The New York Rangers looked to get back on track when the club took on the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, March 22, at Madison Square Garden.
The Broadway Blueshirts did pick up two points and defeated the Panthers by a final score of 4-2.
While it wasn’t the Rangers’ best game, it more than likely served as a self-confidence booster going forward with the 2016 playoff stretch. New York played in its first home game since departing for a West Coast road trip last week, where the Rangers end the trip with consecutive losses.
The Rangers are now 4-4-2 over their last 10 games, but the recent win re-gained second place in the Metropolitan Division and helped the Blueshirts jump Florida in the Eastern Conference standings for second place as well (90 points).
The Rangers took a 2-0 lead after forward Mats Zuccarello’s power play goal at 3:33 of the second period. New York was 1-2 on the power play, while the club was 0-2 in the team’s last game and loss to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.
Zuccarello continues to be the little engine who could for the Rangers, and the club’s most consistent offensive player. The Norwegian’s sixth power play goal was a goal scorer’s goal by all means, and it should be interesting to see how opponents will look to shutdown No. 36 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs; plus how Zucc will change and adapt to the spring season’s style of play.
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist looked sharp as usual at the World’s Most Famous Arena. The King is now 20-5-2 at Madison Square Garden, while posting a .920 save-percentage.
Rick Nash scored his 13th goal of the season and it was the first time Nash found the back of the net since December 30. No, it wasn’t the prettiest goal the six-foot-four forward has earned over the years, but for his own self-confidence reasons — it was worth getting excited about.
Overall, the defense’s play has been better than it once was earlier on in the season…Kevin Klein, Ryan McDonagh and Keith Yandle all finished with a plus rating, and the other three defensemen finished with an even plus/minus rating.
New York has nine games left to play and the biggest aspect to look out for — is how the offense will find more consistent production from here on out. Rick Nash and forward Eric Staal need to get going and pick up their play, as those two veterans will be key in leading the Rangers during the playoffs.
The Blueshirts next game is on Wednesday night at 8:00pm vs. the Boston Bruins. The game will be televised via NBC Sports Network and will be the featured Wednesday Night Rivalry game.
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