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RUMOR MILL

Thursday - March 25th

With 18 days remaining until the NHL trade deadline, all is relatively quiet on the Rangers front.

Not unexpectedly, the Rangers are probably going to be minor players this time round, without much in the way of short term assets they would be looking to part with.

Clearly they would look at offers for those on short term or expiring contracts like Brendan Smith, Ryan Strome, Jack Johnson and perhaps the likes of Colin Blackwell.


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SEPTEMBER 24TH, 2014
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Question Of The Day

September 29th, 2017

How many rostered players were on the ice for opening night 2016-17

Answer...
  BIRTHDAYS

Norm Lowe - 1928
Tom Laidlaw - 1958
Kevin Lowe - 1959
Kevin Stevens - 1965
Daniel Paille - 1984

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  RANDOM RANGER

CAM CONNOR
(1979-1983)
  Born: Aug 10 - 1954  
  Pos: Right Wing  
  GP: 28  
  G: 1  
  A: 6  
  Pts: 7  
  PIMs: 81  
 

Cally Tallies In Opening Win
Posted by Toby Ivey ≡ - April 9, 2008

by Toby Ivey

The Rangers have drawn the all important first blood in their best of seven series, cancelling out the Devils' home ice advantage with a hard fought 4-1 win. Scott Gomez turned in another big game against his former club, recording assists on the first three Rangers' goals, and Henrik Lundqvist continued his dominance with his eighth win of the season against New Jersey.

The game was much closer than the scoreboard would suggest, and was tied 0-0 after the first twenty minutes, a period that the Devils had the better of for all but the final couple of minutes. The Rangers appeared a little nervous to start with, and were guilty of several unforced turnovers in their own zone that gave the Devils some quality scoring chances. New York did manage to mount some pressure late, and finished the perido even in shots and on the power play.

It would be shortly after the power play had expired that the Rangers opened up their account with a big goal from veteran Brendan Shanahan. With Scott Gomez skating to the net, Shanahan sent a well timed wrister towards the net, and it beat both Brodeur and the post.

The Devils fought back to tie in later in the period, scoring on their second power play opportunity. Martin Straka broke his stick soon after the face off, and despite several blocked shots, the Rangers could not regain control of the puck and ultimately gave up the tying goal. The goal rejeuvenated the home team, and they continued that dominance into the third period with some significant pressure through the first five minutes to draw their third power play opportunity on a Michal Rozsival stick hold.

But the man advantage would turn to a disadvantage when Ryan Callahan skated around the net to poke his own rebound home with Martin Brodeur seemingly mesmorized by a loose puck in the crease. The game would remain in the balance until late in the third when Scott Gomez again stepped up. As he was checked, Gomez had the presence of mind to pass the puck back out in front of the net and into the skates of Sergei Brylin to allow Sean Avery a simple tap in for the Rangers' third goal.

Nigel Dawes converted on a 2 on 0 with Brodeur on the bench, and the Rangers sealed an important victory.

Turning Point
The Devils came out with plenty of pressure in the third, registering the first eight shots and earning a power play in the process. With the Blueshirts shorthanded, a bit of Callahan hard work resulted in a 2-1 Rangers lead.

Scott Gomez and Ryan Callahan broke in on the rush, Gomez feeding Callahan for a bad angle shot that Brodeur could not handle cleanly. With the puck trickling through the crease, the veteran netminder inexplicably stood and watched, giving Callahan enough time to jab the loose puck behind the veteran.

Offense
Though they weren't rewarded on the scoresheet, the Jagr line were probably the most consistent offensive line for the Rangers all night, and perhaps more importantly controlled the puck for large portions of the game. Brandon Dubinsky and Jaromir Jagr in particular held the puck well, and both appeared too strong for the Devils when they carried the puck. Martin Straka contributed well at both ends, and made plays at both ends, either on the forecheck or coming back to cover defensively.

The Gomez line had a slow start to the game, and were under pressure through much of the first period. When they were on the ice, they seemed unable to get the puck away from the Devils when playing in their own zone. That all changed in the second, when Scott Gomez in particular appeared to get things going. Brendan Shanahan cashed in on his 59th career playoff goal, wristing a shot just inside the near post with Scott Gomez skating in for the screen.

Gomez picked up primary assists on the first three Rangers' goals, including a pass back in front of the net to set up Sean Avery late in the third. Avery too appeared to get his game going a little in the second period, and although he wasn't at his agitating best, he drew two of the Rangers' three power plays on the night.

The Chris Drury line looked good in the first period, and seemed (along with the Jagr line) the most likely to score. Ryan Callahan was his usual hard skating, forechecking self, and laid more hits on the Devils than any of the other Rangers forwards. Callahan's effort was rewarded on the PK when he took a shot at the net while shorthanded and then followed it up to jab the lose puck into the net for the game winner. Nigel Dawes had a quietly effective night, making a key shot block in the third, and picking up the empty net goal to make it 4-1. For his part, Chris Drury was called on for any special effort, but he quietly helped on the defensive side, and on the PK.

The fourth line saw little ice time through the game, and struggled in the first period when given the opprortunity. They came back though, and in the 2nd and 3rd periods had good pressure in the offensive zone, and added some hitting, particularly from Hollweg and Betts.

Defense
Marc Staal paired with Michal Rozsival to play the most of any of the Rangers' defensemen on the night. Staal had a credible night, and while he didn't stand out, he was largely mistake free. Michal Rozsival had a fairly steady game, though he did make one error that resulted in Aaron Asham hitting the post over a turnover during the second period.

With the Devils forechecking aggressively, Rozsival made a weak attempt to push the puck behind the net before he was hit along the boards, the play resulted in a turnover that was quickly fed out to a charging Asham for the shot. Rozsival improved later in the third, and made a couple of nice plays along the Rangers' back boards to force turnovers, he also lead the team with 4 blocked shots.

If anything, Fedor Tyutin looked the least experienced of the Rangers d-men, making several mistakes during the game. During the first period he lost the puck without pressure as the only man back, allowing Sergei Brylin to go in on Lundqvist alone. Brylin went high, but hit the cross-bar, giving Tyutin a reprieve. Tyutin made another mistake on the one goal against, failing to block Martin's shot, as the Devils' defenseman simply waited until Tyutin slid by before taking his shot.

His partner Dan Girardi started off slowly, and had a turnover of his own in the first that resulted in Brian Gionta shooting high over the net, but as the game went on, Girardi settled down, and looked one of the steadier defenders by the final buzzer.

Christian Backman had a steady game in just his first post season action since 2004. Backman appeared to be plaing a low-risk game, and it resulted in a mistake free game. Paul Mara returned to the line-up, and as is usual for the veteran defender, had an up and down game. Mara took a penalty holding up a Devils' forecheck unnecessarily, and at times was out of position with the Devils forceheckign. Like most of the Rangers' d-men, Mara appeared to settle down a little as the game progressed, and likely played well enough to remain in the line-up.
Goaltending
With the game on the line, Henrik Lundqvist stepped up an stopped Patrik Elias with a save reminiscent of the two that robbed Zach Parise in the season finale. Lundqvist got it this time with the pad, but it was nevertheless a big time save, and ensured the game stayed 1-1 at a critical juncture.

Lundqvist made several good saves after the Devils had tied the game, but was well positioned and for the most part saw the rebounds go to open ice, or directly in front of him to allow him to cover it up. He got help from two crossbars and a post, but as Tom Barrasso would say...they were going wide anyway.

On the one goal he did give up, Lundqvist would probably have liked to have it back. In good position, he was in a half butterfly and the puck found space between his pad and stick, going 5-hole.

Special Teams
The Rangers earned three power play chances in the game, but were unable to get anything going on the first two chances. The third opportunity however saw good chances by both units, and the Rangers managed four shots on goal as well as a bunch of chances.

The Rangers will likely be disappointed over all though with their play, noting that they had difficulty adjusting to the Devils' pressure and not able to get anything towards the net.

On the PK, the Rangers could well have been perfect if not for a broken stick to Martin Straka. With Straka missing a stick, the Rangers were unable to clear, and spent a lengthy period of time in their own zone before Paul Martin wristed a shot through Lundqvist's five-hole. On the remaining penalties, Lundqvist was only called on to make saves on a couple of occasions.

Power Play: 0 for 3
Penalty Kill: 3 for 4

Injury Notes
The Rangers made it through the game without any injuries despite both Sean Avery and Jaromir Jagr getting hit in the face with the puck.

Fight Card
There were no fights in the game

Milestones and Notes
The Rangers are out to a 1-0 lead for just the second time against the Devils in the playoffs. The Devils had won three straight Game 1's going back to 1994.

Henrik Lundqvist evened up his post season record at 7-7, and earned his first post season win against the Devils since he went 0-3 back in 2006. Lundqvist now is 11-1-3 against the Devils since the 2006 playoffs.

Ryan Callahan scored his first post season game winner, and his first short handed goal. It was the first short handed goal by a Ranger in the playoffs since 1997 when Esa Tikkanen scored one against the Flyers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Brendan Shanahan scored his 6th post season goal as a Ranger, and he now leads all current Rangers in playoff goals. It was the 59th post season goal of his career. Shanahan also had an opportunity to score into the empty net, but handed it off to Nigel Dawes for his first post season goal and his first plaoff point.

Fedor Tyutin had a tough night, but both he and Dan Girardi finished a +3 on the night. Fredrik Sjostrom registered a secondary assist on Sean Avery's goal, it was the first post season point of his career.

Fredrik Sjostrom, Brandon Dubinsky and Marc Staal made their playoff debuts. Chris Drury, Christian Backman and Scott Gomez made their Rangers' post season debut.

The Rangers went 31-25 in the faceoff circle, with Chris Drury (14-4) and Scott Gomez (9-5) leading the way.

Starting Lines
Straka - Dubinsky - Jagr
Avery - Gomez - Shanahan
Dawes - Drury - Callahan
Sjostrom - Betts - Hollweg

Tyutin-Girardi
Staal-Rozsival
Mara-Backman

Lundqvist
Valiquette

Marek Malik - Healthy Scratch
Colton Orr - Injury (Toe)
Petr Prucha - Healthy Scratch
Jason Strudwick - Healthy Scratch

Next Game
Game 2 of the series is Friday night in Newark (7:00pm - MSG)


Profile of the Author:
Has been an active follower of the New York Rangers since the 1996-97 season. Began OutsideTheGarden.com in 2001, and has continued to collect data and provide analysis on the team through to the current day.

 Additional stories from Toby Ivey:


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