Welcome fans to the official Blueshirt Bulletin Live Blog straight from the press box at Madison Square Garden. Game time is a few minutes away. We'll back with updates after the anthem.
1:05 - Drop of the puck shortly. Donald Brashear a scratch for the Rangers and the same lines as the previous game.
1:10 - Chris Higgins takes an early roughing penalty after giving a cheap shot along the boards. Canes on the PP.
1:13 - Good penalty kill by the Rangers. A near-miss by Dubinsky and some good zone work by Brian Boyle. Any question about Boyle's value has been answered the past couple weeks. A versatile big youngster who has done a good job especially on the PK.
1:16 - Del Zotto continues to learn the physical game. He takes hits well, but has shown the ability to throw his weight around very well.
1:18 - Gaborik continues to be stymied. A great pass up the wing by Girardi gave Gaborik the break, but he was unable to capitalize as Cam Ward took away the five hole. 12:01 to go, Rangers lead in shots 4 - 2.
1:22 - Midway through the period, Rangers get lucky as a shot rings off the crossbar. Rozsival lost his man in front.
1:27 - Great rush by Marc Staal, but he misses the net high and wide. A few shots have gone to that side so the Rangers must be trying for high blocker side on Ward.
1:28 - Big hit at the blueline by Del Zotto. Rangers playing better north-south than in previous games. It also doesn't hurt that they're playing the worst team in the Eastern Conference.
1:30 - Higgins misses a wide open net on a terrific pass by Callahan then takes an offensive zone penalty with a lazy slashing call. Just under six minutes to go. Rangers lead in shots 6 - 4.
1:34 - Staal rushes shorthanded and feeds Dubinsky on the 2-on-1. Ward just gets it with the blocker. Rangers kill the penalty successfully.
1:36 - Rangers on the power play with 2:44 to go. Callahan draws an interference call behind his own net.
1:37 - I smell a Gaborik goal.
1:39 - Oh well, it was worth a shot. Rangers couldn't sustain any pressure on the PP and the only real chance came when Dubinsky broke in, but passed to Higgins rather than taking the shot from the slot. Period ends scoreless. Shots on Goal: 8 - 7 Rangers.
1:46 - Between period notes:
- Del Zotto and Staal were the best defensemen on the ice. Del Zotto laid out some quality hits and was much more aggressive in the corners. Staal has had a great first step out of the zone, joining the play and looking very confident in the transition.
- Gaborik still looks tired. Not that any player who is amongst the NHL lead in goals and points can be questioned, but there is some wear evident. How will he respond following the Olympics?
- One quick note: Matt Zaba came up to backup Lundqvist today as Chad Johnson was sent down. This appears to be the trend for the rest of the season. As many of the beat writers acknowledge, it's unlikely that we'll see Steve Valiquette back on Broadway.
- You can't help but notice how Drury and Callahan have recently embraced their leadership roles on the ice. It seemed burdensome at the onset of the season, but in the past couple weeks, they have really turned their games around. If they can successfully contribute offensively, that secondary scoring will set the Rangers apart from the other bottom-half teams.
2:00 - Second period underway. Good pressure early by the Rangers. Drury feeds Avery for the breakaway, but the Grate One shanks it wide. However, he draws the penalty on a slash by Carson. Rangers on the PP.
2:03 - Christensen is a little less visible in his first line role this afternoon than he was in his debut. You have to wonder if Tortorella would ever consider trying Drury in that spot.
2:09 - Good homage by MSG to honor all the Olympians on both teams today. 13 minutes to go, s
2:10 - Carolina's Jokinen takes a high sticking penalty on Girardi. Rangers back on the PP.
2:13 - Canes kill of the first two minutes of the double minor. Rangers struggling with their transition on the PP. Some better puck possession, but no real pressure in front of Ward.
2:15 - Callahan hits the post on a little give-and-go with Dubinsky. 45 seconds left on the PP.
2:16 - Rangers miss a big opportunity with the four-minute PP. No real pressure down low and very little traffic in front. Seems like the Rangers are getting a little too cute with their puck movement.
2:20 - Drury robbed low in front on a nice play on top of the crease. I am officially dubbing the Higgins - Drury - Callahan line the Tri-State Trio.
2:23 - Another post by the Rangers. If every shot off the post in the past two games counted as a goal, the combined score would be about 7 - 5. 4:34 to go, Rangers leading in shots 16 - 10.
2:27 - Drury clears it over the
boards in the defensive zone. Delay of game penalty with 3:28 to go. Important PK for the Rangers without their top penalty killing center.
2:29 - Anisimov doing a good job filling in for Drury with Callahan on the PK. Good composure in his own zone. 33 left on the penalty.
2:31 - Henrik stands tall as the penalty expires, robbing Carolina's forward in front, but the Rangers lose their coverage in the slot and allow a Hurricanes goal with 46 seconds to go in the period. Rozsival was caught in the corner and no forward assisted in the backcheck as Girardi was left all alone.
2:32 - Dubinsky has a golden chance in the last few seconds, but waits a second too long and allows Ward to gain his positioning. 1 - 0 Carolina after two periods.
2:35 - It's kids day here at the Garden and it never ceases to amaze me the young talent out there. Now if the Rangers could find one who wants to shoot on the power play.
2:50 - The Rangers need more traffic in front of Cam Ward in the third period. The game is far from over, but the Rangers aren't creating many quality opportunities.
2:52 - Good stat from our friend Steve Zipay of Newsday -- The Rangers haven't scored in more than 5 periods at MSG.
2:53 - Christensen takes a high sticking penalty 1:33 into the period. Carolina could open the game up here.
2:56 - As the penalty expires, Drury, Higgins, and Girardi break in on the oddman rush and nearly convert. Good penalty kill by the Rangers.
3:00 - Gaborik rips a shot off the post from the faceoff circle. Close but no cigar. 13 minutes to go.
3:01 - Pretty stickhandling rush by Gilroy, but narrowly misses down low. Rangers forcing the play a bit now.
3:03 - Gaborik breaks through with a goal on top of the crease. Dubinsky and Christensen cycled down low before Dubinsky slid a pass to the slot and Gaborik re-directed the bouncing puck. Game tied at 1.
3:10 - The Faithful is alive after a fairly quiet first two periods. Carolina a bit on their heels.
3:13 - 6:30 to go. Rangers ahead 25 - 17 in shots. Going out on another limb and saying that if a Ranger is going to score, it's going to be Higgins. Why not spice it up with some wieldy predictions?
**POSTGAME REACTIONS --
As the Rangers fell in overtime 2 - 1, the sentiment was overly positive in that the efforts are better and they are closer to putting it all together.
Mike Del Zotto - "They did a good job of playing us in the neutral zone... they did a good job of clogging it up."
Chris Higgins - "We felt confident that we were going to score a goal and tie it up...No there's no satisfaction [in getting a point] you want to win."
Marian Gaborik - "That overtime doesn't seem to workout well for us...We just have to be stronger."
John Tortorella - "You always try to judge your team on how you play...i thought we generated offense. I thought some of our best chances were ones that went wide...We can't be satisfied with just generating scoring chances. We have to start scoring goals."
For more postgame reaction including quotes from the head coach and players, visit BlueshirtBulletinPlus.com...