Post-game notes & quotes courtesy of the NYR:
Rangers 2, Blackhawks 1.
Team notes:– The Rangers resumed their regular season campaign with a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at Madison Square Garden. New York is now 17-6-1 in their last 24 games, and 12-4-0 in their last 16. – The Blueshirts improved to 33-24-3 overall (69 pts), including a 15-14-3 mark at home this season. The Rangers are 9-4-1 in their last 14 games at Madison Square Garden, and 10-5-2 in their last 17 at home. – New York completed a season series sweep of Chicago, having won their first matchup of the season, 3-2, on Jan. 8 at United Center. The last time the Blueshirts swept the Blackhawks in a season where they played each other more than once was 2008-09 (2-0-0 in the season series). – The Rangers have registered a point in nine of their last 11 games against the Blackhawks (6-2-1-2), and are 5-2-0-0 in their last seven home games against Chicago, dating back to a 4-2 victory on Feb. 19, 2001. Prior to tonight, the Blueshirts last win against the Blackhawks at MSG was a 3-2 victory on Nov. 1, 2010. – The Blueshirts and Blackhawks have now been separated by two goals or fewer in each of their last 12 meetings (6-3-1-2), including 10 games decided by one goal or fewer over the span (5-2-1-2). – New York opened the game’s scoring for the fourth time in the last five games, and improved to 25-4-1 when scoring the game’s first goal. The Rangers are now 16-4-1 when leading after the first period, and 20-1-1 when leading after the second. – The Rangers have allowed two goals or less in 36 of 60 games this season, including 13 of their last 16 contests, and in 10 of the last 11 at home (each of the last five at MSG). New York is 28-8-0 when holding opponents to two goals or less. – The Blueshirts were credited with 17 blocked shots, including five players with two or more blocked shots in the contest. Dan Girardi led all skaters with five blocked shots, and was also credited with a game-high, four hits.
Player notes:– Cam Talbot made 31 saves to improve to 11-5-0 overall, including a 4-3-0 mark at home this season. It was the sixth time this season he posted 30 or more saves in a game (4-2-0, 2.32 goals against average, .937 save percentage in those contests), and he has held opponents to two goals or less in 13 of his 16 career starts, including five of seven starts at home. Talbot is now 4-2-0 with a 1.68 goals against average, a .942 save percentage, and one shutout in six games against Western Conference opponents this season. – Derick Brassard notched the game’s opening goal at 10:14 of the first period to extend his point streak to seven games (four goals, five assists during the streak). The seven-game point streak ties as the longest for the Rangers this season. Brassard also registered three shots and two hits in 12:20 of ice time, and is now tied for fifth on the team with 12 goals this season. – Rick Nash registered the eventual game-winning goal at 15:53 of the third period, and tied for the game-high with five shots in 16:01 of ice time. He has notched 12 goals in the last 17 games, including eight goals in the last 11, and leads the team with 19 goals and seven game-winning goals this season. – Benoit Pouliot tallied an assist and was credited with two hits in 12:35 of ice time. He has now registered six points (three goals, three assists) in the last seven games, including four points (two goals, two assists) in the last three. – J.T. Miller recorded an assist, two shots, and two hits in 12:18 of ice time, while making his return to the Rangers lineup following his recall from Hartford (AHL) on Tuesday. He has now tallied two assists in his last three NHL games. – Derek Stepan registered an assist and two hits in 19:49 of ice time. He has now tallied nine points (three goals, six assists) in the last 11 games, and ranks third on the team with 26 assists and 36 points this season. – Carl Hagelin tallied an assist and logged 17:17 of ice time. He has now recorded five points (one goal, four assists) in the last seven games.
Alain Vigneault on tonight’s game… “I really liked the way we played in the first two periods. We’re playing against the Stanley Cup Champions and we’re playing against the No. 1 offense in the league. I believe that trading chances is probably not the way to go, so that’s what we did for the first two periods. We were really solid. We really back checked hard. Their shift lengths were good so we were able to keep a smart, high pace and we didn’t give them very much in the first two periods. We had our share of opportunities. In the third they had a big push and the difference was the goaltending. Cam came up extremely big in key moments, especially at the end there and that made the difference for us. We found a way to get that second goal. Nash made a huge play on that real power move and a real good shot and he gave us a two goal lead.”
Cam Talbot on tonight’s game… “To come out and beat the defending champs coming off a break like that is a good measuring stick for us moving forward, so we know when we play our best hockey we can beat anyone. It’s a good confidence booster for us coming down the stretch.”
Rick Nash on tonight’s game… “I don’t think we gave them much until the last two shifts there. Obviously they threw everything they had at us. We still have to counter a bit better but I thought it was a great defensive game, and Talbot was first star by far. He was unbelievable.”
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