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The King Conquers The Kings: Lundqvist turns in third straight excellent performance

Marc Weissman

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Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Thanks 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

Puempel hat trick, four power play goals give Rangers a win over the Coyotes

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The Rangers (25-12-1) came into Arizona to face the lowly Coyotes (11-20-5), but it was an extremely close game in Glendale, one that took four power play goals and a hat trick from Matt Puempel to secure a 6-3 victory.

Puempel scored all three goals on the power play, becoming just the third Ranger to score a power play hat trick since 1986. Marc Messier (3/22/92) and Mike Gartner (1/31/94) were the other two. It was also his first career hat trick.

This was a mixed bag for the Rangers. They did a lot of things right. The offensive effort was strong, with the Rangers generating a lot of quality chances and shots, the power play running at full efficiency, and all four lines playing well in both zones. But they allowed the Coyotes to hang around and chip away at their lead until they tied the game at three. The defensive effort wasn’t all that great either. Realistically, this should have been an easy win, but the way they played at times made it difficult on themselves. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers back on home ice as they battle the Senators; Brassard comes back to MSG

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers (15-6-1) were lucky to escape Philly with a win, but they’ll look to start another win streak tonight when they take on the Ottawa Senators (13-7-1) to kick off a brief two game home stand.

The Rangers were badly outshot, 42-23, in their win over the Flyers, and were able to secure a win thanks to an exceptional goaltending performance from Henrik Lundqvist. Goals from Derek Stepan, Matt Puempel and Kevin Hayes were enough for Hank to steal a victory.

The Senators also won their last game, giving them three straight wins to put them in second place in their division. Dion Phaneuf and Kyle Turris both found the back of the net and Craig Anderson made 30 saves to pick up a win over Carolina. Read the rest of this entry

Could Oscar Lindberg be part of a trade for a defenseman?

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Yesterday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers saw Matt Puempel make his debut as a Ranger just three days after he was claimed off of waivers. He had no points and a minus-five rating in 13 games with the Senators, but Vigneault gave him an opportunity on the fourth line.

It wound up paying off, as the 23-year-old former first round pick played a pretty good game, skating for 12 minutes and scoring a goal. Puempel described himself as an offensive player (213 points in 195 OHL games) and that he was looking forward to a fresh start. Perhaps that’s just what he needed, as a change of scenery can do wonders for a player.

But Puempel’s insertion into the lineup meant that Oscar Lindberg was the healthy scratch. Lindberg has played mostly out of necessity because of injuries, and has only appeared in nine of the team’s 22 games, recording no goals and one assists. Read the rest of this entry

Lundqvist leads Rangers to a win past the Flyers; Hayes records 100th career point

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Matt Puempel gets hi fives from teammates after scoring in his Ranger debut. Photo courtesy of Led Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images.

The Rangers (15-6-1) got back in the win column in a thrilling victory over the Flyers (9-10-3), mainly due to a fantastic performance from Henrik Lundqvist, who made 40 saves in this game.

Alain Vigneault’s squad did a better job of scoring today than they did against the Penguins, but the Flyers still managed 42 shots on goal, which was 19 more than the Rangers had. Realistically, Lundqvist stole this game away because the Rangers could have easily lost this game.

It’s slowly becoming the norm where the Rangers get outshot and post pretty dismal possession numbers, but still come away with a win. They’ll win either because they score a lot of goals with an unsustainable shooting percentage, or the goalie performs extremely well. Over the course of a whole season, that is not what you want, because there will be regression. Read the rest of this entry