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Rangers rebound with 5-2 win over Toronto; Buchnevich keeps point streak going

Chris Vallely

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

New York Rangers defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2. Strong effort from the Blueshirts tonight. Here’s the recap:

The Rangers opened up the scoring: Brady Skjei. Mats Zuccarello won a battle in the corner and set up Skjei in the slot for the goal. Derek Stepan drove the net on the backdoor, which forced Brady’s man, William Nylander, to cover him. Stepan didn’t get on the scoresheet, but his ability to crash the net, created the goal.

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Lundqvist and Co. look to get on track and snap losing streak tonight against Toronto

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The Rangers (28-16-1) hit a low point during their loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, not showing up for the first 40 minutes, playing horrible defense and not getting great goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist. They’ll need to turn it around quickly when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs (21-13-8) on the road tonight.

The Rangers’ last game was the epitome of what the team is this season – a high-octane offensive powerhouse with a porous defense, a struggling star goalie and a coach unwilling to make changes and adjustments. The offense essentially tries to outscore the defense every game and it doesn’t work. Vigneault continues to give big minutes to Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein despite their consistent inability to handle that work, and adjustments to the pairings, personnel or defensive schemes remain the same. And therein lies the problem.

On the other hand, the Maple Leafs are enjoying a successful second season under Mike Babcock, integrating all of their young talent and sitting in third place in the Atlantic Division, tied with the Ottawa Senators in points and one point ahead of the Florida Panthers despite playing five fewer games than them. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers back in action against Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs; Nash and Buchnevich to play

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-maple-leafs

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Following the league mandated bye-week, the Rangers (28-13-1) return to action when they take on rookie sensation Auston Matthews and the surprisingly solid Toronto Maple Leafs (18-13-8) at Madison Square Garden.

Tonight’s game will be a special one, as the Rangers have asked fans to wear blue for tonight’s game and get in their seats early for a ceremony honoring Det. Steven McDonald, the former NYPD detective who passed away on Jan. 10. The Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award is named after him and given to the player, voted for by the fans, who goes above and beyond the call of duty. He was a special part of the Rangers’ community and the ceremony tonight should be fantastic.

This is the first of three meetings between the Rangers and Maple Leafs, and the only one at MSG. The Rangers swept the season series last year, scoring three or more goals in all three games, and outscored Toronto 11-6. The Rangers have won each of the last four games in this series, and have earned at least a point in 11 of the last 14 games against the Maple Leafs dating back to Jan. 14, 2012 (10-3-1). Read the rest of this entry

Rangers begin the new year against the Sabres at MSG; Nash and Buchnevich back to practicing

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After a successful two game road trip, the Rangers (26-12-1) head back to Madison Square Garden to take on the Buffalo Sabres (13-15-8), the first of two games over the next two days before heading to Philadelphia tomorrow.

The Rangers took care of business last week, beating the Arizona Coyotes and the Colorado Avalanche, two games they were supposed to win. The game against Arizona was a lot closer than it should have been, but they beat the Avalanche handily in their next game, scoring six goals. Now with games against the Sabres and the struggling Flyers over the next two days, the Rangers have a chance to secure some points before the league mandated bye-week.

The Sabres dealt with some injuries to start the year, but it’s been a pretty disappointing start considering some of the signings they made this offseason. Buffalo enters the game tonight with the worst record in the Eastern Conference, and are just 1-4-2 in their last seven games. Read the rest of this entry

Derek Stepan’s value and importance to the Rangers is immeasurable

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Despite an awful first period and sub-par games from many of the Rangers’ players last night, the character and resolve from the team was there as they erased two separate two-goal deficits and scored three unanswered to pick up a win. It was simultaneously lucky and a character building win at that.

Two players had a huge part in the come-from-behind effort; Nick Holden scored two goals and was the best defensive player on the ice, continuing his resurgence from the start of the season and giving him six goals and 18 points this season – that’s more than Oliver-Ekman Larsson, Drew Doughty and P.K. Subban.

Derek Stepan was the other guy who played a huge role in the win last night. Recently, he’s been criticized by fans for not being a consistent performer, not living up to his contract, and perhaps worthy of a trade. But in reality, Derek Stepan is one of the most valuable and important pieces to this team. Read the rest of this entry