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Raanta makes 32 saves as Rangers take down the Capitals

Bobby Bevilacqua

Rangers celebrate a goal 3-4

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After a tough loss in Pittsburgh, the Rangers (38-21-6) bounced back with a huge win over the league-leading Washington Capitals (47-13-4) on the road, thanks to a goal from Derek Stepan and 32 saves from Antti Raanta.

Before the game, it looked like the odds were stacked against the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist was injured, Marc Staal was coming back from the flu, there were a few other minor injuries, and they were playing the Caps. Not a recipe for success, but they found a way to win.

The Rangers bounced back from a loss again, and they haven’t lost back-to-back games since December 20th. Also, the Rangers didn’t allow Alex Ovechkin to score a goal, snapping a nine game goal streak against the Rangers Read the rest of this entry

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Raanta in net for the injured Lundqvist as Rangers battle the Capitals

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs capitals 1=9

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After losing focus and falling to the Penguins last night, the Rangers (37-21-6) are back on the road to close out their brief road trip against the league-leading Washington Capitals (47-12-4), a team that’s winning at a historic pace.

The Capitals 47 wins have already passed last year’s total with 19 games left on the schedule. Their 47 wins through 63 games are the most for any team in NHL history, and their 98 points through that same span is the most since the Detroit Red Wings in the 1995-96 season, and they have an 18 point lead over the New York Rangers. Needless to say, the Rangers will have their work cut out for them.

Last night, the Rangers had a mental lapse for 1:39, allowing three goals and ultimately losing the game because of that. Against Washington, they’ll need a complete 60 minute effort because the Caps are built to win from the net out. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers look for revenge against the Capitals; Raanta gets the start

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs capitals 1=9

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Setup:

The Rangers (24-15-5) picked up a crucial two points in a divisional battle against the Flyers, securing just their second win in their last 11 road games (2-7-2), and drawing equal with the Islanders in the standings. Now they face another tough test against a divisional foe that sits 16 points ahead of them in the Metropolitan. The Washington Capitals (33-8-3) are having an incredible season, and they’re easily the most dangerous team in the NHL.

The Capitals are coming off of a 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on the road, and now they head back to the Verizon Center, where they play six of their next seven games. Washington is 17-3-1 on home ice this season, and despite the loss to the Sabres, they’re still 14-2-1 in their last 17 games. Read the rest of this entry

Quick Hits: The Florida Panthers are legit, Winter Classic, Changing the Playoff format

Bobby Bevilacqua

Welcome back to Quick Hits, a series where I talk about anything and everything around the NHL. The NHL is approaching the halfway mark of the season, and there are some really interesting storylines. The Panthers are in first place in the Atlantic, the Ducks are one of the worst teams in the league, and the Canadiens can’t win without Carey Price.

If there’s anything you want me to talk about in the next edition of Quick Hits, leave it in the comments section below.

The Florida Panthers are legit

SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 1: Jaromir Jagr #68 of the Florida Panthers celebrates his goal with teammates Aaron Ekblad #5 and Brian Campbell #51 the Tampa Bay Lightning at the BB&T Center on March 1, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

Photo courtesy of Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images.

Before the season started, I predicted that the Panthers would make the playoffs as a wild card team. I didn’t foresee the Canadiens falling off without Carey Price, or the Lightning struggling, or Detroit playing around .500 hockey.

So to the surprise of just about everybody, it’s the Florida Panthers that lead the Atlantic Division. Dave Tallon has constructed a team with an excellent blend of youth and veteran leadership, constructed through the draft and some smart offseason acquisitions. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers succumb to epic meltdown in 7-3 loss to the Capitals

Bobby Bevilacqua

Rangers vs Capitals 12-20

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

This better be rock bottom, because I can’t imagine things getting much worse.

The Rangers (19-12-4) embarrassed themselves in one of the most disheartening losses of the year, surrendering six consecutive goals and blowing a lead to the Metropolitan Division leading Washington Capitals (24-6-2) in a 7-3 loss.

It’s become a tired narrative. The defense is bad from the forwards and defensemen, the team is blowing leads, the goaltending isn’t as good, and they keep finding ways to lose. It’s been happening for the last 14 games.

I don’t know how to explain it. They’ll have leads and score goals, play well for stretches, and then fall apart. The team is fragile, mentally and on the ice, and it seems like nobody has the answer as to why it’s happening. Read the rest of this entry