New York Rangers

Video: Tavares scores on wide open net 11 seconds into game vs. Rangers

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The New York Rangers have lost to the Islanders by wide margins in each of their three meetings this season. They’re hoping to get a little revenge in tonight’s rematch and there’s still plenty of time for them to accomplish that goal.

They couldn’t have had much worse of a start though. Mere seconds after the contest began, Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot left the crease to play the puck, flinging it behind the net to Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. The only problem is that McDonagh couldn’t complete the pass.

Instead Islanders forward John Tavares found himself with the puck and an open net:

It was Tavares’ 27th goal and his third versus the Rangers in 2014-15.

DeKeyser earns high praise from Babcock

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If Danny DeKeyser were a car, he wouldn’t be flashy like a Ferrari or Lamborghini, or even that awesome car Homer built that played La Cucaracha with its horn.

Which is to say, DeKeyser isn’t P.K. Subban or Erik Karlsson, two past Norris Trophy winners with the ability to both put up points and bring the crowd to its feet. (Nor is he a defenseman that sings La Cucaracha.)

That said, DeKeyser will get you from A to B, and he’ll do it with the minimum amount of hassle.

And as with cars, there’s a lot to be said for reliability.

Per the Detroit Free Press, Wings coach Mike Babcock says DeKeyser “makes the least mistakes of anybody on our back end. He’s an elite skater, he’s got an elite mind, he’s ultra competitive, he comes every day ready to play.”

That’s high praise for a 24-year-old who wasn’t even drafted. DeKeyser, you’ll recall, signed with the Wings in March of 2013 as a free agent out of college.

In the short time since turning pro, DeKeyser has become yet another late-blooming d-man to make an impact in the NHL, joining the likes of current undrafted players Mark Giordano, Dan Boyle, Dan Girardi, Chris Tanev, and Torey Krug, as well as past stars like former Wing Brian Rafalski.

Related: Undrafted Giordano has some draft advice for NHL GMs

Goalie nods: Calgary sticks with Ramo versus Boston

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Karri goes for Flames

Karri Ramo will make his second consecutive start for the Flames tonight when they host Boston at the Saddledome.

Ramo, a surprise starter against Vancouver on Saturday, played very well in his rare appearance, stopping 28 of 30 shots for just his ninth win of the season. The decision to start Ramo came after Jonas Hiller — Calgary’s goalie of record for eight straight games from Jan. 27 to Feb. 12 — had lost two of his last three starts, including a 5-3 defeat in L.A. in which he was hooked in the third period.

For the Bruins, Tuukka Rask is likely to start in goal.

Elsewhere…

Rangers at Isles: Cam Talbot vs. Jaroslav Halak

‘Canes at Sens: Cam Ward vs. Robin Lehner

Habs at Wings: Carey Price vs. Jimmy Howard

Oilers at Jets: Viktor Fasth vs. Michael Hutchinson

Coyotes at Avs: Mike McKenna vs. Semyon Varlamov

Wild at Canucks: Devan Dubnyk vs. Eddie Lack

Bolts at Kings: Andrei Vasilevskiy vs Jonathan Quick

‘To be the best, you have to beat the best’: Rangers look for first win of the year against the Isles

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The New York Rangers have a new measuring stick:

The New York Islanders.

“To be the best you have to beat the best,” Rangers goalie Cam Talbot said ahead of tonight’s tilt, per the New York Post. “They’ve been the best team in the division and one of the best in the NHL.

“If we’re going to catch them, this is a game we need to win.”

The Isles, who head into tonight’s action atop in the Metropolitan Division, have owned the Rangers this year, winning all three matchups while outscoring the Blueshirts 13-4. As the four goals against suggests, Jaroslav Halak has played very well for the Isles over the course of their in-state dominance, which he has: Halak stopped a season-high 40 shots in a win at MSG in mid-October, then posted 40 more saves in a 4-1 win over the Rangers in late January.

(Halak also shut out the Blueshirts — 3-0, on the strength of 27 saves — prior to the All-Star break.)

If you’re looking for reasons to why the Isles have been so good against the Rangers this season, consider what Marc Staal had to say. The alternate captain suggested his club has lapsed into playing the Isles’ preferred style on occasion, and those lapses have caused the team to backfire.

“We’ve kind of played into their hands a little bit, and opened it up,” Staal explained, per the Post. “Normally we play a tight game, and get a lot of back pressure on the rush, but we haven’t played that way against them.

“We have to be ready from the start to play our game and not worry about their game.”

Given the two sides could very well meet in the playoffs, it’s imperative that the Rangers figure out how to beat the Isles or, at the least, give them more of a game than in the first three meetings of the season. Should the Blueshirts fail to figure it out tonight, they’ll only have one more crack at it — the two teams will meet one final time on Mar. 10, which will be the last-ever regular season game between the Rangers and Isles at Nassau.

PHT Morning Skate: Ovechkin, Nash gun for the Richard Trophy

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

For years, it’s felt like the Maurice Richard Trophy might as well have been called the Alex Ovechkin Award. Rick Nash is really having an amazing goal-scoring year in 2014-15, however, setting up quite the thrilling race between two of the NHL’s best snipers.

What’s especially cool is that the Capitals and Rangers play on April 11, setting up a potential final showdown. So who gets it? (The Hockey News)

The Avalanche are trying to find the right balance between winning and building. (The Denver Post)

Mike Richards seems to be making lemonade out of AHL lemons so far. (Los Angeles Times)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $50,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts Monday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

TSN notes that Steve Montador was a plaintiff in a concussion case against the NHL. (TSN)

A tweet can change someone’s life. Just ask Corey Hirsch. (Greatest Hockey Legends)