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 Leafs take on Rangers

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Fournstar

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PostSubject: Leafs take on Rangers   Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:06 pm

Leafs take on Rangers

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=268575&lid=headline&lpos=topStory_nhl

(Sports Network) - The New York Rangers hope a coaching change can help turn their fortunes around. Tonight, the Rangers will visit the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in the finale of a home-and-home series and the first game for New York since the firing of Tom Renney.

It's a game you can catch on TSN starting at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt. The game is also available in TSNHD.

New York has a record of 31-23-7 and is currently 10 points behind first- place New Jersey in the Atlantic Division. The Rangers are also sixth in the Eastern Conference playoff race with 69 points, just two ahead of ninth-place Carolina. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.

The Rangers made the playoffs in all three of Renney's full seasons with the club and had won a series in each of the past two springs. Renney posted a record of 164-121-42 with the Rangers.

Tortorella won a Stanley Cup with the Lightning in the spring of 2004, but was fired in June of 2008 with one year remaining on his contract. This is Tortorella's second stint with the Blueshirts, as he was previously an assistant with the Rangers and took over as interim coach for the final four games of the 1999-2000 season after John Muckler was fired. New York was 0-4 under Tortorella during that brief stint.

The Rangers picked up a point in Sunday's overtime loss to the Maple Leafs, as Niklas Hagman scored on the power play three minutes into the extra session, lifting Toronto to the 3-2 decision at Madison Square Garden.

With Rangers forward Blair Betts in the penalty box for hooking, Pavel Kubina drilled a feed above the left circle from Lee Stempniak that was deflected in front by Hagman, slid underneath the left leg of Henrik Lundqvist and trickled across the goal line.

Kubina and Stempniak each collected three assists for the Maple Leafs, who won for just the second time in their last seven games. Ian White and John Mitchell also scored for Toronto, while Vesa Toskala turned away 39 of the 41 shots he faced to pick up the win.

Michal Rozsival tied the game with 40 seconds left in the third period and Scott Gomez also tallied for the Rangers, who are 2-7-3 over their last 12 games. Brandon Dubinsky recorded two assists and Lundqvist made 23 saves in defeat.

Tonight, the Rangers will try to avoid an eighth straight road loss, as the club has failed to post a win away from the Big Apple since beating Chicago on January 16. New York has a 13-14-3 record as the visiting team this year

The Maple Leafs, who are 13 points out of a playoff spot, are 10-11-8 as the host this year and have lost three straight on home ice.

This evening's tilt marks the final meeting between the Rangers and Leafs this season. Toronto has a 2-0-1 mark in those games and has won four of the last seven encounters between the clubs. However, New York has notched four victories in its last six trips to the Centre.

Renney was fired on Monday and replaced later in the day by former Tampa Bay head coach John Tortorella. The firing came after Sunday's home loss to Toronto gave the Rangers their 10th loss in 12 games.
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PostSubject: Re: Leafs take on Rangers   Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:01 am

KULEMIN SCORES SO WINNER AS LEAFS SPOIL TORTORELLA'S DEBUT
THE CANADIAN PRESS

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=268658&lid=headline&lpos=topStory_nhl

TORONTO - It appears that John Tortorella is ready to rock the boat with the New York Rangers.

Even though the coach didn't seem upset after a 2-1 shootout loss to Toronto in his debut on Wednesday, he didn't sugar-coat the situation either.

Clearly, the players are going to be taken to task under the new regime.

''I don't want to jump to conclusions but I'm a little concerned about the conditioning of the club,'' said Tortorella. ''I thought we looked tired in the third period. We're going to try and play an attacking style, we need to be in shape.''

The Rangers outplayed the Maple Leafs for large stretches of the game and deserved a better fate.

Tortorella hasn't had much time to work with his new team. He replaced Tom Renney on Monday and only had one full practice with the Rangers before they travelled to Toronto.

New York put together a better effort than it did during a 3-2 overtime loss to the Maple Leafs on Sunday. They'll be looking to build on this game when they host Florida at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.

''I think this was definitely a step in the right direction,'' said goalie Henrik Lundqvist. ''We looked faster and had more energy. He told us to go after them more, take more chances to get our offensive game going a little bit.''

While that translated into more scoring chances, the Rangers ran into a hot goalie in Vesa Toskala. He stopped 31 shots during the game and turned aside all three attempts in the shootout, improving his record to 6-0-4 since Jan. 19.

Toskala has responded particularly well since returning from a week off. He's turned aside 102 of 107 shots during the three games since as the Leafs have earned five of a possible six points.

''He's been playing outstanding,'' said defenceman Ian White. ''His last couple games he's pretty much single-handedly won us the games.''

The shootout victory was just the third in 10 attempts for the Leafs this season. Nikolai Kulemin beat Lundqvist on Toronto's first attempt and Toskala took over from there.

Niklas Hagman scored in regulation for Toronto (23-26-12), which plays at Long Island on Thursday night.

Wade Redden replied for the Rangers (31-23-Cool.

New York currently holds down sixth spot in the Eastern Conference, but is just three points up on ninth-place Carolina and four ahead of 10th-place Pittsburgh.

Tortorella doesn't have much time to turn things around and admitted that he might not be able to do much about the players he thinks are out of shape.

''It's difficult during the season,'' he said. ''We're 60-plus games in. I expect the team to be tired, all teams are tired at this time of year. I wouldn't say the whole team - I have some concerns about a few guys.

''It's a tough way to play. You have to be in shape.''

The coach even called a timeout shortly after Hagman had tied the game in the third period because he thought some of his defenceman needed a rest.

It was a tedious opening 20 minutes as both teams fumbled the puck around and failed to generate any top-quality scoring chances. The most interesting moment came a little over six minutes in when White and Markus Naslund dropped the gloves for a brief fight.

Neither of those players can be confused as heavyweights. In fact, it was Naslund's first fighting major since December 1993, when he squared off with Hartford's Randy Cunneyworth during his rookie season.

''It wasn't much of anything,'' said White.

Another long streak came to an end in the second period when Redden opened the scoring. The much-maligned defenceman beat Toskala with a long shot at 10:26, giving him his first goal in 58 games.

Redden was one of New York's prized off-season additions and will be one of the players Tortorella tries to spark over the final 20 games.

The game started to open up after he made it 1-0, with Toskala sprawling across his crease to stop a couple chances from Petr Prucha before Toronto's Lee Stempniak hit the post at the other end.

New York's lead carried into the third period and was starting to look like it might stand up until Hagman essentially created a goal out of nothing. He made a quick move coming out of the corner and beat Lundqvist to the glove side at 10:21.

That set up the second overtime game between the teams in four days. And just like last time, it ended with a loss for the Rangers.

''I'm not upset with the team,'' said Tortorella. ''I just saw us sink a little bit in the third period. I just thought the play got taken to us in the third period.

''We want to finish (better in) games like that.''

Notes: All six replacement coaches this season have lost their debuts ... Mark Bell didn't dress for the Rangers after being claimed on waivers earlier in the day from Toronto ... Boyd Devereaux was a healthy scratch for the Maple Leafs ... Toronto's John Mitchell and Jeff Finger each left the game with upper-body injuries ... Tortorella is the 34th coach in Rangers history ... Announced attendance at Air Canada Centre was 19,383.
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PostSubject: Re: Leafs take on Rangers   Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:04 am

Pretty boring game overall... you can tell Torts is going to need time to get his system running with the Rangers... Leafs while not getting many chances played well defensively.. and Toskala seems to be going on a little run of late with solid goal tending... Best player on the Leafs 2night by far was Kulemin!! loved his energy!!
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