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Posts Tagged ‘lundqvist’

Well now that my beloved Rangers are hitting the links, I have to decide which team I want to see win the Stanley Cup.

Eric, you’re going to root for an Eastern Conference team, right?

Nope! I was pulling for the Flyers to beat the Canadiens because, let’s face it, I don’t like the Canadiens or their fans. They can be a little… pompous. I also wanted the Flyers to win so that they would play the Rangers and we could get some revenge for booting us from the playoffs in 1997. But now that the Rangers are out and the Penguins are in, do you actually think I’m gonna root for our 2 division rivals?

I guess you have a point there. So now how do you decide between the Red Wings and the Stars?

It’s pretty simple. I just don’t like the Red Wings. At all. I was happy that Osgood and Hasek had amazing seasons. They helped me to second place in my fantasy hockey league (damn you, Marc!). But honestly, they are like the Duke basketball team of the NHL. Unless you are affiliated with them in some way, you don’t like Duke. The reason I actually root for Duke is that Marc went there. That, and the Drexel Dragons suck. Seriously though, they labeled themselves “Hockeytown.” Hockeytown? That’s like the Cowboys being labeled “America’s team.”
So I will be rooting for the Dallas Stars to win the Cup this year. Mostly because Henrik’s twin brother Joel is on the Stars. But also because of the reasons above.

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Despite being down 2-0 in the series, New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is feeling optimistic.  Here’s the exact quote:

“It feels like the difference between these two teams is not that big. It could be one bounce that’s the difference. . . . We should go back to New York and put more pressure on them. I think they looked a little better than they are.  I know we can put more pressure on them. We’re going to do that in New York and we’re going to get the win.”

The obvious parallel here is with Mark Messier’s 1994 game 6 guarantee.  This is different, but the truth is that the goalie has more of an impact on the game than any one skater.  So, if Henrik is feeling confident, then I’m feeling confident.

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Henrik Lundqvist, along with Martin Brodeur and Evgeni Nabokov, has been named as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. The Vezina goes to the NHL’s top goaltender during the Regular Season.

Evgeni Nabokov finished the regular season with a 46-21-8 record, a 2.14 GAA, a .910 SV% and 6 shutouts. This is Nabokov’s first nomination as a Vezina Finalist.

Martin Brodeur has now been nominated as a Vezina Finalist 8 times. He has won it 3 times in his career. Brodeur finished the regular season with a 44-27-6 record, a 2.17 GAA, a .920 SV% and 4 shutouts.

Henrik Lundqvist has now been nominated as a Vezina Finalist 3 years in a row. That is, every year he has played in the NHL. Maybe third time’s the charm? Lundqvist finished the regular season with 37-24-10 record with a 2.23 GAA and a .912 SV%. He finished the season with 10 shutouts to lead the league.

Here’s how the fans are voting at ESPN.com.

1) Who should win the Vezina Trophy?
42.5% Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers
36.3% Evgeni Nabokov, Sharks
21.2% Martin Brodeur, Devils
Total Votes: 21,096

You can cast your vote by clicking here.

All 30 NHL GMs vote for the Vezina Trophy and the Winner will be announced on June 12, 2008 in Toronto.

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Nobody was blaming Marc Staal after the Devils overtime winner in game 3 ricocheted off his foot past Henrik Lundqvist. But you can bet Staal wasn’t too happy about it, especially after the play earlier in the game where he couldn’t clear the puck and Elias scored. But wow, the kid played awesome tonight. The game winner was sweet, but that wasn’t the only bright spot about Staal’s game. He was solid through all 3 periods. Along with his partner Rozsival, Staal was very effective breaking the puck out of the Rangers zone, and when Staal and Rozsival were on the ice, the Devils barely got a sniff at the net. Plus that game winner was sweet. Did I mention that his game winner was really sweet?

My favorite public address announcement of the night came 13:36 into the 2nd period. It was, “Devils penalty on #30, Martin Brodeur. 2 minutes for diving.” HAHAHA. FINALLY. If a referee gives you a penalty for diving, he is basically calling you a little bitch. That probably didn’t sit well with Marrrrrrrrr-teeeeeee. Brodeur is a flopper, plain and simple.

Game highlights can be found here.

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Just a few snippets of Rangers reactions today at the morning skate.

  • Chris Drury, who had skated over to Avery while he was face-guarding Brodeur, explained that what he said to Avery during the incident (see youtube clip at 2:15) was that he was trying to get Avery to keep his stick down. “I didn’t want to lose the 5 on 3, you don’t want it all of a sudden, to be 4 on 3. He was just trying to distract him.” He also added, “It’s hockey. Not moral or philosophical. It wasn’t a rule. Now it’s a rule.”
  • Henrik Lundqvist discussed how effective that tactic would be to prevent the goalie from seeing the puck, and said it was “smart”. Backup Stephen Valiquette, on the other hand, did not approve.
  • Jaromir Jagr, in his usual humor, seemed to be amused by Avery’s antics, and said they were cool. He did, however, express his wish that Avery would have saved the tactic for later in the playoffs.
  • Brandon Dubinsky didn’t speak much about the actual incident, but reiterated to the reporters present that Avery will be key to how far the Rangers go in the playoffs. “He’s one of those guys who you can count on every night. He brings that energy, intensity, and effort that you need to win on a daily basis.”

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It’s hard to argue with the results. Their 4-1 victory in Game 1 on the road was definitely just what the Rangers wanted. The problem is with the methods.

After a game filled with several lucky breaks and some really dangerous neutral zone and defensive zone giveaways, Jaromir Jagr called the 4-1 outcome “unfair” to the Devils. According to Josh Thomson over at Rangers Report, most of the Rangers felt they were outplayed by the Devils in all aspects of the game except goaltending. I would add that the Rangers were stellar on the penalty kill.  The PP goal allowed can be excused because Straka broke his stick on the play and it turned into a 5-on-3.

At any rate, the prevailing thought is that Game 1 was something of an aberration. Nobody expects Brodeur to have another soft game, and everybody feels fortunate that the Devils couldn’t capitalize on any of the odd-man rushes they were able to generate off turnovers. The Rangers have a chance to take control of this series with a win tonight

Rangers keys to the game:

  • Better puck control on the breakout and through the neutral zone
  • Another solid game from Henrik Lundqvist
  • Continuing the effective Penalty Killing

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Wow, that was an interesting game to say the least. Scott Gomez played awesome. He was everywhere. Flying all over the ice, making plays on both ends, and of course, setting up one of the best goals I’ve witnessed in a while.

In the battle of two great goaltenders, Lundqvist outplayed Brodeur in round 1… hands down, not even close. The Rangers first goal was a bad angle wrister from Shanahan that somehow managed to squeeze through between Brodeur’s arm and body. Gomez was in front, so that goal is excusable because of the screen. However, on the Rangers second goal, Brodeur lackadaisically left the puck at his feet in the crease. BIG mistake. No doubt he didn’t see Ryan Callahan absolutely flying around the back of the net, but still, you just don’t leave the puck laying around in your crease. I know this because I am a goalie. You just don’t do that. Meanwhile, on the other end of the ice, Lundqvist was solid. The highlight save of the evening came with the score tied 1-1 late in the 2nd with Henrik sliding across the crease to stone Elias with the left pad. Beautiful save.

P.S. It’s gotta be a stomach punch to hear your team’s goalie being taunted LOUDLY by thousands of opposing fans in your own building. I was at the game tonight, and the Rangers fans were loud from start to finish. I’d say about 30-40% of the audience was cheering for the Blueshirts.

On the negative side, the Rangers defense coughed up the puck a little too easily on several occasions, but fortunately the Devils couldn’t capitalize. Girardi and Tyutin, after receiving stellar praise in our series preview, did not play their best. In particular, there were at least 3 defensive zone turnovers that led directly to scoring chances. Let’s hope this trend does not continue into Game 2.

Here are the video highlights from Game 1 (TSN broadcast – nice!) and these are my 3 plays of the game:

  1. Lundqvist robs Elias – 2:38
  2. Brodeur leaves the puck, Callahan bangs it home – 3:17
  3. Gomez lights up the Devils – 3:38

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Scott Gomez will be on the ice for warm-ups but will make a game-time decision as to whether he can play against his former team. If Gomez plays, the three scoring lines should return to “normal”. That is:

Avery-Dubinsky-Jagr
Dawes-Gomez-Shanahan
Straka-Drury-Callahan

For the 4th line, I’d like to see Prucha and Hollweg stay in the lineup with Sjostrom joining them. Prucha showed enough feistiness and a willingness to throw a hit on Tuesday that I think placing the little guy on the 4th line is not too much of a stretch. Plus, having a 4th line that might actually score a goal would be nice for a change. This would leave Colton Orr as the odd man out, which certainly brings down the team’s toughness quotient, but in a game that has such big playoff implications, I think fighting and toughness take a back seat to scoring goals.

Speaking of playoff implications, a win tonight does not move the Rangers up the standings, but they can equal the Devils at 91 points if they win in regulation. (Devils have the tie-break with more wins)

Having Michal Rozsival back will be a big plus for the team. With a much slower Defense on display Tuesday against the Flyers, the Rangers played a conservative game in an effort to keep a Blueshirt between the Flyers speedy forwards and Mr. Lundqvist. It worked fairly well until we were exposed in the 4-on-4 extra frame. Having Rozsival in the lineup gives the Rangers the luxury of being more aggressive moving the puck up the ice.

The biggest question for Rangers tonight, (aside from whether Gomez will be in the lineup), is if the Rangers can generate some offense and put some pucks behind Marty Brodeur.

Marek Malik and Jason Strudwick will be healthy scratches.

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The Rangers play the Flyers for the eighth and final time this season tonight at the Garden. The game starts at 7:30 and is on ESPN OLN Vs. Good thing I’ll be there!

Here’s what the lines will look like:
Straka-Dubinsky-Jagr
Shanahan-Avery-Dawes
Callahan-Drury-Prucha
Sjostrom-Hollweg-Orr

D is the same and Henrik Lundqvist gets the nod.

Scott Gomez is Day-to-Day with bruised ribs.

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The loss to the Panthers was a tough one because they had some serious scoring chances at the end and just couldn’t put the puck in the net.  The loss snapped a 13-game streak in which the Rangers had not lost in regulation.

Earlier in the week, Tom Renney had mentioned he would probably start Valiquette in one of the two games in Florida.  After the loss last night, however, it seems he has abandoned that plan and will stick with Lundqvist.  Lundqvist is playing well right now, and I understand Renney’s desire to stay with what’s been working, but with games this week on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, he has to be careful not to overwork Henrik.

The rest of the lineup will probably stay the same for tonight’s game.  The Defense will definitely be the same tonight, since Mara and Malik are both hurt.  We might see some changes in the forwards — Petr Prucha anyone?  We shall see.

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