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New York Rangers Vs. LA Kings Preview: the Lovable Underdog Blueshirts?

June 3rd, 2014 at 2:40 PM
By Ricky Cibrano

The New York Rangers have been many things in their 88-year history: the villain, the big-city big-budget fat cats, the retirement home for past-their-prime vets, and of course, perhaps most frequently, the underachievers. Plucky underdog is not a role this franchise historically fills, but it's the one these Blueshirts find themselves in as they get set to take on the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Consider this: to get to the finals, the Kings knocked off the leagues second best team (the Anaheim Ducks), the fifth best team (the San Jose Sharks), and the defending champions, the powerhouse Chicago Blackhawks. You could make a compelling case that any of those three teams would best the Rangers more often than not in a best of 7 format. LA is just two years removed from winning the cup themselves, and have since added a 40-goal scorer in Marian Gaborik to a championship group that remains largely unchanged otherwise. 

So yes, the Rangers will be billed as the underdog headed into their first cup finals in twenty years; the overachiever, the team that overcame the personal loss of a star player to rally from a three-to-one deficit. But if these Blueshirts have taught us anything, it's not to write them off too soon.

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It Might not Have to Last a Lifetime: New York Rangers Punch Their Ticket to First Finals Since ’94

May 30th, 2014 at 1:02 AM
By Ricky Cibrano

For the first time since 1994, the New York Rangers are headed to the Stanley Cup Finals, and this time, they didn't even need two overtimes to get there.

The Rangers dominated the apparently exhausted Canadians in the 6th and final game of the Eastern Conference Finals, a contest which stood in stark contrast to the penultimate game 5. After the final horn sounded, the scoreboard read 1-0 Rangers, but the score alone didn't do justice to the Blueshirts' effort. The Rangers didn't break through until late in the second, when Dominic Moore finished off a Brian Boyle feed in front of the net, but up to that point, only Montreal's shot blocking — and Dustin Tokarski's stellar goaltending — had kept them in the game.

After searching all playoffs long for a killer instinct, the Blueshirts appeared to find it in the third period.

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Derick Brassard Says He’s in, Derek Stepan “Unlikely” for Game 4

May 24th, 2014 at 2:59 PM
By Ricky Cibrano

Lose one Derek, get another Derick back. That appears to be the case for the New York Rangers headed into tomorrows' game 4 against the Montreal Canadians. Derick Brassard practiced today and said he's good to go after missing the past two games with an apparent shoulder injury. Derek Stepan, on the other hand, is still in the hospital following surgery to repair a broken jaw, and Alain Vigneault deemed him unlikely to play Sunday.

It's not unheard of to play through an injured jaw — Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf played through a possibly broken one after taking a slap shot to the face in round one — but for now, it appears Stepan will miss at least one game. When he does return, it will be with some added protection surrounding his damaged face. While some may cry foul that Brandon Prust received just a two game suspension — and rightfully so, three or four would've been more fitting — for taking out the Rangers' center, it would still be wise to bet that Stepan see's the ice again before Prust does.

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Toppled by Tokarski: Rookie Tender Comes up Big as New York Rangers Fall to Habs in OT

May 23rd, 2014 at 3:40 AM
By Ricky Cibrano

"Dustin who?" Would've been the answer you received had you asked even the most well-informed hockey fans who Dustin Tokarski was seven days ago. A week later, and the rookie netminder still may not be a household name, but you can bet they'll be singing his name from the rafters in Montreal tonight. 

Tokarski, making his second career playoff start — and first on the road — turned aside 35 shots as his Montreal Canadians beat the Rangers 3-2 in overtime, preventing the Blueshirts from seizing a 3-0 vice grip on the series. The two teams traded fortunate bounces throughout — Chris Kreider's game-tyer in the waning moments deflected in off Alexei Emelin's skate, while Danny Briere's go-ahead goal minutes before was inadvertently swept in by Ryan McDonagh — but the final bounce belonged to Montreal's Alex Galchenyuk, who just happened to be cruising past the net when Henrik Lundqvist steered a rebound seemingly towards the glass…but instead struck the Habs forward and deflected into the net.

  • Strange game. The only goal of the five scored that would be described as "normal" was Andrei Markov's tally. Carl Hagelin's opening salvo was anything but ordinary, and the rest were a calamity of odd bounces and unfortunate luck.
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Where Did That Come from? New York Rangers Pummel Montreal 7-2, Seize 1-0 Series Lead

May 17th, 2014 at 5:48 PM
By Ricky Cibrano

Poll any national panel of experts heading into this series, and they would've agreed uniformly on one thing: it would be low scoring. Apparently no one told the Rangers.

The Blueshirts thrashed the stunned Canadian's by a final count of 7-2 in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, rendering the normally boisterous Montreal crowd mute — save for a few boos. The Rangers dominated the opening frame, and lead 2-0 after one on goals by Martin St. Louis — of course — and Mats Zuccarello, both set up Dominic Moore. Rene Bourque made it a game in the second — a period Montreal controlled — trimming the Blueshirts lead to one, but Chris Kreider and Brad Richards scored 49 seconds apart late in the frame, effectively ending this one early. 

  • The garbage time tally read 3-1 Blueshirts, but one of those three was a biggie — the stars, sun, and moon all aligned perfectly, and Rick Nash, in his 15th playoff game, finally erased the goose egg in his goal column. The hope is big 61 — who undoubtedly has been squeezing the stick a bit too tight in the playoffs — got the monkey off his back and will now turn his postseason around.
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