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The King Conquers The Kings: Lundqvist turns in third straight excellent performance

Marc Weissman

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Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Thanks to the outstanding play of a resurgent Henrik Lundqvist, the surging Rangers and their #1 goaltender won their 3rd game in a row as they defeated the LA Kings, 3-2, at Madison Square Garden last night.

Ever since he gave up 7 goals against the Dallas Stars a week ago, Lundqvist has gone from being Bronx cheered to Manhattan chanted as the Garden crowd showered Hank with throngs of “HEN-RIK!…HEN-RIK!” chants throughout the game. Hank and the much-improved Ranger defense have now given up only 2 goals or fewer in 3 straight games. This after yielding 4 goals or more in the prior 4 games.  Quite a turnaround indeed.

It was evident from the get-go that Lundqvist needed to be – make that would be – rock solid in his second start of back-to-backs as the Kings came storming out of the Zamboni gate like a team on a mission. The irony is, LA sits in the non-playoff #10 spot in the Western Conference. Yet they were the ones who registered the first nine shots of the game before the EC 4th seed Rangers even mustered one. Amidst his team’s typical slow start, Lundqvist gobbled up everything thrown his way, played the angles with precision, used his lightning reflexes to their fullest and aggressively challenged crease and non-crease invaders alike. Read the rest of this entry

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Rangers head to Brooklyn to battle the Islanders; Grabner out, Hrivik in

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

With the Rangers (17-8-1) in the midst of a rough stretch, having won just four of their last nine games, they’ll take on the lowly Islanders (9-10-5) in the first matchup this season at the Barclays Center.

The Rangers took down the Carolina Hurricanes in their last game, getting two goals from Chris Kreider and one from Michael Grabner and Derek Stepan to secure a win despite playing pretty poorly through the first two periods. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 26 of the 28 shots that he faced.

The Islanders had a dreadful start to the season, opening the season with a 5-9-1 record and sitting in last place in the league. But with a 3-0-1 record in their last four games, they’re finally starting to show signs of life. But they’re still last in the Metropolitan and have the third fewest points in the NHL. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers back on home ice as they battle the Senators; Brassard comes back to MSG

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers (15-6-1) were lucky to escape Philly with a win, but they’ll look to start another win streak tonight when they take on the Ottawa Senators (13-7-1) to kick off a brief two game home stand.

The Rangers were badly outshot, 42-23, in their win over the Flyers, and were able to secure a win thanks to an exceptional goaltending performance from Henrik Lundqvist. Goals from Derek Stepan, Matt Puempel and Kevin Hayes were enough for Hank to steal a victory.

The Senators also won their last game, giving them three straight wins to put them in second place in their division. Dion Phaneuf and Kyle Turris both found the back of the net and Craig Anderson made 30 saves to pick up a win over Carolina. Read the rest of this entry

Could Oscar Lindberg be part of a trade for a defenseman?

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Yesterday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers saw Matt Puempel make his debut as a Ranger just three days after he was claimed off of waivers. He had no points and a minus-five rating in 13 games with the Senators, but Vigneault gave him an opportunity on the fourth line.

It wound up paying off, as the 23-year-old former first round pick played a pretty good game, skating for 12 minutes and scoring a goal. Puempel described himself as an offensive player (213 points in 195 OHL games) and that he was looking forward to a fresh start. Perhaps that’s just what he needed, as a change of scenery can do wonders for a player.

But Puempel’s insertion into the lineup meant that Oscar Lindberg was the healthy scratch. Lindberg has played mostly out of necessity because of injuries, and has only appeared in nine of the team’s 22 games, recording no goals and one assists. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers begin home-and-home series with Pittsburgh; Hayes an important piece moving forward

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers (13-5-1) fell in the shootout to the Panthers last night and lost Mika Zibanejad for the next 6-8 weeks, but the turnaround is quick as they head to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins (11-4-3) on the road.

Goals from Kreider and Zibanejad weren’t enough as the Rangers mustered a lot of scoring chances, but only two goals on James Reimer. It was the second loss in a row for New York, marking the first time this season that they have lost consecutive games.

The Penguins will be playing their fourth game in six nights, and coming off of a shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves and allowed just one goal, while Sidney Crosby scored the lone goal for the Pens. Read the rest of this entry