Tag: New York Rangers

Philadelphia Flyers v New York Rangers

The King is back: Lundqvist starts for Rangers Saturday


The first team to clinch a playoff spot will get its franchise goalie back on Saturday as the New York Rangers officially see the return of Henrik Lundqvist.

The Rangers have been playing surprisingly well since Lundqvist decided to play it safe with his throat issues starting on Feb. 2. One gets the impression that Cam Talbot’s brilliant work made it that much more comfortable for Lundqvist, 33, to ease back into the lineup.

That said, this first game back should test the stellar Swede. He’s facing the Boston Bruins today, a team that is absolutely fighting for their playoff lives.

Considering the fact that the postseason is basically two weeks away, it’s probably best for “The King” to jump right back into the thick of things.

Could Lundqvist start Saturday for the Rangers?


The New York Rangers play twice this weekend — on the road against the Boston Bruins on Saturday, and at home against the Washington Capitals on Sunday.

Earlier this week, it was reported Henrik Lundqvist expected to return to the Rangers lineup this weekend. But, could Lundqvist, who backed up Cam Talbot against Ottawa on Thursday, get the start in goal against the Bruins?

From Andrew Gross of The Record:

Henrik Lundqvist also was on the ice as the signs point to him making his first start after 25 games on Saturday. Lundqvist was due to have a discussion with coach Alain Vigneault and, no doubt, goalie coach Benoit Allaire to decide whether he would start against the Bruins or Sunday afternoon against the Capitals at Madison Square Garden. But, make no mistake, Lundqvist is antsy to play so we all know what his input will be. Prior to Thursday’s 5-1 win at Ottawa, Lundqvist flatly declared, “I’m ready.”

The Rangers clinched a playoff spot on Thursday, and it was Talbot who stepped up and played so well when Lundqvist went down to to injury, helping get New York back to the post-season.

“I’m more impressed than surprised,” said Lundqvist of Talbot to Newsday.

“He’s been working hard since Day 1. He’s a confident guy and a lot of times, it starts with confidence. There’s a lot of goalies who can work hard and have good technique, but a lot of times, it’s the mind-set and the confidence that decides if you’re going to be successful or not. I think he believes in his game, and having Benny [Benoit Allaire] as his coach helps him pay attention to the details.”

Five big games to watch this weekend

Derek Stepan, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask

Only three weekends to go before the NHL playoffs start. Here are five games to watch this weekend, each with at least one desperate team involved:

Tonight — Calgary at Minnesota (8 p.m. ET)

Now one point back of the surging Kings, and with just eight games to go (six on the road), Calgary could really use a win here. The Wild, meanwhile, could open a six-point playoff cushion with a regulation victory. And while it’s unlikely, there’s still an outside shot Minnesota could catch Chicago for third spot in the Central.

Saturday — NY Rangers at Boston (1 p.m. ET)

Spend the afternoon watching the Bruins fight for their playoff lives, versus the only team that’s officially clinched. The B’s, winless in their last six, know there will be “consequences” if they don’t get the job done. And lately, well, they just haven’t been getting the job done. Oh, and this could also be Henrik Lundqvist’s first game back. In case that interests anyone.

Saturday — Los Angeles at Minnesota (8 p.m. ET)

Even after three impressive road wins, the Kings could still become the first defending champs since the 2006-07 Hurricanes to miss the playoffs. Regulation losses Saturday to the Wild and Monday in Chicago are certainly plausible, no? That could leave the Kings in need of four wins in their final six games to qualify. Best for them they get a point or two against the Wild and ‘Hawks.

Sunday — Florida at Ottawa (5 p.m. ET)

A Panthers loss here would basically be it for them, even if they manage to upset the Habs Saturday in Montreal. Florida also plays Tuesday in Boston. Win all three and maybe we’ll find some optimism, but the end seems near for a Panthers side that’s gamely hung around all season. (Obviously, a big game for Sens too. They play in Toronto Saturday against the sideshow Leafs.)

Sunday — Boston at Carolina (5 p.m. ET)

Do not look at the standings and expect the Bruins to roll over the Hurricanes. Carolina soundly outplayed the B’s the last time they met, Jan. 4 in Raleigh, where Boston didn’t get its first shot until 17 minutes into the first period. It was that loss, in fact, that preceded the infamous warning from Charlie Jacobs.

How many starts does the Hamburglar have left?

Andrew Hammond

Andrew Hammond’s run as Ottawa’s No. 1 could soon be coming to a close.

While this sounds a tad reactionary in the wake of Hammond’s first — and only — regulation loss of the season, consider the following:

• Hammond looked shaky in Thursday’s 5-1 defeat to the Rangers, most notably on this Chris Kreider tally late in the first period. But rather than chalk it up to a stinker performance — the ‘burglar was due for one, after all — the party line afterward was that Hammond’s playing hurt, reportedly still feeling the effects of a collision with San Jose’s Logan Couture from Monday night.

Hammond suggested he’s not 100 percent, with Sens head coach Dave Cameron adding he’s “beat up a little bit.” Today, Hammond didn’t take part in Ottawa’s optional skate and was seen limping out of the rink. This could be a legit injury, or it could be general wear and tear; it’s important to remember that, for all his heroics, Hammond has never played more than 48 games in a single season and the weight of his recent workload — 17 games in 38 days — has been heightened by the pressure of Ottawa’s playoff push.

• Craig Anderson (hand) is pretty much ready to go. On Thursday, Cameron told the Ottawa Sun that if Anderson was able to take shots off his blocker, “that’s a good sign. There was talk that he might be able to [back up] if he took some shots off the blocker.”

And guess what Anderson did on Friday?

There was some thought that Anderson could be eased back into the lineup by serving as Hammond’s No. 2 for Saturday’s game in Toronto. Now, though, it seems as though Andy could be the No. 1 this weekend, with the Hamburglar backing up.

• From there, things would get interesting. After the Leafs tilt, Ottawa has eight games remaining; Anderson would obviously need a lot of work to get back into game shape, given he’s only made two appearances over the last two months. It’s important to remember that, before the Hamburglar took off, Anderson was enjoying a pretty successful season himself, going 14-12-7 with a 2.44 GAA, .925 save percentage and three shutouts.

Anderson also has a decided advantage over Hammond with regards to playoff experience — 23 games to zero — and in his last postseason appearance (2013), Anderson allowed just nine goals on 180 shots, good for a .950 save percentage, in an opening-round victory over Montreal.

• Finally, it’s worth noting that Dave Cameron has gone with Anderson in big spots before. Two weeks ago he said it was Anderson, not Hammond, that gave Ottawa the best chance to win for a crucial tilt against Boston.

Rangers chase Sens’ Hammond, who may be hurt

Andrew Hammond

Expect a new set of hamburger jokes tonight (some of the cringe-inducing variety*), as Ottawa Senators phenom Andrew Hammond’s storybook season hit a bump in the road named the New York Rangers.

At the moment, the Rangers are up 5-1, and that was enough for “The Hamburglar” to get pulled from the Senators’ net. (At least he’s not alone tonight.)

Hammond allowed five goals on 22 shots before getting taken out late in the second period. Perhaps seeing Tanner Glass score against Hammond was the last straw?

Chris Driedger took over for Hammond. The 20-year-old is seeing his first night of NHL action in relief.

Unfortunately, his last name is nowhere near as friendly to nicknaming. Maybe a Darren Dreger reference or two?

Update: The Rangers ended up winning 5-1, while this disturbing image hangs over Ottawa’s season:

Uh oh.

* – Raises hand.