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(Page 5 of 7)
Rangers vs Devils - 2012 Stanley Cup Conference Finals

Gaborik ready to move on from Game 2 benching

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

"Every player has the same accountability. He'll be fine. He takes that stuff to heart and we expect he'll be one of the better players (Saturday). That's the way it's been in this locker room all year." -- Rangers' Brad Richards on Marian Gaborik

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Lesson learned, says Marian Gaborik.

"It was what it was, obviously," the Rangers' 41-goal scorer said Friday after practice. "I have to do a better job there on their second goal."

Gaborik is referring to his inability to clear the puck out of the Rangers' zone with 1:58 to go in the second period of Game 2 Wednesday. He couldn't do it, so Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador was able to keep the puck in and seven seconds later Ryan Carter scored the game-tying goal on a deflection from in front of Henrik Lundqvist.

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Tortorella was seeking best mix of players in Game 2

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

New York Rangers coach John Tortorella doesn't solely blame Marian Gaborik for the team's 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday, but he was willing to speak in generalities during a conference call Thursday about the team's third straight loss while leading a series 1-0.

"I'm not going to get into individual players," Tortorella said. "I think as you go into the playoffs and you go into these momentum swings of winning a game and losing a game, it's not one individual guy. Certainly [Game 2], it wasn't one individual guy that we end up on the wrong side of that. There are a number of things we need to be better at as a team."

The Rangers were leading 2-1 late in the second period when Ryan Carter deflected a shot past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to even the score. Gaborik had an opportunity to get the puck out of the zone seconds before the goal, and his failure to do so preceded a lengthy benching during the third period with the Rangers searching for the tying goal.

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BC coach York's loyalties tested in East finals

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

In the locker room of the Boston College Eagles, winner of three of the last five NCAA hockey championships, there's a wall featuring photos of all the Eagles who have hoisted the Stanley Cup, starting with Joe Mullen and on through Brian Leetch, Doug Brown, and Brooks Orpik.

With four teams remaining in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it's very possible that at a few more players could be added to that wall.

"It's inspiring for all of us, coaches and players. To get to the National League but also to get a Cup," BC coach Jerry York told NHL.com. "We have a goal here. You leave with a diploma in one hand and a [NCAA championship] ring in the other hand. These guys all worked really hard at their degrees. We're very proud, but I don't know who to root for."

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Gionta making the best of opportunity with Devils

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Being a 28-year-old AHL player in the New Jersey Devils organization requires great patience, especially when your last name is Gionta. That virtue is finally paying off for Stephen Gionta, who after six seasons with their farm team has contributed to the Devils' run to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Rangers.

Described as undersized, undrafted and an underdog, Gionta tried to just be undaunted when he got his first shot in New Jersey last season. But in a 12-game NHL run he failed to register a point and in his last game, a Dec. 4, 2010 loss in Philadelphia, he played only five shifts before being sent back to Albany. Entering this season, Gionta was looking for another shot.

"Every year you hope it's going to happen. You work hard over the summer and try to earn a spot. If it doesn’t happen, you just have to keep working hard and hope you get that break," Gionta told NHL.com. "It takes a lot to get to this level. You need the right timing and the right personality. Luckily enough, management gave me a shot coming into the playoffs."

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Rangers reaping benefits of focusing on draft

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

Michael Del Zotto
Defense - NYR
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 9
SOG: 34 | +/-: 0

The celebration that followed a beauty of a goal by 21-year-old Michael Del Zotto was a gathering of five New York Rangers who epitomize the youth movement of a franchise that once was defined as one of the oldest and least successful in the League.

Greeting Del Zotto was a grinning Derek Stepan, the 21-year-old forward who threaded the perfect cross-ice pass that set up the goal. Also in the pack of wide-eyed youngsters was 23-year-old Artem Anisimov, who started the rush up ice after the 28-year-old Dan Girardi -- middle-aged by current Rangers standards -- blocked a shot in his own zone.

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Devils reap rewards for staying the course

Brian Hunter - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Despite giving up three third-period goals and getting shut out by the New York Rangers in the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals, the New Jersey Devils didn't feel there was an awful lot they needed to change entering Game 2 in order to gain a split heading back home.

Maintaining for 60 minutes the tenacious forecheck that was a hallmark of their five-game series win against the Philadelphia Flyers in the conference semifinals was one item on the agenda, and along the way, the Devils broke through the biggest roadblock standing between them and a win at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday -- how to beat Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

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Rangers pay the price for losing puck battles

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The sight of star forward Marian Gaborik sitting on the bench for the first 11:02 of the third period after his gaffe led to a Devils goal in the second period was emblematic of the problems the New York Rangers had in their own zone Wednesday night.

Marian Gaborik
Right Wing - NYR
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 10
SOG: 47 | +/-: 3
Coach John Tortorella wouldn't discuss limiting the ice time of his 41-goal scorer with his team searching for a tying goal, but Gaborik's teammates talked about their inability to make plays along the wall against the ferocious forechecking of the Devils, who captured Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals 3-2 to even the series at 1-1.

"In the corners and along the wall, they were pinching and cycling us pretty good," defenseman Marc Staal said. "In the first period, they were winning more battles than us in the corners and enabled them to get more pressure on us. … That's something that we can fix, and we are going to."

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Clarkson tallies another game-winner for Devils

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- It wasn't too long ago New Jersey Devils forward David Clarkson was regarded as that prototypical grinder, always willing to drop the gloves and retreat into areas on the ice where only the strong survive.

That seems like eons ago right about now.

David Clarkson
Right Wing - NJD
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 9
SOG: 31 | +/-: 6
Make no mistake, while Clarkson will never shy away from body contact and, on occasion, shout a few choice words at an opponent in his face, he has also transformed into a one tough offensive hombre this season.

In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, he's become Mr. Clutch.

Clarkson scored his third game-winning playoff goal on Wednesday to help lead the Devils to a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Madison Square Garden.

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Anisimov gradually acclimated to NHL life

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

Artem Anisimov
Center - NYR
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 8
SOG: 14 | +/-: 2
NEW YORK -- The early part of Artem Anisimov's career was all about finding a comfort level in the United States, with the language, the customs and, of course, the hockey.

Anisimov spent the first 19 years of his life in Yaroslavl, Russia, before leaving home to play two seasons for the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL. The Rangers' second-round pick in the 2006 NHL Draft arrived with an almost nonexistent ability to speak English, something he has worked to improve during his two years in Hartford and three years with the New York Rangers.

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McDonagh made rapid strides on Rangers' blue line

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Ryan McDonagh spent Tuesday trying tried to deflect some of the attention placed on his rise for the New York Rangers in his first full NHL season.

Ryan McDonagh
Defense - NYR
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 1
SOG: 28 | +/-: -2
He mentioned other members of the blue-line corps who saw an increase in responsibility at the start of the season when Marc Staal wasn't able to play because of issues stemming from a concussion last year. He's not quite 23 years old and might have only had 45 NHL games on his resume before coach John Tortorella pegged him as Staal's replacement next to Dan Girardi on the team's go-to pairing, but McDonagh is going to continue to have a tough time slipping away from praise the way he can smoothly skate a puck out of danger.

"Ryan hasn't changed much," said Rangers forward Derek Stepan, who has played with McDonagh since their college days at Wisconsin. "He's always been the same guy since I've known him. I've known him for a quite a while now. Hockey player-wise, everything he's doing now he's been doing his whole entire life -- his skating, his strength, his ability to shut down guys that are big players in this League. He's been doing that for a long time now. It is pretty cool to watch."

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Quote of the Day

I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the second one of his career after 2011 in Pittsburgh