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Rangers bounce back with gutsy win over the Penguins; Miller and Hayes rise to the occasion

Bobby Bevilacqua


Photo courtesy of Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)

After their first two game losing streak, the Rangers (14-5-1) took down the Pittsburgh Penguins (11-5-3) on the road, scoring five unanswered goals and coming out of the PPG Paints Arena with a 5-2 win.

Antti Raanta started in net, his first start of his career against the Penguins, and secured his fifth win of the season with a solid 29 save effort. He remains undefeated with a 5-0-0 record with a 2.05 GAA and a .938 save percentage.

In the team’s first game without Mika Zibanejad, out for the next 6-8 weeks with a broken fibula, the depth of the Rangers shone through. Kevin Hayes and JT Miller, both playing on the top line, stepped up big time, with each of them scoring a goal. Michael Grabner scored his team best 12th goal of the season, at even strength yet again. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers look to even up the series in Pittsburgh; McIlrath back in the lineup

Bobby Bevilacqua

Rangers vs Penguins 3-13

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After a Hornqvist hat trick and a Penguins win in Game 1, the Rangers will look to steal home-ice advantage and even up the series today at the CONSOL Energy Center.

In the playoffs, the road team aims to take just one of the games away from their home stadium, and that’s what the Rangers need to do here. A win tonight would send the series back to MSG, with the series tied at one, and playing on home ice where the Rangers have an impressive record of 27-10-4.

The Penguins were backstopped by third string goalie Jeff Zatfkoff, who was stellar in Game 1, making 35 saves and keeping the Blueshirts at bay. Pittsburgh’s top players outperformed the Rangers best players, and some shoddy defense on New York’s part cost them a game. Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists, Patric Hornqvist scored a hat trick and picked up an assist, and Kris Letang had a pair of assists. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers Practice Report; Dan Girardi will not play tomorrow, Lundqvist returns to the ice

Bobby Bevilacqua

dan girardi skating 12-6

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers practiced today ahead of Game 2 against the Penguins tomorrow, and Henrik Lundqvist was back on the ice in full gear, practicing with the rest of the team. Dan Girardi was absent, and it was revealed by Alain Vigneault that he would not play tomorrow due to an injury.

The Rangers recalled goaltender Magnus Hellberg from Hartford yesterday just in case they got bad news about Lundqvist. But after seeing a specialist, there is no real damage to his eye, and the concern is about the swelling around his eye (per John Shannon). Lundqvist said his vision was blurry after the incident, but got better as the night went on. Andrew Gross of The Record said that Lundqvist looked sharp in practice.

Henrik Lundqvist will be a game time decision. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers open round one on the road vs Pittsburgh; Fleury a game time decision

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs penguins 3-3

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After a tumultuous regular season, the Rangers open up the playoffs tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins, looking to get things started on the right foot in their latest quest for a Stanley Cup Championship.

This marks the third consecutive season that the Rangers and Penguins will meet in the playoffs, and the second straight year that they play in Round 1. Two years ago, the Rangers came back from a 3-1 series deficit, without having home ice advantage. Last year, Derick Brassard opened the scoring 28 seconds into the playoffs and Carl Hagelin sent the Penguins home packing after a Game 5 overtime winner. The Rangers had home ice in that series.

The mentality in the Rangers locker room since training camp was getting back to the playoffs and finishing what they’ve started, what they’ve been so close to accomplishing in three of the last four seasons. They haven’t made it easy on themselves, and face a tough road ahead, but this is a team full of hungry guys as well as veterans who realize their window may be closing. And that makes this playoff series a special one, and one with potentially a lot more riding on it. Read the rest of this entry

Series Preview, Round 1: Rangers vs Penguins

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs penguins game 1 faceoff 4-16

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

This matchup seems quite familiar.

For the third consecutive season, the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins will face off in the playoffs, as the long time rivalry between the teams continues to intensify through intense playoff matchups.

The Rangers have won both of the playoff series in the past two years, including a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit in 2014 after rallying around the death of Martin St. Louis’ mother. That series saw the double goal in overtime from Benoit Pouliot, a St. Louis goal on Mothers’ Day, and a clutch Game 7 win with some excellent goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist. Read the rest of this entry