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Hockey Night Schedule

Date Game Time / Result Action
04/07Minnesota Wild vs Vancouver CanucksCanucks W 5–0Box Score | Recap
04/08San Jose Sharks vs Arizona CoyotesCoyotes W 4–3Box Score | Recap
04/09Anaheim Ducks vs Los Angeles KingsDucks W 3–1Box Score | Recap
04/09Nashville Predators vs St. Louis BluesBlues W 2–0Box Score | Recap
04/10Pittsburgh Penguins vs Winnipeg JetsPenguins W 5–2Box Score | Recap

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NHL Blog: Puck Daddy

NY Rangers frustrated by Tampa’s sudden shot-blocking ways

NEW YORK – There was a time, not so long ago, when playing the New York Rangers meant having a good portion of your shots blocked. That was back when the Rangers had John Tortorella, a volcano that had taken on human form, as their head coach.  But times have changed. The current incarnation of the Rangers was 18th in blocked shots in the 2014-15 regular season. Their opponents in the Eastern Conference Final, the Tampa Bay Lightning, were 20th, blocking an average of 13.4 shots per game. The Lightning’s highest total of the Final was 17 blocks, which they achieved in Games 1 and 2 at the Garden. But in their 2-0 Game 5 victory, they dropped down and blocked 24 Rangers shots, helping to slow down an offense that had tallied 10 goals in their last two games against goalie Ben Bishop. For Lightning winger Brian Boyle, who played on those Tortorella teams in New York , blocked shots are the catalyst for offensive frustration. “Yeah, it's frustrating when you get your shot blocked. I know that. When we see guys block shots on the bench, and everybody’s up. It's a momentum shift,” he said on Monday. “I think it picks everybody up. So to be able to do that, I think, it just goes into our [concept] of team defense and making sure we do everything we can to keep the puck out of our net.” And it kept the puck out in Game 5, to the Rangers’ chagrin. “They did a great job of defending, blocking lanes and blocking shots, and it made it really challenging for us,” said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. That included the Bolts’ penalty kill, which shut down the Rangers’ attack after they entered the game having scored two power-play goals in each of the last three contests. “Our execution was a little bit slow tonight on the power play. Because it was slow, it made it easier for them to defend.  We didn't get very many looks on it, and obviously that was a big part of tonight's game,” said Vigneault. When it comes to momentum, the power play giveth and taketh away. “I thought that was the whole key to the game,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper of the penalty kill. “We reel off -- I mean, we take a few penalties there, and especially one of the  big  things that we challenged the guys was special teams.  I mean, we have to  step up here, boys. To give up two power-play goals in, I think, three consecutive games, that's not going to win you anything.” The Rangers felt like the problems they had offensively in Game 5 could be corrected. “They did a good job blocking shots tonight but you know we have to do a better job especially with those power plays there in the second, of putting more pucks towards the net,” said Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Said center Derek Stepan: “My only problem I had in tonight’s game was offensively we worked so hard to get the puck back, and we did a poor job of managing it. Making plays. Chipping pucks in,” he said, “Poor decisions with the puck on the power play.” Including when they shot it right into a Tampa defender. The Lightning only had 22 blocked shots in total during their two home games in the series. But if Game 5 was any indication – and going from 10 goals against in the previous two games to a Brian Bishop shut out means it should be – the Bolts will be hitting the deck with frequency in Game 6 on Tuesday. “I’m sure we’ll look at some game tape, correct the mistakes, try to move forward and get a win,” said winger Marty St. Louis. “You have to find a way to get a win in Tampa.” Considering Henrik Lundqvist’s 13-4 record in elimination games, there’s no panic amongst the Rangers that they couldn’t accomplish it. “I don’t think we have much of a choice. It’s a race to four,” said Stepan. “It doesn’t matter how many games the other team wins. You gotta beat’em in four games.” MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

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