Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sometimes Nothing Is The Best Thing - Rangers stand pat - beat Devils 2-0.

Boom! (Shakalaka!)

Just like that - the Rangers are back!

Glen Sather thought long and hard about busting up the team that leads the NHL East. He thought about offering players and picks to Columbus for star forward Rick Nash.

But for once - Glen did the right thing - nothing. So - the Rangers could go back to playing hockey without looking over their shoulders - without worrying that they were being scouted for possible trades. The team wanted to stay together - they earned the right - and in the end they got their wish.

And so - the team avenged a recent 1-0 loss to the Devils with a tightly fought 2-0 shut down of the team named for Satan last night.

The Rangers let up just 13 shots on goal. 13 shots. That's like one period worth of shots - but that's all we let up. And Hank handled them all.

And on offense we had the dynamic duo of Callahan and Hagelin. The Captain set up Hags from behind the goal line and the Michigan Rookie beat Broduer late in the first. Then - with Marty pulled in the last 2 minutes - Hags showed his amazing skating speed to beat everyone to the puck and feed Callahan for the easiest goal you'll ever see - a point-blank empty netter.

We win - we forget about Nash - and move on. Good deal.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Rangers losing streak shuffles off its mortal coil (to Buffalo)

You can feel Rick Nash and the trade rumors hanging over the Ranger's collective head. I have no doubt that it has been a primary cause of our struggles lately. Nash or no Nash - we'll feel better when it's all over.

Anyway -a losing streak is dead - at least for the moment. And you know - we are a streaky team. Sure enough after struggling recently the New York Rangers once again could not win in regulation.

But we did win in OT.

A good outing where our guys showed their toughness - twice fighting back to tie from one goal deficits.

And then - in OT - Captain Ryan Callahan scored on Ryan Miller to win the game. It was Cally's 100th NHL goal and he was mobbed by happy teammates in a spontaneous celebration that please the Garden faithful and coach John Tortorella.

The come-back goals were by rookie Hagelin and Marian Gaborik. And there were assists by Richards, Staal, Del Zotto, McDonaugh, and Hagelin (again).

We again outshot and out hit our opponents.

But the big test is Monday night against the Red Hot Devils. And with the trade deadline looming - the stakes are higher.

Let's Go Rangers.
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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Islanders top Rangers for 3rd loss in 4 games. (Can we get Avery back now?)

Ug. Or should I say: Oy!

The Islanders beat us. The Islanders.

Now before we panic – it was Marty Biron - who has suddenly not been that great backup goalie we saw earlier in the season (time for Chad “Dos Nueve” Johnson to try a start - anyone?)

If you want some positives – your man Dave Pucks is more than happy to dole them out:

1 – We fought back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to tie the game. (and from a 1-0 deficit in the shootout)

2 – We outhit the 'slanders 37-24.

3 – We outshot them 36-27

So there's that. And yeah – with Henrik Lundqvist in goal we win this contest.

We had goals by Gabby, Staal (yay!), and Stepan (who's penalty in OT negated our powerplay)

We had assist by Anisimov, Bickel,Gaborik, Mitchell (who missed the last shot in the shoot out), and Stralman.

Dave Pucks Star of the losing Game for Gaborik – who had a goal, assist, and shoot out tally.

5 Hits for Callahan. -2 for Del Zotto

Now let me say this. I will always and forever have warm and fuzzy feelings for one P. A. Parenteau – no matter what he does against our Rangers (scored 2 goals last night). And I think most of you know why.

On the last game of the season 2 years ago – the Rangers needed a win to make the 8th seed of the playoffs. We were playing the Flyers. We had a 1-0 lead on Jody Shelley's goal (why does this feel like 10 years ago?) but Philly tied us late and went to the shoot out.

Anyway – we were down 2-0 in the shootout. Our season was all but over. And P.A. Parenteau was taking the 2nd shot for the New York Rangers – staring down the abyss. One miss and we all go home for the year. And P. A. shot and scored. And the Rangers season continued. (In fact in continued another shot as Hank finally saved one.) (But don't get me started on Olli Jokenin's final moments as a NY Ranger...)

Anyway – I'll always remember P. A.'s shining moment in his Blue Shirt. So I don't feel that bad he got us for 2 goals.

The Rangers sputtering juggernaut careens on as the Sabres have come to town....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rangers fall 2-0 to Penguins

We fought.

We attacked.

We kept digging and working and moving the puck and trying.

But it just wasn't our night.

Still - the team wasn't lifeless. They kept trying for the full 60 minutes.

What I'm saying is - we lost to the Penguins 2-0 on the road - but we didn't quit.

We were outshot 31-27, however. But we out-hit the aquatic birds 30-18.

The powerplay once again let us down - going 0-3 while the 'Quins were 1 of 2. That's your difference right there.

There were time we looked like we were shorthanded - but we were at full strength.

So - tough night - but this is what life is like in first place. Everyone gets psyched up to play you.

Still - we battled and never gave up. In the long run I like our chances with Lundqvist over Marc-Andre. We'll get them next time.

I hope.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Goodbye Columbus - Rangers win 3-2 in OT.

It was an overtime the Rangers had hoped to avoid.

They led 2-1 over the Columbus Blue Jackets (they still don't sound like a real team to me). There was less than 2 minutes to go. Columbus Goalie Steve Mason was pulled - reduced to watching the action from off the ice (like the rest of us).

Hank had let up just one goal. We were all tired from the earlier Lin-sanity Knick win in the same day in the same building and wanted to get home.

But Rick Nash - star forward and the target of some big Ranger Trade rumors - had his own ideas.

All we needed was puck possession and a shot at an empty net. We didn't get it. Instead - Rick Nash beat Lundqvist and instead of heading home, we were headed to overtime (see what I did there?)

As the Ranger fans chanted "we don't want you" to Nash (hopefully heard by Glen Sather) we settled down in our seats and prepared for some Overtime.

As it turned out - we didn't get much.

In the first half minute of extra time Michael Del Zotto took a pass from Gaborik and faked a shot at Mason that was really a sneaky pass to Derek Stepan. Steps directed the brilliant feed toward a big empty portion of net - the buzzer sounded - the Rangers mobbed Stepan - and we all went home happy.

Goals for Anisimov, Richards, and of course Stepan.

Two big assists for Del Zotto and singles for Gaborik, Mitchell, Girardi, and Hagelin

Hank's save percentage was .913%. Mason's was slightly better at .914%, but the Ranger offense and defense won the day by getting 12 more shots on goal than their Ohio opponents.

So the first place Rangers roll on and the trade deadline creeps up on us. Let's hope Sather has enough sense to not mess with something that's working. This one time, anyway. Please Glen?

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Breathing Room? Rangers wheeze their way to 4 goal deficit - lose 4-2 to Blackhawks

If you forget the first 10 minutes - the Rangers have 2-0 win for Marty Biron. You have goals by Marc Staal and Carl Hagelin. You have assists by Rupp Eminger, Callahan and McDonaugh

But we can't forget the first 10 minutes - no matter how much we'd like to.

A very rough start to the game by 2 rangers:

Dan Girardi was called for closing his hand on the puck - resulting in a penalty shot for the first Blackhawk goal - and then for trying and failing to pinch in - twice - leading to breakaway goals by Sharp and Hossa.

Marty Biron - looking to bounce back from a prior loss - let in 3 goals on his first 4 shots - for an .250 save percentage that Dave Pucks does not remember ever seeing in quite some time. In Biron's defence - the Rangers defense let him down early - giving up breakaways and the aforementioned penalty "kick".

Marty eventually raised his save percentage to .810, but, still, bad start and bad night. You could see Henrik Lundqvist looking embarrassed for his teammate.

Good call by Torts not pulling Biron. Hank needed the rest and Marty needed some saves to get his mojo back.

In the end we outshot the Hawks - but the damage was done.

Our so-called breathing room over the 2nd place Bruins dropped from 9 to 5 points in a big hurry. But then - it may be a good thing for the Rangers to need to keep sharp as they head towards the playoffs.

And the Rangers next game has been moved from a 7:30pm to an 8:00pm start - let's hope that gets us safely past the first ten minutes of bad play we saw last night.

- unrelated note - my condolences to the Gary Carter family. The Kid was the best Catcher of his era and the missing piece that put the Mets over the top in 1986. His hit in the World Series in the bottom of the 10th with 2 outs and the bases empty and the season about to end: that was pure excellence in the toughest situation a batter can face in Marjor League Baseball. They can never take that away from Gary - and we'll never forget his joy for the game. A great Met - a great Catcher - and great person. We'll miss you, kid.
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Caps fall to Rangers 3-1 as Prust gets a Shorty!


He's back!

I mean - he's been playing for the Rangers all year - but the "Pruster" we knew and love from last season was not quite here this season.

Because one of the key aspects of Brandon's game last year was his ability to be an unstoppable force on the penalty kill. He would swoop into the forecheck - hound the point, steal the puck - and quite often net a shorthanded goal.

These shorty's were huge because they broke the opponent's spirit and got them off their powerplay game. Because it's hard to score when you're worried about being scored on.

On Sunday - against Ovechkin (or what's left of him) and the Capitals - with the score a tight 2-1 in the third and the Caps on the PowerPlay....


A ShortHanded Goal!

And suddenly the Rangers were up 3-1. They hung on to win 3-2 and the Rangers completed the weekend double sweep to stay first in the East.

In addition to Prust, Captain Callahan scored his 4th of the weekend and McDonaugh got his 5th of the year.

Assists for Dubinsky (a pair), Stralman, Staal, Richards and Boyle

The Ranger stuck to what they have been working all year. They outshot the caps 26-24. They outhit them 37-20. They blocked shots. And they left it up to Lundqvist - who had a .923 save percentage and once again - outperformed the opposing goalie.

When the team plays defense and grinds their offense - they win. And once again - win they did. And if Prust can be the Prust of last season - look out!

Happy Valentines Day everybody.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Rangers overcome Lighting (and their own Goalie) to win 4-3 in OT

Say what you will about these New York Rangers - they always find a way to fight back.

Stung by a 1-0 shutout against their hated Devil rivals - the Rangers came out hard against the Tampa Bay Lighting Thursday night at the Garden.

They out-hit the bolts 37-13. They outshot them 31-17. Those numbers usually mean victory.

But last night - they found themselves trailing 3-2 midway through the third period.

The difference, unfortunately was Marty Biron, who has had two less-than-stellar outings in a row now. This was 82 percent save percentage bad - letting in 3 goals and making just 14 saves.

We love Marty - and we hope he bounces back soon.

But credit the Rangers for fighting through it and somehow getting the win.

Boyle's goal midway through the third tied it. And then Brad Richards perked up and scored the game winner in overtime.

In addition to Boyle and Brad - there were goals by Captain Callahan (Its a Power Play Goal) and Stepan.

Assists for Del Zotto (2 of them), Gaborik, Stepan, Hagelin, Girardi, Anisimov, and Stralman. And Girardi ended up +2 on the night.

And so - our first place Rangers roll on toward the playoffs. It feels weird to not be looking at the 8th place standing at this time of year - but the good kind of weird.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It should have been a goal

That's all I'm saying. Gaborik was pushed. He tried to stop.

It should have been a goal.

And now - the Devils have beaten us 5 straight and are only 6 points behind us.

We lost 1-0 to a Jersey team that has turned their season around with an old goalie who may be making one final skate for glory.

But - plenty of hockey left to play. It's just one game. But still...

It should have been a goal.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rangers Win On Super Sunday

Your man Dave Pucks and my son Pucks Junior are huge New York Giants fans. But on Superbowl Sunday we had an important stop to make before the game came on the TV

We were headed to Madison Square Garden for the Rangers-Flyers game.

And we were not disappointed. It was our first meeting since the Winter Classic. The Flyers were out for some payback - but the Rangers weren't buying.

Philly fought back to tie the game at 1-1 and 2-2, but the Rangers kept coming - Lendqvist kept saving pucks, and in the end an empty netter had us up singing the goal song for the 5th time in a 5-2 win.

It was great to see Artem Anisimov come back to life - grabbing the opening goal and 2 later assists - but somehow keeping himself off the "star of the game" roster.

The game's best sequence was Gaborik - slowly rising from a crushing hit he took in the offensive left corner - getting the puck back - and then with his back to the goal he launches a perfect no-look backhander that beats the defenseman and goaltender to put the Rangers back in the lead.

Gabby had that goal, an assist and a plus 3. We told you about Anisimov. Also goals for Dublinksy, Del Zotto, and Feds with the empty netter. Two assists for Stepan. And single assists for Boyle, Hagelin, Prust, Richards, and Girardi.

And in case you made the Rangers-Giants bet in Vegas: Richards had more points (1) than Eli had interceptions (0).

We outshot and out hit the Flyers. Hank lost his long shut out streak - but played well and got the win and a 2nd star of the game.

At the end we all chanted at the Flyers "You Can't Beat Us". So - a fun sports day that got a lot more fun for us Giant's fans later on.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Shut Out and Shoot Out - Rangers beat Buffalo

Ryan Miller shut out the Rangers Wednesday night in Buffalo.

And lost.

The Rangers - looking to bounce back from a tough shoot out loss Tuesday to the hated Devils - the Rangers stormed into Buffalo - took the ice aginst the Sabres....

And were held scoreless by Sabre goalie Ryan Miller.

Thank goodness we have Henrik Lundqvuist. The King faced more shots that Miller - but kept the Rangers deadlocked at zero through 60 minutes of regulation and and extra 5 minutes of OT.

So - for the second time in as many nights - it came down to the shootout. Luckily this time the Devil's Kovalchuk was nowhere to be seen.

And so - when Gaborik scored in round 1 the Rangers looked good. But Mitchell and Richards failed to light the buzzer and when Pominville scored in round three - we were deadlocked once again.

Hank kept stopping the Sabres. Stepan could not convert in round four. But finally - in round 5 - it was Captain Callahan with a 20 foot wrist shot that finally ended to contest.

Tough loss for a resurgent Ryan Miller - who let up zero goals in regulation and OT and still could not out-duel Henrik.

This time the shootout went our way. So in the back-to-back games the Rangers had 2 shootouts, one shut out, and 3 points. Next it's 3 days off followed by a rematch of the Winter Classic - the Flyers at MSG on Superbowl Sunday.

And oh yeah - Dave Puck and Pucks Junior will be there!

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

No Fun Being The Over-Dog - Rangers fall 4-3 to Devils in Shoot Out.

So this is how it feels.

For countless years, Ranger fans remember this situation from the other side.

Because for years it was the Devils at the top of the league and the Rangers as the aspiring challengers.

And we remember how it felt. How excited we would get to play the top team. How pumped we would be when the game was competitive. And how psyched and happy we were to pull out a come-from-behind win,

But last night the tables were turned.

And I know it's just one game - a regualr season game at that. And I know we used Biron instead of Lundqvist. And I know we still got a point.

But it still hurts to watch the Devils jumping and hugging

When Kovalchuk scored with 4:35 left in regulation the Rangers were looking at at 2-2 tie. But just 36 sceonds later it was Del Zotto who out the Rangers back up 3-2.

And it would have - could have - should have ended right there except for a crazy bounce off the boards in the game's 60th minute. Andy Green's dump along the boards took a magic bullet bounce directly on the stick of Clarkson - alone in front of Biron. Clarkson ties the game with 48 seconds left.

From there - OT - an a shootout - where the unreal Kovalchuk made it an amazing 8 goals in 9 shoot out attempts.

Ranger goals for Stalman (!), Boyle, and Delzy. Two assists each for Gabby and Hags, and one each for Bickel and Prust.

Marty Biron stopped 26 of 29 shots, slightly outdoing Marty Brodeur's 23 of 26.

So in the first half of the season the Rangers have made it to the top of the mountain. But can we stay there? And, in fact - should we stay there? The top point winner doesn't traditionally win the cup. If anything it's detrimental.

Anyway - back on the horse tonight as we face Buffalo up north. Let's go Rangers.

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