Posted April 06, 2012 on
AP on Fox
New York Rangers
The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals face off in Saturday night's season finale at Madison Square Garden, and could be back there again next week to meet in the first round of the playoffs for a second straight year.
While the Rangers are still playing for the Presidents' Trophy, the Capitals have more at stake and their goalie situation is suddenly a big concern.
Washington (41-32-8) clinched a playoff berth with Thursday's 4-2 win over Florida, coupled with Philadelphia beating Buffalo to eliminate the Sabres from contention. Alex Ovechkin scored his team-leading 37th goal for the Capitals, who won for the third time in four games since a devastating 5-1 home loss to Buffalo on March 27.
"To learn to win in these big games it's going to benefit us in the playoffs," forward Jay Beagle said. "These last two weeks we've been grinding out these wins and we've got to carry it over to the playoffs."
The Capitals are in eighth place and will stay there with a loss to the Eastern Conference champion Rangers (51-23-7). They can, however, overtake the Panthers to earn their fifth straight Southeast Division crown - and the East's No. 3 seed - with a win and a Florida regulation loss. The Panthers host lowly Carolina on Saturday night.
Washington also could move into seventh place if it wins while Ottawa loses in regulation at New Jersey.
The Rangers already have secured home-ice advantage throughout the East playoffs, and a win Saturday would guarantee their first Presidents' Trophy since the 1993-94 Stanley Cup-winning team.
Last season, it was New York which was the eighth seed and Washington which finished atop the East before opening the playoffs by ousting the Rangers in five games. New York has won two of three meetings this season.
While there are several playoff scenarios for the Capitals, their biggest focus is the health of their goaltenders.
Michal Neuvirth was hurt in the second period Thursday when the Panthers' Marco Strum fell on his left leg. Neuvirth, who has appeared in the last five games, couldn't put any weight on his left skate as Ovechkin and Karl Alzner helped him to the bench.
Coach Dale Hunter said Neuvirth is "day-to-day."
With Tomas Vokoun, the team leader with 25 wins and a 2.51 goals-against average, out indefinitely with a groin injury, the Capitals may have to turn to Braden Holtby.
Holtby made his sixth appearance of the season Thursday and stopped 12 of 14 shots. It was his first action since being pulled after yielding three goals on 18 shots in just over one period of work in last week's loss to Buffalo.
The Rangers had some fears about their goalie situation when Henrik Lundqvist had a swollen right forearm after Tuesday's victory over the Flyers, but he said during Thursday morning's skate that his arm was OK. He was given the night off as his team faced Pittsburgh, not playing for the first time in 11 games, but said he could have started if the matchup was crucial.
Lundqvist, whose 39 wins and 1.93 GAA are career bests, has posted a 1.25 GAA and two shutouts in winning his last four starts against Washington.
New York's biggest concern now may be the health of center Derek Stepan, who suffered a knee-to-knee hit from Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik in Thursday's 5-2 loss. Stepan, fourth on the Rangers in goals (17) and points (51), remained on the bench after the play.
"It's a cheap, dirty hit," coach John Tortorella said. "I wonder what would happen if we did it to their two whining stars over there. ... It's one of the most arrogant organizations in the league."
New York and Pittsburgh could possibly meet in the conference semifinals.
BEST OF MAXIM
War has been declared.
It was expected that the Pittsburgh Penguins would retaliate the first chance they got after Rangers head coach John Tortorella lashed out against them following last night's game, calling them an "arrogant" organization and referencing Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin as "whining stars".
But the actual retaliation, which came...
Steve Zipay at Newsday reports that Marty Biron will make the start in Pittsburgh tonight, while Mike Rupp, despite having a sore neck, will be back in the line-up which will remain the same....got to be honest, I'm shocked that Scott isn't subbing for someone tonight. Zipay also says that Henrik Lundqvist (right hand) was able to handle his stick fine during practice this...
Well, anyone who watched the game last night saw that in the third period, with the Penguins well on their way to a victory, Derek Stepan carried the puck through the neutral zone, and was hit by Brooks Orpik. The hit was a knee-on-knee hit, and Stepan was down on the ice for a while before skating to the bench. Video is below:
When watching the video, different angles show different...
It’s late and for that I apologise. On to the Musings.
The way Brad Richards has taken his game to a higher level recently is why the Rangers gave him the big dollars. He’s peaking at the right time heading in to the playoffs and the Rangers have a (legitimate) first line for the first time since the Jagr-Nylander-Straka years.
Ryan Callahan deserves a 30 goal season; hopefully...
While the New York Rangers have already clinched the top spot in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, the team still has two games left against two solid hockey clubs.
Tonight, the Blueshirts will be in Pittsburgh to take on Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. While the game has little significance for both clubs, it should still end up being a good hockey game...
Because they asked, What’s wrong with Alex Ovechkin? Because they asked, Is the Young Guns experiment a failure? Because they questioned the team’s will to win.
Because, as the Pittsburgh Penguins know, the quest for the Cup can be all about redemption.
It’s ironic that with all the questions and changes made to Washington’s organizaton this season, the Caps are, to a...
Whining is in the Cheese of the Beholder
Follow me on Twitter @JohnToperzer
Joe Starkey â @JoeStarkey1
Last time I asked Tortorella a question about Penguins, he said, "I don't talk about the other team." That has changed, apparently
(Joe Starkey is a sports writer with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.)
New York Rangers coach, John Tortorella...
We’re seeing more than the usual share of backups and a mix of kids ad oldsters from the AHL as the season winds down. Some teams are slotted in and want to give their #1 a rest. And some, well because they don’t have a choice.
The Washington Capitals fall into the latter category, and the big arrow stops on… Dany Sabourin!
Continue reading "Who is that Masked Man—callups...
Standings: Penguins (49-25-6), Rangers (51-22-7)
NYR Leading Scorer: Marian Gaborik (41-35-76)
PIT Leading Scorer: Evgeni Malkin (48-57-105)
NYR Goaltender: Martin Biron (19 GS, 2.38 GAA, .910 SV%)
PIT Goaltender: Marc-Andre Fleury (62 GS, 2.37 GAA, .910 SV%)
Rangers Lines (probable):
Carl Hagelin-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky-Brian Boyle-Ryan Callahan
John Tortorella, coach of the NY Rangers, rips the entire Penguins organization after losing to them 5-2. During the interview he labeled the hit given by Brooks Orpik (Penguins) to Derek Stepan (Rangers) shown in the video above as "cheap" and "dirty". He also noted that the Penguins are "one of the most arrogant organizations in the league".
The final score and pretty much everything in the game has and is ovcershadowed by the hit by Brooks Orpik on Derek Stepan. Give Pittsburgh credit for winning and clinching second place while the Rangers came out flat and in showed in their performance. That prior sentence is pretty much all that has to be said about the game, though I will touch on a few things, as there were very...
The Washington Capitals clinched their fifth consecutive playoff berth on Thursday night, defeating the Florida Panthers 4-2 inside Verizon Center. Jay Beagle, Alex Ovechkin, Brooks Laich, and Alexander Semin scored for the hosts, who were able to clinch their playoff berth because of the Sabres’ regulation loss in Philadelphia. Washington was able to overcome an injury to...
The New York Rangers (51-22-7) visit the Pittsburgh Penguins (49-25-6) at CONSOL Energy Center starting at 7:00 p.m. For a preview go to Yahoo! Sports. Rangers Game Notes TV: MSG 2 Click here for complete MSG2 channel listings; Radio: Bloomberg Radio 1130AM, XM 212Live Stream...
Thanks to the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres and Brooks Laich's 16th goal of the year, which would prove to be the game winning goal in the Caps 4-2 win over the Panthers, the Washington Capitals are headed back to the playoffs for the fifth straight year.
Otheriwise assuring a win over the Panthers and a spot in the playoffs on radio prior to their...
The Rangers dropped a tough one to the Caps tonight by the score of 4-1. The Rangers actually played pretty well, controlling most of the action after a quick Washington start. They just ran into a hot goalie and some bad luck. Washington clinched the 7th seed in the East with the win, meaning the Rangers will take on the Ottawa Senators in the first round. Onto the bullets…...