New York Hockey: Glen Sather

Quiet draft day ahead for Rangers?

June, 30, 2013
6/30/13
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Without a pick in either of the first two rounds of Sunday's 2013 NHL draft, the Rangers may be in store for a pretty quiet rest of the day following the acquisition of depth defenseman Justin Falk Sunday morning.

Even with some marquee names bandied about as trade talk intensifies -- Tyler Seguin, Kris Letang, Jeff Skinner -- the Rangers lack the salary cap space to make a major splash on the draft day floor.

With the announcement that the team will not exercise its one existing compliance buyout this summer (granting struggling center Brad Richards a one-year reprieve, at least), the Rangers have very little room to maneuver.

Team president and general manager Glen Sather could try and package some of his three third-round picks (the Rangers gave up a first-rounder in the trade for Rick Nash, a second-rounder in the acquisition of Ryane Clowe) to move up in the order, but a significant trade seems highly unlikely.

Richards' cap charge of $6.67 million, and the status of restricted free agents Carl Hagelin, Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan, seems to squash any hope of a significant upgrade from last year’s personnel.

As speculated at season’s end, it is possible the Rangers could dangle promising young defenseman Michael Del Zotto as trade bait, though the concern is being able to find a capable defenseman to replace him at the right price.

The team did add a depth defenseman in Falk , acquiring the 24-year-old from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for minor-league forward Benn Ferriero and a sixth-round pick in 2014.

The team’s relative state of inactivity will likely carry over into the free agency period as well, when the market opens on July 5.
Though the Rangers are interested in adding depth down the middle (Matt Hendricks is an enticing option as a pending unrestricted free agent) and still desperately need a right-handed defenseman who can man the power play (Letang, anyone?) they will likely move forward with the same group that made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals this spring.

There were plenty of fireworks once the Rangers made a hasty exit from the second round as the team dismissed polarizing coach John Tortorella and replaced him with the affable, gentlemanly Alain Vigneault, but, save for the critical contract negotiations for franchise goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, there is unlikely to be much by way of headlines for the rest of this summer.

Sather’s not shy about big-game hunting, of course, but with the salary cap’s significant reduction and the Rangers’ money already tied up in players like Richards, Lundqvist and Rick Nash, expect the next few weeks to be pretty anticlimactic.

Lundqvist camp, Rangers to talk contract

June, 26, 2013
6/26/13
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Sunday's whirlwind draft, reduced to one day because of the lockout-shortened season, will be a busy day for the Rangers.

Though New York does not have a pick until the third round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, GM Glen Sather has plenty of other important business to attend to, including locking up franchise goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

Talks for a long-term extension for the former Vezina Trophy winner have not yet begun, though the two sides are expected to begin contract discussions this weekend.

"I will be speaking with Glen Sather at the Draft concerning an agenda for Henrik's status," Lundqvist's agent Don Meehan told ESPNNewYork.com via email on Wednesday.

Lundqvist cannot even officially ink an extension until July -- the 31-year-old netminder won't become an unrestricted free agent next summer -- though Lundqvist's camp, Newport Sports, and Sather can forge the parameters of an agreement beforehand.

The Rangers also have three other key restricted free agents to sign this summer in forwards Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin and defenseman Ryan McDonagh.

Reps for all three have confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com that discussions have commenced, though those talks have yet to progress beyond preliminary discussions.

Bylsma could be top candidate

June, 10, 2013
6/10/13
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Count Glen Sather as someone who will be keeping tabs on what happens in Pittsburgh this week.

Though the Rangers general manager and president is convening his staff for annual organizational meetings in La Quinta, Calif., he'll likely be interested to see what his Penguins counterpart, GM Ray Shero, does with head coach Dan Bylsma in the wake of Pittsburgh's stunning exit from the postseason.

Shero, whose star-studded Penguins squad was unceremoniously swept by the Bruins on Friday, faces a difficult decision in determining whether to dismiss Bylsma, a former Jack Adams Award winner, following the shocking defeat.

[+] EnlargeDan Bylsma
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaDan Bylsma was the NHL's coach of the year as recently as 2011.
If Shero does decide to make a change -- or Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux pre-empts that decision -- you can assume Bylsma will jump to the top of the Rangers' wish list to fill their head coaching vacancy.

The Rangers would first need permission to speak with Bylsma,considering he has time remaining on his contract with Pittsburgh.

Sather, who dismissed John Tortorella following the Rangers' second-round exit, has already sought and received permission to speak with Alain Vigneault and Dallas Eakins, though the latter is no longer available, as he was named the new head coach of the Edmonton Oilers on Monday.

Longtime Sabres coach Lindy Ruff is also a top candidate, as is the Rangers' own Mark Messier, who has expressed interest in the top job.

This collection of coaching hopefuls is expected to be a hot topic of conversation among Rangers brass this week. After firing Tortorella, Sather said he'd like to have a new coach in place by the NHL draft, to be held in Newark, N.J., on June 30.

The team's staff is also likely to address the potential buyout of alternate captain Brad Richards as well as identify some attractive unrestricted free agents to target.

The Rangers are also looking to lock up franchise goaltender Henrik Lundqvist long-term this summer, in addition to re-signing key restricted free agents Carl Hagelin, Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan.

A case for Sather to stand pat at deadline

March, 27, 2013
3/27/13
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With one week to go until the NHL’s April 3 trade deadline, the possibility for a frenzy-filled flurry of activity seems to be waning.

With so many teams unsure of where they stand in the playoff hunt, the only true aggressive shoppers we see are the handful of clubs that are sure-fire locks with the attitude of going "all in" (see: Shero, Ray).

If that’s the case, there will only be a select group of clubs doggedly pursuing players to bolster their roster, teams like Pittsburgh (yes, STILL), Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Anahaeim, Vancouver etc.

The Rangers are not among this elite echelon.

Team president and general manager Glen Sather is never one too shy away from a bold move or the lure of some big-game hunting, but don’t be surprised if the Rangers stand pat, instead.

Although the Rangers had hoped that last summer's blockbuster acquisition Rick Nash would be the single piece to put them over the edge following last year’s march to the Eastern Conference finals, the Blueshirts do not appear to be primed for the same type of playoff run this season.

Sather has to know this.

Sure, there may be some depth moves and minor additions to address the middle-of-the-lineup needs, but there are not a ton of appealing big-ticket options that make sense right now.

Despite the team’s desire for a right-handed defenseman capable of playing in their top four -- a search that has been fruitless ever since it began, when young blue-liner Michael Sauer went down with a concussion last year -- the premium on puck-moving defenseman means a steep price tag.

A source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com last week that the Rangers remain interested in Sharks veteran Dan Boyle, though they appear unwilling to part with what GM Doug Wilson is asking for in return. And because of cap purposes, San Jose would like have to take Marian Gaborik back in the deal if the Rangers were to absorb Boyle’s $6.67 million cap hit for the rest of this year and next.

The Rangers also like 30-year-old winger Ryane Clowe, but so does pretty much every team in the East. Again, though, Wilson’s asking price may be prohibitive given the fact that Clowe is a rental who has yet to even tally his first goal this year. Even if New York was was willing to part with a top pick and/or prospect, the Rangers would only have 12-13 games in which to acclimate him to the team and system before the playoffs begin.

If the Rangers even make it.

As of Wednesday, New York is in 8th place with 35 points, two points behind 7th place New Jersey Devils with a game in hand.

The fact that their hold on the last playoff spot is as precarious as it is should be the driving force between Sather’s restraint next week.

The Rangers still have a tremendously strong group of core players and an impressive crop of young talent within the organization. The team is still finding its way, trying to create and assert an identity that last year was pretty much unassailable.

There remains a strong foundation moving forward, but the future seems brighter for the Rangers than the immediate test that lies ahead: a jam-packed playoff picture somewhat distorted from an atypical, lockout-shortened season.

Why give up future assets on a year that seems less than promising?

Perhaps a burst of activity next Wednesday will prompt Sather to make a move of his own, but, this year, it seems to make better sense to sit back and watch.

W2W4: Rangers vs. Panthers

March, 21, 2013
3/21/13
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At a glance: Riding a two-game winning streak, the Rangers aim to make it three with a victory over the struggling Florida Panthers. The injury-ravaged Panthers, dead last in the Eastern Conference, have won only one game in their last seven heading into Thursday’s match at Madison Square Garden, the first meeting of the two clubs this season.

Back in action: Looking to bolster the offense, the Rangers recalled Chris Kreider from the AHL Wednesday. The 21-year-old rookie hasn’t been able to replicate the success he had last spring with a terrific NHL debut in the playoffs, but he recently registered six goals in eight games in the minors. Fourth-line tough guy Micheal Haley was sent down to the Connecticut Whale to make room for Kreider.

Rookie Race: With 12 goals and 7 assists, Panthers rookie Jonathan Huberdeau is second among league rookies in scoring, only behind Tampa Bay’s Cory Conacher, who has 22 points. Huberdeau scored a goal on his first shot of his first NHL game and ended up finishing with three points after adding a pair of assists as well.

Lundqvist “fine”: Although Henrik Lundqvist complained about headaches following a collision in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over New Jersey and did not practice with the Rangers during Wednesday’s optional skate, coach John Tortorella says the reigning Vezina Trophy winner is “fine.” Lundqvist went down in the crease after being clipped in the mask, although it was his own teammate, defenseman Dan Girardi, who knocked into him. Unfortunately for the Devils, New Jersey’s Travis Zajac was penalized on the play.

Stepan up: Centering the team’s “second” line -- which has played much more like a first -- Derek Stepan has elevated his game of late. The 22-year-old has registered a point in each of the last two games, although his play with linemates Carl Hagelin and captain Ryan Callahan extends beyond what is reflected on the scoresheet.

On the mend: Rangers team president and general manager Glen Sather will undergo surgery for prostate cancer in New York on Thursday, a source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com. In the interim, assistant GM Jeff Gorton will assume day-to-day operations of the team. Gorton represented the organization at the NHL’s GM meetings on Toronto on Wednesday.

Kreider watch on hold until Saturday

April, 6, 2012
4/06/12
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The Rangers may lure top prospect Chris Kreider to turn pro, but they'll have to wait at least one more day.

The 20-year-old center finished with a goal and an assist as he led his Boston College club past Minnesota 6-1 Thursday in the Frozen Four's semi-finals in Tampa. The team will face Ferris State in the National Championship game Saturday.

Regardless of the outcome, Kreider faces an important decision. Should he elect to forego his senior season and sign with the Rangers, Kreider would be eligible to play for the team in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs. Rangers assistant general manager Jeff Gorton is in Tampa for the tournament to facilitate contract talks should Kreider decide to turn pro.

Rapid Reaction: Penguins 5, Rangers 2

April, 5, 2012
4/05/12
9:33
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What it means: The Rangers already clinched the Eastern Conference title, but the Penguins may be the team to beat in the playoffs. Pittsburgh defeated New York for the fourth straight game, clinching the No. 4 seed with a 5-2 win over the first-place Rangers. League-leading scorer Evgeni Malkin finished with his 49th goal of the season and an assist in an impressive display of depth for the Penguins. Brandon Dubinsky and Brian Boyle scored for the Rangers, but Pittsburgh dominated the game even without a goal from superstar Sidney Crosby. Perhaps a preview of the Eastern Conference finals?

Big night for Biron: In his 500th career start, Martin Biron gave up four goals in his second consecutive loss to the Penguins. Biron made what could well be his last appearance in goal, relieving Henrik Lundqvist after Lundqvist made his 10th straight start Tuesday. Lundqvist might have needed a rare night off regardless of the workload; the 30-year-old netminder is battling stiffness in his right arm after making a painful save on Claude Giroux in the second period of the team’s 5-3 win in Philadelphia on Tuesday. However, he is expected to play against the Capitals in the Rangers’ season finale at Madison Square Garden.

Unusual suspects: The Penguins boast one of the deepest squads in the league, but it was a cast of unexpected characters that tallied the first three goals for Pittsburgh: Chris Kunitz, Tyler Kennedy and Richard Park.

Knee-to-knee: Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for his knee-to-knee hit on second-year center Derek Stepan in the third period. Stepan remained on the bench but did not play in the remaining 4:39 of play. Any suspension handed down by NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan would carry over into the playoffs.

First break: The Rangers fell behind early after defenseman Kris Letang's shot bounced off Kunitz’s skate past Biron 1:11 into play. The Penguins capitalized again later in the first, turning a Biron turnover into a 2-1 lead with Kennedy’s 11th of the season.

On the lookout: The Rangers’ spot in the playoffs is set, but their first-round opponent has yet to be determined. With one game remaining in the regular season, it appears the Blueshirts will most likely face the Washington Capitals, who beat the floundering Panthers 4-2. Although unlikely, the Capitals can still top Florida to win the Southeast Division.

Up Next: Rangers vs. Capitals, Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
As the playoffs approach, an important personnel question looms for the Rangers:

Will top prospect Chris Kreider leave school and turn pro? If so, can he be expected to make an impact for the Rangers in the 2012 playoffs?

The 21-year-old center has a tough decision to make, and soon. His Boston College Eagles take on the Minnesota Gophers Thursday as the NCAA Frozen Four kicks off in Tampa but, regardless of tonight's outcome, Kreider's season will be over this weekend. From there, he'll have to weigh whether to return to BC or forego his senior season to sign with the Eastern Conference champion Blueshirts.

If he chooses the latter, Rangers Assistant General manager Jeff Gorton is on hand in Tampa to facilitate. And as first reported by the New York Post, Kreider would be eligible to compete for the Rangers in the playoffs should he decide to turn pro, a source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com. What remains to be seen is whether he can make the transition from collegiate hockey to the NHL at the height of it's intensity.

John Tortorella is a demanding coach that requires impeccable conditioning from his players -- both physical and mental -- and doesn't baby-sit those who fall behind.

Kreider is regarded within the organization as an absolute "can't miss" prospect with size and speed, but has not played against top-tier talent. However, the team does not have a ton of depth of front.

The 6-2, 205-pound Kreider, who leads his team with 22 goals and 21 assists in 42 games played, may give the Rangers another offensive weapon if he can prove he can play.

For more on Kreider's big decision, read ESPN Insider's recent story here


Rapid Reaction: Bruins 2, Rangers 1

April, 1, 2012
4/01/12
9:28
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What it means: The Rangers failed to clinch an Eastern Conference title as the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins denied New York of a series sweep with a 2-1 win at Madison Square Garden. The Bruins notched a pair of goals in the second period to top the Rangers in the fourth and final meeting of the two teams this season and secure the Northeast Division title, while giving fans on Broadway a preview of what could be an enticing Eastern Conference finals match-up down the road.

Gaborik hits 40: Beating Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas early in the first, Marian Gaborik tallied his 40th goal of the season to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 4:33. Jordan Caron incidentally blocked teammate Zdeno Chara’s thundering slapshot, and the puck squirted out to Gaborik for the breakaway. The 30-year-old sniper reached the 40-goal plateau for the second time with the Rangers, third time of his career. He is two goals shy of his career-high 42 goals, achieved twice -- in 2009-10 with New York and two seasons prior with the Minnesota Wild.

All tied up: Chara had a hand in the Bruins’ first goal as well, setting up fellow defenseman Dennis Seidenberg with a slapshot from the blue-line to tie the game four minutes into the second period.

Oops: A rare Dan Girardi turnover allowed the Bruins to take a 2-1 lead in the second period, as Seguin pounced on the giveaway and found Patrice Bergeron to tuck it away for a power-play goal at 11:52 of the second.

Setting the stage: The Rangers scoff at any mention of the standings and claim to be oblivious to any game but their own, but there was a Sunday matinee that may have garnered some interest. The Pittsburgh Penguins fell 6-4 to the Philadelphia Flyers in a nasty divisional game that whittled the Rangers’ magic number to one. With the two point sacrificed by the Pens, New York entered Sunday’s match needing only one point to clinch the Eastern Conference title. The game was a good preview of what will likely be the 4-5 match-up in the East; the game ended with a melee that extended to both team’s coaching staffs as well. Philadelphia’s Peter Laviolette and Pittsburgh assistant Tony Granato were ejected from the game after screaming at each other from the bench.

Up Next: Rangers at Flyers, Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Devils 2

March, 19, 2012
3/19/12
10:10
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What it means: The opening-faceoff line brawl was well-orchestrated, but the hatred between the Rangers and Devils was altogether genuine in a nasty series finale that ended with a playoff-clinching 4-2 win for the Blueshirts at Madison Square Garden. A whopping 40 penalty minutes were dished out between both clubs as fists flew three seconds into the game, and although the Devils pulled within a goal twice in the second period, the Rangers held on to become the first team in the East to secure a berth in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs and snap a two-game losing streak.

Rough Stuff: Tempers flared as a total of six players dropped the gloves on the opening face-off. Taking the draw at center ice, defenseman-turned-center Stu Bickel paired up with Ryan Carter, while heavyweights Mike Rupp and Eric Boulton fought, as did Cam Janssen and Brandon Prust. Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador also received a 10-minute misconduct for stepping in to Carter’s aid when the fourth-line forward was left bloodied in his fight with Bickel. Carter left the ice to receive stitches but returned later in the first period.

No love lost: The players weren’t the only ones immersed in the opening-faceoff hostilities. Video replays showed Rangers coach John Tortorella screaming and cursing at the Devils' bench, presumably at opposing coach Pete DeBoer. As the visiting coach, DeBoer sets his starting lineup first and elected to give his fourth line the nod. Tortorella appeared to receive the message, using Bickel to take the opening faceoff instead of natural pivot Brandon Dubinsky, who suffered injuries in a fight with Carter in the two teams' previous meeting. Tortorella did decide to sit tough guy John Scott, however. The hulking 6-8, 260-pound enforcer was scratched after taking pregame warmups.

Not so stingy: And while the marquee matchup between Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Brodeur is normally the main event when the two teams meet, Monday's contest was no goal-tending duel as both players looked a little ragged.

Hot hand: With his second goal in as many games, recently-recalled Mats Zuccarello buried a rebound on the power-play to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead at 7:33 of the second. The diminutive Norwegian forward gave New York its first man-up goal in four games.

Just like old times: Linemates from the Devils Stanley Cup championship-winning team in 2000, Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora combined for two goals in the second period. Set up by Sykora, Elias beat Lundqvist short-side to cut a two-goal Rangers lead in half at 5:03; Sykora then buried a sharp-angle shot to whittle the lead again to one goal at 11:08. With his second-period marker, Elias recorded the seventh 25-goal season in his 15-year career; it was the first time the 35-year-old Czech reached the milestone since '08-'09.

Dubinsky breaks through: With the crowd buzzing after the opening theatrics, Dubinsky scored his first goal in seven games, beating Brodeur from the slot to convert on a rush, to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead 1:11 into play.

Up next: Rangers vs. Red Wings, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.; Devils vs. Senators, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Lundqvist out vs. Crosby, Pens

March, 15, 2012
3/15/12
1:04
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The Penguins return their best player Thursday, but the Rangers will be without theirs.

All-star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who missed Tuesday's game against Carolina, is out against Pittsburgh in Sidney Crosby's heralded return.

Lundqvist said he wanted to play against the scorching Pens -- Pittsburgh enters the match on a nine-game winning streak -- but didn't feel quite ready after missing three days with illness.

"Doing nothing laying in bed for two days doesn't do much to help your game," he joked after participating in the Rangers' morning skate.

Lundqvist and the team agreed that giving backup netminder Martin Biron was the right choice against the Rangers' Atlantic Division rivals. Biron will make his second consecutive start after recording his 14th win of the season with a 27-save effort against the Hurricanes two days ago.

"Having Marty playing so well, it doesn't make sense to be selfish," Lundqvist said. "It's the best decision for the team."

Although the irrefutable MVP of a dominant Rangers squad this season, Lundqvist's play dipped slightly during the team's recent struggles. He has given up three or more goals in his last five starts.

Biron, 13-15-5 in 33 games against Pittsburgh, said he'll relish the opportunity to square off against what may be the most dangerous team in the league right now.

"It's big for our club. It's big for everybody here," Biron said. "I think the last few games have been good for us in the team game and in some individual games too....hopefully that keeps going. It is a big stage and a big opportunity for the club."

In addition to Lundqvist's absence, the Rangers will also be without captain Ryan Callahan (foot) and defenseman Michael Del Zotto.

Sather: Pens are best team in league

March, 15, 2012
3/15/12
9:54
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Scary to think that the Penguins have won nine games without both superstar center Sidney Crosby and top defenseman Kris Letang. Considering they are expected to return both Thursday against the Rangers, Pittsburgh is now viewed by many as the team to beat.

Including Rangers general manager Glen Sather.

"They're obviously, I think, the best team in the league," Sather told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun after the GM meetings wrapped up in Boca Raton, FL Wednesday. "With [Crosby] back, it's certainly going to make it a lot more difficult."

The Rangers have won two straight to open a seven-game homestand at MSG, but will face a scorching Penguins team tonight in a match-up between the top two teams in the Atlantic Division standings.

Read more about ESPN's Game of the Week here.

Next up? Crosby and Penguins

March, 14, 2012
3/14/12
12:18
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The Rangers kicked off a seven-game homestand with two straight wins but their biggest test awaits on Thursday when the Sidney Crosby and the scorching Pittsburgh Penguins come to town.

The game is much more than a marquee match-up between the Eastern Conference's elite, however.

The Penguins' 24-year-old captain continues to captivate the NHL as he makes his second return this season; Crosby has not played since December 5 because of post-concussion symptoms and has been limited to eight games over the last 14 months because of a head injury sustained last season.

And everyone remembers how his first comeback went, right?

Crosby tallied two goals and recorded four points against the Islanders and rookie goaltender Anders Nilsson in his triumphant return November 21. The Eastern Conference-leading Blueshirts hope to make things much more unpleasant for the league's reigning superstar.

New York limited Crosby to two assists in the only game against him this season -- a 4-3 win against Pittsburgh November 29 -- and hope to thwart him again with less than a month remaining in the regular season.

With a 4-2 win against Carolina Tuesday, in which their top line of Carl Hagelin, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik combined for nine points, the Rangers widened their lead on the Penguins to six points in the Atlantic Division standings.

The Rangers are irrefutably the team to beat, but the Penguins are definitely the hottest. They enter the Garden on a nine-game winning streak and may bolster their lineup beyond adding Crosby; defenseman Kris Letang also appears eligible to return for the Pens.

What does Rangers GM Glen Sather think of a healthy Penguins squad? ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun has the story here.

W2W4: Rangers at Devils

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
3:43
PM ET


At a glance: Losers in five of their last six games, the Devils host the league-leading Rangers in the teams' second meeting in eight days. Trailing the Rangers by 14 points in the standings, New Jersey aims to cut the lead following last Monday's 2-0 shutout loss at Madison Square Garden.

Marquee Matchup: Tuesday will be the 34th regular season game in which elite goaltenders Martin Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist compete head-to-head. Lundqvist holds the edge against Brodeur, posting a 22-6-5 record during that span, with a 1.72 goals against average, .936 save percentage and five shutouts.

On the mend: The Rangers will return their captain Ryan Callahan, who missed the past three games with a bruised right foot. Callahan's Devils' counterpart, Zach Parise, will also play Tuesday, despite a sore left hand. Devils defenseman Andy Greene, who was a late scratch for Sunday’s 1-0 loss to the Islanders after suffering back spasms, is a game-time decision while forward Alexei Ponikarovsky (right knee) will sit out his second straight game.

Warning call: Devils winger David Clarkson received a warning call following his hit against Brandon Dubinsky last Monday. Clarkson left his feet to make contact and received a charging penalty on the play. Clarkson and Dubinsky also received five minutes for fighting after the play. Dainius Zubrus also received a similar call for his elbow on Rangers rookie Carl Hagelin.

Lineup change: Steve Eminger will replace defenseman Anton Stralman in the lineup, playing for the first time since February 21. Struggling since returning from a shoulder injury earlier this season, Eminger has sat six straight. Assuming Callahan plays, John Scott will join Stralman and defenseman Jeff Woywitka as the Rangers’ healthy scratches.

Blanked: The Devils were shut out twice in the span of one week against Atlantic Division foes following the Feb. 27 trade deadline. After being blanked by the Rangers 2-0 just hours after the deadline passed, the Devils were held without a goal by rookie netminder Anders Nilsson Sunday on Long Island.

Late addition: The Devils recalled C Brad Mills from Albany (AHL) just hours before the game. This will be the third stint for Mills, who has one assist and 32 penalty minutes in 27 games for the Devils this season. Fourth-line forward Cam Janssen is the likely scratch.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Bruins 3

March, 4, 2012
3/04/12
3:10
PM ET


What it means: With the game tied at 3, second-year center Derek Stepan beat goaltender Tim Thomas with a laser from the left circle at 12:21 of the third to give the Rangers a 4-3 win and 3-0 series edge against the defending Stanley Cup Champs. Marian Gaborik also added a goal -- his 32nd of the season -- in the third period as the Rangers rolled to their fifth straight win against Boston.

Puck problems: The Rangers gave away a two-goal lead with a pair of costly turnovers that allowed the Bruins to tie the game. Anton Stralman coughed up the puck in his own end, a giveaway that led to Benoit Pouliot’s goal at 7:57 of the first. Jordan Caron then intercepted Dan Girardi’s clearing attempt in the second, beating Henrik Lundqvist with a slapshot at the other end to knot the teams at 2 1:40 into play.

Quick start: The Rangers took an early 2-0 lead after a pair of goals in the first 6:15 of play. Moments after their first power-play opportunity expired, defenseman Anton Stralman ripped a wrist shot through traffic to beat Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas at 5:05. Carl Hagelin then banked the puck off Bruin defenseman Greg Zanon for a two-goal lead 1:10 later.

Early exit: Fans at Madison Square Garden were puzzled as both teams left the ice early and headed for their respective dressing rooms with 2:53 remaining in the first period. The premature first intermission was the result of a broken pane of glass that required repair. The glass, cracked by the impact of Brian Rolston’s shot, was fixed during the intermission and the 2:53 was tacked on to the start of the second period.

Three for Cally: Ryan Callahan missed his third straight game with a bruised right foot. The 26-year-old captain sustained the injury after blocking Ilya Kovalchuk’s wrist shot in the Rangers’ 2-0 win against the Devils Monday.

Rough stuff: Sunday’s matinee featured three fights in the first period. Playing in his first NHL game, Boston’s Lane MacDermid dropped the gloves against Rangers heavyweight Mike Rupp. Two seconds after Pouliot’s first-period marker, Brandon Prust gave up 28 pounds to tangle with Milan Lucic at 7:59. Stu Bickel and Gregory Campbell also knuckled up before the conclusion of the first period . The Rangers and Bruins are the top two teams in the league in fighting majors.

Struggling streak: The Bruins have not strung together two straight wins since January 10-12, a 24-game span.

Back in action: Michael Del Zotto returned to the lineup after missing Saturday’s 4-3 OT loss to the Lightning with a sore right hip. The 21-year-old defenseman aggravated a pre-existing injury in the team’s 3-2 win over the Hurricanes Friday. Defenseman Dan Girardi (arm) and winger Ruslan Fedotenko (foot), who both appeared to suffer minor injuries Saturday, also played.

Up Next: Rangers at Devils, Tuesday @ 7 p.m.

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