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
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