What a difference a night makes, eh? Just 24 hours after getting absolutely shelled by the Maple Leafs for 5 goals against in the 1st period alone, the rejuvenated Rangers and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist shook it off and turned in a big-time performance, shutting out the visiting Montreal Canadiens, 2-0, in front of a raucous October crowd at Madison Square Garden Sunday night. Lundqvist made 34 saves, several of the spectacular variety, to post his first shutout of the season and a Ranger-record 62nd blanking of his storied NHL career on Broadway. 2nd year D-man Brady Skjei came away with the fortuitous game-winner when his sharp angle pass intended for Michael Grabner caromed off Habs goaltender Carey Price and defenseman Shea Weber late in the first period to give the Blueshirts a lead they never relinquished. Meanwhile, $5.4M man Mika Zibanejad – now 2nd in the NHL in goals (4) and 1st in PPGs (3) – continued his amped-up play as the team’s new #1 center by snapping home a beautiful behind-the-net pass from sophomore linemate Pavel Buchnevich to seal the win in the 3rd period. Read the rest of this entry
Thanks to a pair of rockets launched by Kevin “Optimus” Klein and a stellar, 32-save performance from goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers defeated the Colorado Avalanche at Madison Square Garden Saturday night, 4-2. The win was the Rangers’ 4th straight at MSG, 5th in a row overall and by backstopping his team to victory, King Henrik reached the 400 NHL wins mark during in his illustrious, 12-year career on Broadway. Even more impressive is that it only took Hank 727 games to record those 400 wins, making him the fastest to ever reach that milestone in league history. Faster than the likes of HHOFer Martin Brodeur (735), 3-time Cup champ Chris Osgood (742), 7-time Vezina winner Jacques Plante (753) and 3-time Conn Smythe winner Patrick Roy (753.) In addition, Henrik is just the 3rd goaltender to ever record 400 wins with one team, Brodeur (NJD) and Tony Esposito (CBH) being the others. Read the rest of this entry
- New York Rangers (35-18-1, 71 PTS) vs Colorado Avalanche (15-34-2, 32 PTS)
- The Rangers are coming off of a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators in the third game of their homestand. Chris Kreider, Michel Grabner and JT Miller scored the goals for New York while Henrik Lundqvist made some impressive and timely saves, stopping 34 of the 37 shots he faced while securing his 25th win of the season.
- Colorado has had a really tough season so far. After dismissing Patrick Roy in the offseason after the team had faltered in the two seasons after they went 52-22-8 in 2013-14. But now they have just 15 wins in 51 games and are firmly entrenched in last place in the league. They lost to the Penguins, 4-1, in their last game, with the only goal coming from Gabriel Landeskog. They had won two games in a row prior to the loss against Pittsburgh.
- The Rangers improved to 35-18-1 with a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators, erasing an early 2-0 deficit with four unanswered goals.
- Henrik Lundqvist had another strong showing, making 34 saves on 37 shots, including some truly impressive ones throughout the game. He’s been phenomenal over the last eight games and looks a lot like his usual self. It’s nice to see him back to normal. The Rangers need this Henrik Lundqvist in net. He’s one win away from 400 for his career which would be yet another monumental achievement.
- Kevin Hayes, Michael Grabner and JT Miller had an outstanding game. This line is seemingly here to stay after combining for three of the four goals this night. Grabner scored his 26th goal of the season and is showing no sign of slowing down. JT Miller tallied another two goals, extending his point streak to five games, with nine points (2-7-9) in that span. Kevin Hayes showed off his playmaking skills, tallying three assists and giving him 39 points in 49 games. Hayes and Miller especially have fantastic chemistry, and this line is on fire.
- Chris Kreider passed his career high in goals with 22, continuing his outstanding season. This is the player that fans have been hoping to see for years. He’s using his size extremely well, getting to the front of the net and utilizing his shot well. His combination of skills and ability to score or impact the game in many ways keeps defensemen guessing and throws them off track. It’s only February and there’s still room for him to grow.
- Ryan McDonagh picked up another assist, giving him 31 points (2-29-31) so far. That puts him on pace for a career high 47 points. He hasn’t got the same attention or praise as his 14 goal, 43 point campaign in 2013-14. His defensive play has been keeping the Rangers afloat, and he’s back to a productive offensive force again.
- Overall, this was a better game than the Anaheim victory where they were severely outshot. The Rangers had a lot of good chances and it was relatively even. Much better in that category for the Rangers, and let’s hope it stays that way moving forward.
The Rangers incredible forward depth has been their biggest strength this whole season, allowing them to fight through many injuries, roll four skill lines and score the third most goals in the league (181). But with so many quality wingers and only six spots in the top nine, somebody is going to suffer because of it.
Lately it’s been Pavel Buchnevich. The 21 year old rookie has been very effective this season, already totaling 15 points (6-9-15) in 21 games and even recording an eight game point streak, scoring six goals and six assists over that span.
Despite all of that, as well as the fact that many other stats back up how good he has been, Buchnevich has found himself on the fourth line for the past few games. Sure, there are a lot of good wingers and forwards that need ice time, but wasting Buchnevich on the fourth line is not the right decision. Read the rest of this entry