Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Crosby Returns to the Garden

Update: Rangers Win in a Thriller at MSG, 4-3
      The Garden was electric for this one, the fans couldn't wait to welcome the Eastern Conference leading Pittsburgh Penguins.  The Rangers were trying to make a statement in this one...that they are among the best in the Eastern Conference.  Riding a 6 game home win streak, they faced the Penguins in a matchup of two of the hottest teams in the NHL.  The two teams came out heated, with a fight breaking out between Avery and Kennedy as soon as the puck was dropped.  It resulted in each player getting a roughing minor, and as soon as Avery and Kennedy came out of the box, they dropped the gloves again.  Each received a 5 minute major for fighting.  The Penguins would take a 1-0 lead on a power play goal by Neal with an assist from Crosby and Martin late in the first period.  The second period saw an onslaught of goals by the Rangers, four goals in 10 minutes by Callahan, Mitchell, Richards, and Gaborik.  Malkin responded for the Penguins with 7 seconds left in the second period.  Rangers had a 4-2 lead at the end of two.  The third period began with a goal at the beginning of the period by Dupuis (another assist from Crosby) to make it a 4-3 game, and that would be all the scoring in the game as the Rangers hung on for the 4-3 lead.  The Rangers were able to keep Crosby from scoring a goal in this one, and that helped them pull off the win.  This game had it all, and it was a huge win for the Rangers.  The Rangers now sit in second place (tied with Philadelphia) in the Atlantic Division, 3 points behind Pittsburgh.
Crosby Set to Return to the Garden
Sid the Kid has come back better than ever and tonight the Rangers have to try their best to contain him.  Since coming back, Crosby has 2 goals and 7 assists and a +/- of 7.  Pretty good for his first 4 games back.  The Penguins are 3-0-1 since his return as well.  Crosby has done nothing less than impress since returning.  But tonight, he will be tested against a red hot Rangers team that has won 9 of their last 11 games.  They are 6-1-1 at home and have won their last 6 in a row.  A huge reason for this has been the streak that Brad Richards has been on for the Rangers.  He started the year slowly with his new team, only scoring 4 goals in his first 14 games, but has matched that total in the last 6 games.
     The Rangers trail the Penguins by 5 points in the standings, so this would be a huge win if they can stop Crosby.  Gaborik has had a great season and will probably play a role in this game as well.  In addition to Gaborik and Richards, a big part of the Rangers success this season has been their goaltending and defense.  The goaltenders for the Rangers, Lundqvist and Biron, have compiled the second best goals against in the league, at 2.1.  Along with this, the Rangers are killing penalties at an 85.2% clip, good for 9th best overall in the NHL.  If the Rangers want to creep closer to the Penguins in the standings, they will have to control Crosby and this task will fall on the defense.  When he does break through, and he will, it is up to Lundqvist to stop Crosby's shots.  Crosby loves the bright lights, so he will do his best to have an enormous game.  If the defense plays like they have, and the goaltending is solid, then the Rangers can win this game.

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