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Game Day: The Champs Visit NY
The defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks take on the Rangers

Lundqvist picked up his first shutout of the year Saturday night

Lundqvist picked up his first shutout of the year Saturday night

Blackhawks @ Rangers

Madison Square Garden, 7:00 p.m. Monday

Rangers record: 5-4-1

Blackhawks record: 7-5-1


Fresh off their first shutout of the 2010 season, the Rangers will take on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

Everyone knows what happened in Chicago during the offseason- Blackhawks management was forced to dismantle much of its roster because of major salary cap issues.  Gone are integral pieces of last year’s squad like Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Kris Versteeg, Antti Niemi etc.  But Chicago still has plenty of talent including four superstars in Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith.  Chicago hasn’t been quite as dominant this season, but still leads the Central Division and has the second most points in the league (although the Blackhawks have played more games than anyone).  Thus far Chicago has been able to replace much of the offense it lost with contributions from young players like Viktor Stalberg, Bryan Bickell and Jake Dowell.  But it’s Patrick Sharp that leads Chicago, and the league, in goals with 10.  Perhaps the biggest question mark for the Blackhawks this season was how Marty Turco would perform.  Turco had been on a steady decline for Dallas but was scooped up by the Blackhawks when they realized that they wouldn’t be able to retain Niemi.  So far the results have been mostly positive for Turco.

The Rangers picked up two points with a 2-0 win over Toronto on Saturday night but their efforts lately haven’t been as good.  The good news is that Henrik Lundqvist, while certainly not bad early in the season, is clearly at the top of his game.  Lundqvist was actually matched by Cam Ward on Friday night but was furious about the results of the game and picked up the shutout Saturday.  He’s benefited a dedicated effort by his teammates to block as many shots as possible over the last few weeks.  It was once up to Chris Drury, Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky to sacrifice their bodies on every shift, but lately to a man the Rangers have been blocking shots from anywhere and everywhere. 

It will take a huge effort to beat the Blackhawks, but the concentration on team defense and blocked shots certainly gives the Rangers a shot.  If they continue that and stay out of the penalty box, there’s no reason the Blueshirts can’t give the ‘Hawks a game.  But if the Rangers stray from their commitment to helping out Hank and don’t pop in a few goals, it will be very difficult for the Rangers to earn a W.



Reports earlier today indicated that rookie Mats Zuccarello was heading back to Sweden.  Jesse Spector of the Daily News did some poking around and discovered that the reports were bogus and Zuccarello isn’t going anywhere.  It’s not unlikely that Zuccarello was disappointed to not make the Rangers and is a little frustrated with how he’s struggled to adapt to the North American game, but it appears that the Swedish paper Sportbladets, which apparently has a stellar reputation, was mistaken.  Zuccarello isn’t going anywhere right now, but if he continues to struggle there’s reason to believe he might want to return to Sweden where he is beloved.  Nothing to the reports right now, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on.  Wouldn’t be the first time a European player came over and struggled and wanted to return to his homeland.  

Posted by Kevin Baumer | October 31, 2010 at 08:35 pm

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New York Rangers VS Boston Bruins
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

  1 2 3 OT F
Rangers 0 2 1 - 3
Bruins 1 0 1 - 2

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