Posted January 09, 2012 on AP on Fox
Brad Richards scored a last-second goal to beat the Phoenix Coyotes just over three weeks ago - a victory that has sparked the New York Rangers on a surge to the top of the Eastern Conference. Richards looks to continue his scoring surge and the Rangers go for their second five-game winning streak in an 11-game span when they host the Coyotes on Tuesday night. With some help from video review, Richards came up with a clutch goal to beat Phoenix 3-2 on the road Dec. 17. His seemingly innocuous shot got past goaltender Mike Smith and crossed the line with one-tenth of a second left in regulation. The goal was originally ruled to have come after the final horn, but a review confirmed that it counted. The Rangers (26-9-4) have been rolling since Richards' last-second heave on net, winning nine of 10 to vault them atop the East. "I think we're confident, we have a really good feeling in the locker room," goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. "We're trying to do our jobs, and at the same time we're trying to enjoy this ride this season, and so far it's been a lot of fun." Richards, second on the team with 15 goals and 31 points, has recorded three goals and two assists during this four-game winning streak. Two of those tallies have been game-winners, and he scored again in a 3-1 victory at Pittsburgh on Friday. While Richards is providing some offensive punch, Lundqvist is likely to be back in net after a 37-save effort against the Penguins. He has won six straight starts with a 1.17 goals-against average and one shutout. Lundqvist has posted a 2.00 GAA while winning all three of his games against the Coyotes (20-17-5), though he hasn't faced them since a 5-2 victory at MSG on Oct. 26, 2009. Backup Martin Biron was in net versus the Coyotes last month, stopping 21 shots to beat them for a third straight time. Marian Gaborik scored twice in that meeting and went on to record seven goals during the five-game win streak that began in Phoenix. However, he has one goal in five games since. Gaborik's 23 goals lead New York, and he's totaled 13 in his last 12 contests against the Coyotes. That Rangers have dominated the Phoenix franchise at Madison Square Garden, winning 12 of the last 14 matchups dating to 1992 when the Coyotes were the Winnipeg Jets. Winning at MSG for the first time since Dec. 16, 2007, could give the Coyotes some momentum after Shane Doan's first career hat trick lifted them past the New York Islanders 5-1 at home Saturday. Just like Richards' goal against Phoenix, Doan's last tally Saturday came at the final horn and needed to be reviewed for confirmation. "You get some energy from a boost like this. ... We got another tough road trip ahead of us here this week, so hopefully we can use it as some energy," coach Dave Tippett said. Doan, who snapped a six-game goal drought, has six goals and nine assists in his last 12 games versus the Rangers. Smith has a 1.62 GAA and 2-1-1 record in four starts since making 27 saves against the Rangers last month. He's likely to get a chance at redemption after stopping 31 shots against the Islanders to set a career high with his 16th victory. Smith has lost in his last two visits to MSG with a 4.55 GAA, both games coming while with Tampa Bay. After their four-day break, the Rangers are beginning a stretch of seven games in 12 days.

Mid Season Report Cards: The Bottom Six

Today we are going to be talking about our unheralded, but no less vital bottom six forwards. Prior to Tortorella’s arrival, the Rangers bottom six was typically composed of too many wannabe skill players like Matt Cullen, Marcel Hossa, etc. The last few years we finally started to value players who understood that their role is to forecheck, backcheck, hit, score dirty goals,...

Michael Sauer Symptom Free; Not Close To Returning

Larry Brooks of the New York Post shed some light today on New York Rangers defensemen Michael Sauer and the concussion he suffered back on December 5th against the  Toronto Maple Leafs. Right defenseman Michael Sauer continues to make progress in his recovery from the concussion he suffered on Dec. 5. He has been symptom-free [...]

Video: Tortorella on Stepan, Team Needing Rest, Staal's Progress and More

The Rangers held practice on Saturday following back-to-back wins over the Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins and then took a day away from the game on Sunday. Before Sunday's rest, though, head coach John Tortorella took the time to discuss some pressing issues surrounding the Rangers right now, including the play of Derek Stepan, Marc Staal's progress and the team...

Morning Skate Notes: Hank In; Same Line-up; Stepan's Play Dips

The New York Rangers reported that Wojtek Wolski, Erik Christensen, and Marty Biron all remain on ice after morning skate, meaning the line-up will remain the same tonight against the Coyotes and Henrik Lundqvist will be in goal....with how well this team's been playing, it's real tough to call for a line-up change, but I'd like to see Torts start working Wolski back...

Pregame: Rangers Begin Busy Week with Rematch Against Coyotes

The first place New York Rangers may be on a four-game winning streak and leading the entire NHL with a 26-9-4 record, but head coach John Tortorella has not made it a secret that he hasn't been satisfied with the club's play in their last two games. In an eventful practice on Monday that followed a day off on Sunday, Tortorella sent his squad back to the locker room a minute...

Callahan One of the Best Captains in the NHL

In a piece on the ten reasons the Rangers could win the Stanley Cup this season, Kevin Allen of USA Today says this about Rangers Captain Ryan Callahan...4. Renewable energy: Ryan Callahan doesn't have an enormous national profile, and yet he might be one of the league's best captains. He is an old-school leader who pushes his team to higher performance with his energy and...

The Elusive Vezina Trophy

Since joining the league in the 2005-06 season, New York Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been nominated the Vezina Trophy three times (2006, 2007, and 2008). Unfortunately, he has yet to win it despite deserving to win it each of those three seasons. This season, however, might be his best chance. Dave Lozo of says that Lundqvist is the front-runner to win the...

Tortorella pre-game

John Tortorella spoke about Stu Bickel’s play, about the need for Brian Boyle (and other third- and fourth-line players to score some goals), about moving Dan Girardi to the point on the PP (right-handed shot), and about the possibility that Wojtek Wolski and Erik Christensen go to Hartford for conditioning assignments … Here’s the audio:  

Mike Smith Save of the Year Candidate

A penalty shot in hockey is one of the more exciting plays in sports. A penalty shot in overtime raises the bar a few notches. The Rangers received a penalty shot after Coyotes defenseman Adrian Aucoin picked up a slashing penalty against Rangers nastyman Marian Gaborik. Gaborik, who has the moves like Jagger (sorry), used them to fake Smith out of his socks. The result: Smith...

From Hunter to Hunted

Blueshirts United spoke with Michael Del Zotto about the Rangers having a target on their back..."It's definitely different with every team coming in wanting to beat you," admitted Michael Del Zotto. "It's a different feeling from what we have been used to the last couple of years, squeaking into the playoffs. But it's a great feeling. It's just that...

Remarkable Rangers run streak to 5

NEW YORK (AP) - Derek Stepan's goal in the sixth round of the shootout lifted the New York Rangers past the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 Tuesday night. Stepan beat Phoenix goalie Mike Smith high to the glove side before the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist st...

Stepan lifts NHL-best Rangers over Coyotes in SO

Derek Stepan's goal in the sixth round of the shootout lifted the New York Rangers past the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 Tuesday night.

NHL: Pluses and minuses around the league

Phoenix's Shane Doan gets his first hat trick in his 1,161st game.Phoenix's Shane Doan gets his first hat trick in his 1,161st game.
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