Marc WeissmanThanks 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
Alain Vigneault made a huge statement after practice on Monday afternoon, announcing that Dylan McIlrath would make his season debut while veteran and $4.5 million defenseman Dan Boyle would be a healthy scratch.
Dan Boyle has not been all that impressive in the three games this season, picking up one assist and making at least one costly defensive miscue. During the home opener, Vigneault switched him and Kevin Klein, relating Boyle to the third pairing.
While he hasn’t been great, this is also about seeing what McIlrath can do. He made the team after a very strong preseason, and having him sit in the press box isn’t going to do him any good. The Rangers could use another defensively responsible, crease clearing physical defenseman on the ice.
This is also a big statement from Alain Vigneault. He’s showing that is doesn’t matter whether you’re a veteran or have a big salary. There are other options throughout the lineup. If Boyle isn’t playing well and if he still isn’t fitting into the system, then McIlrath can come in and steal some games from him. Read the rest of this entry