseman didn’t fare as well. McDonagh was okay, Girardi was horrendous in possession (-26 CF!!) and had a turnover that led to a goal. Staal was okay. But if Kevin Klein misses time, this team will have even more troubles because he’s been the best defenseman so far.

With Derek Stepan out, the other “Derick” will be leaned on heavily as the top center, and he delivered tonight. Brassard played an excellent 200 foot game, was the only Ranger to finish positive in possession (+1), and he tallied a goal and an assist. Big game from number 16.

Henrik Lundqvist. Nuff said.

The Rangers will head to the Barclays Center for the first ever rivalry matchup between the Rangers and Islanders at their new home in Brooklyn.


1) Derick Brassard – 1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, 18:35 TOT

2) Henrik Lundqvist – 33 SV, .917 SV%

3) Dan Boyle – 1 A, 2 SOG, +2, 2 BS, 2 HT, 23:17 TOT

Posted on December 1, 2015, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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