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Recap: Rangers Start Strong in Defeat to Penguins at MSG

by Michael Obernauer

It was obvious the Rangers had brought the good vibes home with them from up North, because there seemed to be some carryover going on from Saturday's overtime win in Toronto to Monday's first period at Madison Square Garden. But the Blueshirts on this night just couldn't build the bridge from first period to second.

It was an ideal start out of the gates for the Rangers, racing out to a two-goal lead in the game's first 15 minutes, only to absorb five unanswered goals from there on out in a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Two rookies - Brendan Lemieux and Vinni Lettieri - got the scoring started in the opening frame, in support of their fellow rookie Alexandar Georgiev. Lettieri's goal came on a power play and was his first in the NHL this season after he led the Hartford Wolf Pack with 23 in 44 games.

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Postgame Notes: Rangers vs. Penguins 03.25.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers

Team Notes

  • YOUTH SERVED - Seven of the Rangers' last 12 goals have been scored by a player who is 23 years old or younger (Buchnevich (3), Lemieux (2), Pionk, and Howden). At least one Ranger who is 23 years old or younger has registered a goal in eight of the last nine games and in 10 of the last 12 games. According to NHL Stats & Information, the Rangers are currently the youngest team in the NHL (average age is 25.7 years old).
  • ON POINT - At least one Rangers defenseman has recorded a point in 22 of the team's last 24 games, including all 22 games which the team has registered a goal over the span (dating back to Feb. 4 vs. Los Angeles). Rangers defensemen have registered 46 points (seven goals, 39 assists) over the last 24 contests (does not include points recorded by Brendan Smith, who has played forward during the stretch).
  • POWER RANGERS - The Blueshirts were 1-for-3 (5:17) on the power play in tonight's game. New York has recorded a power play goal in three of the last six games.
  • SHOOTING GALLERY - The Rangers recorded 35 shots on goal in tonight's game, including 16 shots on goal in the first period, and 14 of 18 skaters registered at least one shot on goal in tonight's contest. The Blueshirts recorded at least 30 shots on goal in a game for the second time in the last three games and for the 34th time this season.
  • HITTING MACHINE - The Rangers were credited with 26 hits in tonight's contest, including 12 hits in the first period, and 13 of 18 skaters registered at least one hit in the game. The Blueshirts have recorded 20 or more hits in 61 of 75 games this season.
  • 'A' HELPING HAND - Brady Skjei and Kevin Shattenkirk wore an 'A' as alternate captains in tonight's contest (along with Mika Zibanejad).
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Rangers Prospect Report: 03.25.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers

Three Stars of the Week

  • Tarmo Reunanen tallied three assists/points in three playoff games in Liiga over the past week, and he logged at least 24:00 of ice time in each of the last two games during the week. The Rangers' fourth round pick (98th overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has registered five points (one goal, four assists), 28 shot attempts (14 on goal), and a plus-two rating in four playoff games this year, and he has averaged 22:04 of ice time per game thus far in the playoffs. Reunanen leads Liiga in shot attempts, is tied for first in assists, and is tied for third in points in the playoffs this year, and he leads defensemen in the league in assists, points, and shot attempts. Reunanen also ranks 14th in Liiga in average ice time in the playoffs. He has registered 30 points between the regular season and playoffs in 2018-19. Over the last five seasons (since 2014-15), he is one of four Liiga defensemen in their U21 season or younger who have registered 30 regular season and playoff points in a single season (along with Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell, and Sami Niku, all of whom are currently playing in the NHL). Reunanen tallied 25 points (six goals, 19 assists) in 58 games with TPS during the regular season in 2018-19. Reunanen, who turned 21 years old on Mar. 1, 2019, led Liiga defensemen who were in their U21 season or younger in goals and points, and ranked second in assists during the regular season in 2018-19. Over the last 10 seasons (since 2009-10), Reunanen is one of five defensemen in Liiga who recorded at least 25 regular season points in either their U21 season or younger (along with Sami Vatanen, Esa Lindell, Ville Pokka, and Sami Niku). He also ranked 12th in Liiga in average ice time during the regular season (21:14), and he ranked second among players who are in their U21 season or younger in the league in average ice time.
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Pregame Notes: Rangers vs. Penguins 03.25.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Monday, Mar. 25, 2019, 7:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM

Rangers: 29-32-13 (71 pts)
Penguins: 41-24-11 (93 pts)

SCORE GREAT SEATS! CLICK HERE

The Rangers play their 75th game of the 2018-19 season on Monday, Mar. 25, against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Metropolitan Division matchup at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). Including Monday's game, five of the Blueshirts' final eight games in 2018-19 are against Metropolitan Division teams.

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Recap: Rangers Come Away With Overtime Win in Toronto

by Michael Obernauer

TORONTO -- This time is wasn't Alexandar Georgiev's birthday, and by no means was this a piece of cake. But all things considered, and when all was said and done, the Rangers had every right to celebrate on Saturday night.

It was all said and done once local boy Ryan Strome ended it, taking a pass from Boo Nieves and banking one off the boot of Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen 1:48 into overtime - Strome's first career OT winner lifting the Rangers to a 2-1 victory over the Maple Leafs, and lifting a weight off the Blueshirts' shoulders after a scuffling couple of weeks.

And it made a winner once again out of Georgiev, who appears to have found the formula this season stifle a Toronto team loaded with offensive talent.

"This feels really good," said Brady Skjei. "It's been a while since we've had this feeling in the locker room."

"We've worked hard the last couple weeks. The results haven't been there and it's been frustrating," said Strome. "It's good to get one against a good team on the road. And in pretty dramatic fashion, too."

The victory snapped the Rangers' skid at five, and perhaps just as gratifying, was their first overtime win since Oct. 11, in game No. 4 of the season. The Rangers had lost nine straight games that were decided in overtime and must have wondered if they would ever catch a break in the 3-on-3.

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Postgame Notes: Rangers at Maple Leafs 03.23.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers

Team Notes

  • YOUTH SERVED - Six of the Rangers' last 10 goals have been scored by a player who is 23 years old or younger (Buchnevich (3), Pionk, Howden, and Lemieux). At least one Ranger who is 23 years old or younger has registered a goal in seven of the last eight games and in nine of the last 11 games. According to NHL Stats & Information, the Rangers are currently the youngest team in the NHL (average age is 25.65 years old).
  • ON POINT - Rangers defensemen recorded two assists/points in tonight's game. At least one Rangers defenseman has recorded a point in 21 of the team's last 23 games, including all 21 games which the team has registered a goal over the span (dating back to Feb. 4 vs. Los Angeles). Rangers defensemen have registered 45 points (seven goals, 38 assists) over the last 23 contests (does not include points recorded by Brendan Smith, who has played forward during the stretch).
  • TWO GOOD - The Blueshirts have posted a 21-3-3 record in 27 games this season when allowing two goals or fewer (in regulation and the five-minute overtime period).
  • TOP TEN - All of the Rangers' 18 skaters in tonight's game logged 10:00 or more of ice time.
  • IN A NEW YORK MINUTE - Pavel Buchnevich registered a goal 19 seconds into the third period of tonight's game. According to NHL Stats & Information, Buchnevich's goal was the fastest a Ranger has tallied from the start of a period in 2018-19.
  • KILL ZONE - The Blueshirts were 3-for-3 (5:20) on the penalty kill in tonight's contest. The Rangers have not allowed a power play goal in seven of the last 11 games (30-for-34; 88.2%), in 14 of the last 24 games (55-for-65; 84.6%), and in 19 of the last 31 games (79-for-93; 84.9%).
  • ONE AND WON - Six of the Rangers' last 10 games, eight of their last 13 games, and 40 of their 74 games this season have been decided by one goal. As of the conclusion of tonight's game, the Blueshirts' 40 one-goal games this season are tied for the most in the NHL (tied with Detroit). The Rangers have played at least 40 one-goal games in a season for the first time since 2008-09 (43). In addition, the 2018-19 season is the seventh in the Rangers' 92-season history that the team has played at least 40 games decided by one goal or fewer. The Rangers' 17 wins in one-goal games this season are tied for the sixth-most in the NHL.
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Preview: Rangers Face Toronto in Season Series Finale

by Michael Obernauer

RANGERS at MAPLE LEAFS, 7 p.m.
MSG, 98.7 FM

If Alexandar Georgiev ever feels like reminiscing on the most recent meeting between the Rangers and the Maple Leafs, and the standout game of his young career, he has a birthday present on display at his home that he can always admire.

If the Toronto Maple Leafs ever wanted a reminder of that evening, they'll have No. 40 in their home rink on Saturday night.

The Blueshirts will hand the nets to their rookie goaltender in Toronto on Saturday, when the Rangers and Leafs hook up for the final time this season - with the Blueshirts missing Chris Kreider for the first time all year because of a lower-body injury - and for the first time since Georgiev's record-shattering night on Feb. 10. Georgiev stopped 55 of 56 shots to beat Toronto on that night, in a 4-1 Blueshirts win, setting a Madison Square Garden record for saves by a Ranger goaltender in just his 12th start in that legendary rink.

His performance was so sublime that night that his fellow netminder, Henrik Lundqvist, scooped up the game puck after the final buzzer and presented it to his understudy - a keeper of a gift at the end of Georgiev's 23rd birthday.

"I have it on my table at home," Georgiev said.

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Pregame Notes: Rangers at Maple Leafs 03.23.19

by New York Rangers @NYRangers

NEW YORK RANGERS at TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Saturday, Mar. 23, 2019, 7:00 p.m. ET
Scotiabank Arena - Toronto, ON
MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM

Rangers: 28-32-13 (69 pts)
Maple Leafs: 44-25-5 (93 pts)

The Rangers play their 74th game of the 2018-19 season Saturday, Mar. 23, against the Toronto Maple Leafs in an Original Six matchup at Scotiabank Arena (7:00 p.m. ET - TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM). Including Saturday's game, two of the Blueshirts' next three contests are against Original Six teams.

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Lundqvist Reaches New Milestone With Same Work Ethic and Mindset

by Michael Obernauer

Among the records and milestones that Henrik Lundqvist continues to amass, the mark he surpassed on Tuesday was perhaps a bit more under the radar, but it was no less eye-catching: By the end of the first period against the Red Wings at the Garden, Lundqvist had played 50,000 minutes in the National Hockey League, every single second of it as a Ranger. He became only the 11th goaltender on record to reach that mark, and the third to do so for one franchise alone.

This was under the radar even to Lundqvist himself: He was unaware of it until he was told on Thursday afternoon. And he could only laugh when it was put to him that 50,000 minutes comes out to 35 full days.

"Wow. I mean obviously I've played a lot of games here over 14 years now, so I guess I knew I've played a lot of minutes," Lundqvist said. "I feel lucky to be given that opportunity to play - it's not given to you, you have to earn it, you have to work hard for it. Certainly I'm happy about that."

But you don't need that kind of time under your belt to understand that not every minute is the same; that some minutes hold their weight in the here and now, others for what they can say about the minutes that are still to come.

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Hard Work Comes First for Lauri Pajuniemi

by Pasi Tuominen

Finnish forward Lauri Pajuniemi, a fifth-round draft choice of the Rangers in 2018, is enjoying an upward trend with TPS Turku of the Finnish Liiga.

Pajuniemi, 19, finished the regular season with five goals and 13 points in 44 games played. In late February, he clocked his career-high time-on-ice and later got some chances in the top six.

"I was able to do better and better as the season progressed," says Pajuniemi. "I started relatively slowly and was struggling a bit with self-confidence. But later things started working out and the coaches gave me more responsibility. As the playoffs started, I felt it was the best time of the year."

A skilled right-hand shot with some penalty killing chops, Pajuniemi is hoping to become a key player for TPS in the playoffs. He won't take anything for granted, though.

"I've improved my all-round game. Consequently, I've seen more time on ice on the penalty kill. I've gained more trust, but on the other hand, I wish I had scored more points during the regular season."

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