Rangers Rumors & News
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Rangers Senators HockeyThe Rangers are up, beating the slumping Penguins and playing with emotion and passion for a change, which seems to be the exception and not the rule. They’re down, losing to Montreal, with a lack of discipline and a subpar outing by Henrik Lundqvist. They’re in between, losing in a shootout to Buffalo. And they’re up again, winning in Ottawa. Besides the march to the penalty box in the third period against Montreal and being stoned by Ryan Miller, it was a good week for the Blueshirts. But if they don’t find some consistency and figure out what kind of team they are, the season will be over sooner than later. This week they go to the Island on Tuesday, Chicago on Friday (8:30 start) and Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon (12:30). Three tough games. But they’re all tough for the Blueshirts. Here’s what happened this past week.

Monday vs. Pittsburgh: Won 4-0 – Lundqvist was the star with his first shutout of the season, and with the win is the fifth goalie in NHL history to start his career with four straight 20 win seasons. The team actually fought hard for the puck, and took advantage of special teams play. They were 2 for 7 on the power play and 7 for 7 on the PK. Nigel Dawes, Paul Mara, Chris Drury and Scott Gomez all had a goal and an assist. And is that the same Wade Redden out there? He’s a new man since he decked Washington’s Chris Clark. Random question: Do we need to mention Tom Renney switched his lines again?

Quote of the Day, Chris Drury: “It was probably our most complete game of the year.”

As the Lineup Turns: Aaron Voros in, Lauri Korpikoski and Dan Fritsche out.

Wednesday vs. Montreal: Lost 6-3 – Hank was not the star of this one. He committed two gaffes that led to the first two goals, and let in five altogether. Still, the game was winnable, with the score knotted at two after two. But the team fell apart in the third, with three straight penalties, and before you can say, “Why is Aaron Voros playing instead of Lauri Korpikoski?” the Canadiens had a 4-2 lead. The game wasn’t as disastrous as the score indicated, but the Rangers are good at falling apart (though there was some griping about the ‘inconsistent’ refereeing). Marc Staal was schooled by Robert Lang on Montreal’s fifth goal of the game. And the special teams were back to not being very special. They let in two power play goals, were 0-2 themselves with the man advantage and let up another shorty (though it was an empty-netter). Random question: Is Petr Prucha their best forward now?

Quote of the Day, Chris Drury: “They’re (Montreal) really strict in their system. It seems like they all know it, even the guys they call up adhere to it. You can see it in the routes they run and how well schooled they are. It wore us down in Montreal and again tonight.”  Hmm, is that a comment on his own coaching staff?

As the Lineup Turns:  Same lineup and lines as Monday.

Friday vs. Buffalo: Lost 2-1 (Shootout) – The discipline was there, but the goals weren’t. Ryan Miller and Steve Valiquette staged a goalie’s duel and took over the game. The Rangers dominated the first two periods (and outshot Buffalo for the game 44-33), but Miller saved Buffalo’s hyde. The Sabres outplayed the Blueshirts in the third, but it was Valiquette’s turn to save his team. The Rangers actually played team defense, and guess what, it does wonders for your goals against. And they amazingly committed no penalties – it’s the first time since 1999 that has happened. The fourth line was the best one on the ice for the Rangers. Paul Mara scored the only goal, with assists from Fredrik Sjostrom and Colton Orr, while Orr parked himself in front of the net and screened Miller. It was only the second loss in 10 shootouts for the Rangers. But they didn’t have their best weapons out there for this one. Lundqvist was on the bench, and Renney chose Drury (for sentimental reasons?) over Sjostrom. Big mistake. Michal Rozsival gashed his head against the corner of an open door at the Buffalo bench and it looked ugly. The Rangers had to play with five defensemen the rest of the game. Random question: While Rozsival’s been a big disappointment and Renney refuses to scratch him, do you want him to smash his head open to get him out of the lineup? Probably not. Buffalo wore their cool old-school unis for this one – I kept expecting to see the French Connection line out there.

Quote of the Day, Markus Naslund: “You can’t expect to win all the time.” That’s the kind of fire and will to win you want from your veteran leader. Who is he, Kevin McReynolds?

As the Lineup Turns:  Steve Valiquette in, Lundqvist out; Korpokoski back in (playing with Brandon Dubinsky and Nikolai Zherdev), Voros and Fritsche out.

Saturday vs. Ottawa: Won 2-0 – The King is back. He got his second shutout of the week, and was sharp all game long. Hopefully we’ve seen the last of his slump. A sight for sore eyes: Dubinsky and Korpikoski scored the goals. The last time they lit the lamp, the Jets were the trendy pick to go to the Super Bowl. Dubinsky’s goal was all started with some hard work by Prucha (as usual) followed by a nice move by Korpikoski. And the Korpedo’s goal was begun with some of Zherdev’s patented stickwork. The team tightened up their D again. Staal is inching ever so closely to the upper echelon level of defensemen (the one mishap vs. Montreal aside). And the Rangers were even scrappy throughout the match. Random question: Is there actually hope for the Triumvirate of Tragedy (Dmitri Kalinin, Redden and Rozsival)? They’re all playing much better.

Quote of the Day, Tom Renney: “From here on in, our game comes down to two things: Discipline and trust . . . trust your teammates, trust the guy behind the bench.”

As the Lineup Turns: Same lineup and lines as Friday.

Last Monday morning: 23-14-3, third place in Atlantic Division; Now: 25-15-4, second place in Atlantic.

Notes: Lundqvist was named to the All-Star game, and Staal and Dubinsky are going to play in the rookie-sophomore game. Brendan Shanahan signed with the Devils. Bobby Sanguinetti was called up as insurance in case Rozsival couldn’t go last night, but has been sent back down to Hartford.

Bag-O’-Knuckles-O-MeterPenguins Rangers Hockey

Colton Orr: 9

Aaron Voros: 7

Brandon Dubinsky: 3

Paul Mara: 3

Ryan Callahan: 2

Marc Staal: 2

Nigel Dawes: 1

Dan Girardi: 1

Petr Prucha: 1

Wade Redden: 1

Nikolai Zherdev: 1

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