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Rangers head back home to battle the Lightning; Kreider doubtful

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-lightning-5-22

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After a brief stop in Carolina that resulted in a 3-2 loss, the Rangers (5-3-0) look to get back to their winning ways when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning (5-3-0) at Madison Square Garden.

In that loss to Carolina, Mats Zuccarello scored both Rangers goals, giving him four this season. Pavel Buchnevich recorded an assist in his first game back from back spasms, and Ryan McDonagh also tallied an assist, on a marvelous stretch pass, to extend his six game point streak. Mika Zibanajad’s assist kept him at a point-per-game pace through eight games (2-6-8).

The Lightning played last night in Newark, falling to the Devils by a score of 3-1. Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed three goals on 20 shots and the team’s lone goal came from Tyler Johnson. Tampa Bay has had trouble with starting slow, and that happened again when they gave up two goals in the first period to New Jersey. Read the rest of this entry

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Rangers snap road losing streak in Tampa; Boyle and Moore have big nights

Alexandra Russo

mats zuccarello goal celebration 12-30

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The Rangers (21-13-4) looked to end their eight game road losing streak sating back to November 21st, and they succeeded. They controlled most of the play, despite a few penalties and skated off the ice victorious with a 5-2 win over the Lightning (21-13-4).

Coach Alain Vingeault sent a message before the game, benching young forward Kevin Hayes for his lack of performance. He expected more out of him to this point, and Hayes knows it, too. Maybe after being a healthy scratch last night he’ll recognize that he’s got to up his game to keep a spot on the roster.

The rest of the Rangers must have gotten a message because right off an offensive zone faceoff with just under two minutes into play, Keith Yandle made a great pass from the point to Dan Boyle, who was open at right circle. He didn’t hesitate as he slid the puck past Bishop to notch his fifth goal of the season and give his team a one goal advantage. This goal was also his third in the past five games, as he remains on a hot streak.  Read the rest of this entry

Two struggling contenders face off as Rangers take on Lightning; Hayes a healthy scratch

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs lightning faceoff 12-1

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

There are a lot of former contenders around the league struggling to live up to the lofty expectations set by the fans, the experts and reporters, and even the team itself. The Rangers (20-13-4) and the Lightning (18-15-4) are two of those teams.

Last year, the Rangers and Lightning squared off for seven games, battling for the title of Eastern Conference Champion. Things could hardly be more different now.

The Rangers have dropped to third in the Metropolitan Division behind Washington and the Islanders, winning just four of their last 16 games. Last year’s Presidents’ Trophy winners are struggling to score goals, losing their fundamentals, and failing to play the same style that helped give them so much success over the last two seasons. Read the rest of this entry

Increasing scoring in the NHL: Angled goalposts, bigger nets, smaller pads, or nothing at all?

Bobby Bevilacqua

henrik lundqvist side profile 12-6

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Ever since Mike Babcock, the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, mentioned that the size of the nets should be increased, the NHL world has been discussing ways to increase the amount of goals scored in the league to cater to the more casual fans.

In this day and age, where people seem to have the attention span of a goldfish, everyone wants high scoring games. In the eyes of the casual fan, a 5-4 score line every night is ideal, offering lots of action and fun. The wider the appeal of the sport, the more fans and revenue the league pulls in.

Unfortunately, some people don’t seem to appreciate the great defensive battles and goaltending duels that the modern era of the NHL offers. Remember the Rangers series against the Capitals last season? Every game was decided by one goal, the games finished 2-1 or 3-2 and both teams still had like 30 shots on goal. Henrik Lundqvist and Braden Holtby battled it out, and it was awesome and intense. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers season comes to a close with shutout defeat in Game 7

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs lightning 5-29

The Rangers lost a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden for the first time in history, coming just 20 minutes short of a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

For the first time in franchise history, the Rangers lost a Game 7 on home ice, getting shutout by the Tampa Bay Lightning as they continue their quest for the Stanley Cup, and the Rangers go home for the summer.

Prior to tonight, New York was 7-0 in Game 7s played at Madison Square Garden. They earned the right to play tonight’s game on home ice by winning the President’s Trophy in the regular season. But that effectively went to waste, as the Rangers lost three of four games on home ice, and were shut out in Game 5 and 7. They scored just four goals at the Garden in this series.

The loss also snapped a 10 game win streak at Madison Square Garden in elimination games for the Rangers, as well as a six game win streak in Game 7s. Read the rest of this entry