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Of course the competition is going to get tougher as the playoffs progress, but the Rangers are staring down the throat of the beast of the NHL in the Eastern Conference final, which will begin at the Garden on Wednesday.
The Lightning are a ferocious team that is gunning for its third consecutive Stanley Cup, which if accomplished would make them the first club to do so since the Islanders’ dynasty in the 1980s. With scoring threats on every line, a two-way defense corps and an instinctive competitor in goal, Andrei Vasilevskiy, the Lightning are at the top of the NHL food chain.
Toronto, which was arguably one of the best squads in the East coming into the playoffs, pushed Tampa Bay to seven games before losing its seventh-straight playoff series since 2004. Part of the curse that has hovered over the Maple Leafs for years has been drawing the Lightning in Round 1.
In the second round, the Lightning made the Panthers look like house cats in a four-game sweep, during which Florida scored a single goal in each of the first three games before Vasilevskiy shut them out in the series-clincher.
If the Rangers were considered even with the Penguins and underdogs against the Hurricanes, many probably think they’re in way over their heads in the upcoming bout with the Lightning.
“Time will tell,” Ryan Strome said of going up against Tampa Bay, which is a seasoned group in comparison to the Rangers, who are experiencing this together for the first time. “I think the last month we’ve really understood what it takes to win and how hard that commitment is to winning.
“They’re a good team, they’ve done it for a reason. They’ve proven time and time again. But our job is to try to knock them off.”
These Rangers, however, have the type of intangibles that can allow them to overcome just about anything. Every championship club in any sport has a special dynamic — and the Rangers have just that. Oh, and they have Igor Shesterkin, who is probably the only goalie who can go save-for-save with Vasilevskiy.
After clinching the second-round series in Raleigh, N.C., on Monday night, Adam Fox talked about the Rangers’ team-bonding trip at the beginning of the season and how incredibly close the group has become. There’s an extraordinary way about how the young players look up to the veterans, and there’s an endearing way about the veterans’ appreciation of the young players.
They compete for one another, believe in one another and that camaraderie comes through in their play. Those factors can’t be coached, but can make a team a champion.
“I think it’s everything,” Chris Kreider said of the Rangers’ belief in themselves. “Guys love playing with this group. It’s a really tight-knit group. You see everyone trying to do the little things to help us win hockey games because you want to keep playing.”
At this point, given how the Lightning have dominated in recent playoffs, maybe that’s exactly what it’ll take to beat Tampa Bay.
The last time the Rangers faced the Lightning in the playoffs was the last time they made it to the conference final, back in 2015 when they lost to Tampa Bay in seven games. Kreider pointed out that the Rangers had all the experience in that series, having played in six Game 7s since 2012, but they still lost in that winner-take-all final contest.
The Rangers will have to be better than their best selves to defeat the Lightning. But if the NHL has learned anything about this group over the course of this season, it’s that the Rangers can make it happen.
“I think experience matters and having guys who have been there and know what it takes to win matters,” Kreider said. “At the same time, we had those guys on our team [in 2015]. At the end of the day, it’s a hockey game. It’s a 60-minute battle between 20 guys on one side and 20 guys on the other side.”
By: Ny Post
Kourtney Kardashian uses Kopari Coconut Melt to ‘look good naked’
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Kourtney Kardashian’s no stranger to showing skin.
Whether the reality star’s modeling lingerie, baring it all in a bikini or packing on PDA with husband Travis Barker, she’s clearly confident about her body — and relies on a selection of tried-and-true products to keep her skin in tip-top shape.
In one of her first-ever Poosh stories, fittingly titled “How to Look Good Naked,” the 43-year-old outlines some of her body care essentials, including La Mer The Body Crème ($300), Dr. Barbara Sturm Anti-Aging Body Cream ($95) and Le Labo’s Pin 12 Candle ($82) — the latter because “lighting is everything.”
“In order to achieve glowy skin, it’s important to moisturize everything — everywhere — at least once a day,” the Poosh piece reads. “Don’t forget to care for your hands and feet as well; we recommend focusing on these areas at night.”
Billed as “a deep conditioner for your bod,” the product is comprised of 100% organic, unrefined coconut oil, and Kopari suggests applying it “as soon as you step out of the shower and at the end of the day.”
What’s more, the multitasking product also works well as a hair mask, dry shave oil, bath mix-in and belly balm, per the brand.
Snag a tub for yourself below — and get ready to look fabulous in your birthday suit, too.
By: Ny Post
Carlos Carrasco’s gem, three homers propel Mets past Marlins
MIAMI — He’s one tough Cookie these days.
Carlos Carrasco isn’t going to win any contests blowing away hitters, but the right-hander’s offspeed pitches and command — and most importantly, his health — have converged this season to give the Mets an invaluable rotation piece.
On Saturday, he gave his team 7 ²/₃ shutout innings in a 4-0 victory over the Marlins at loanDepot park. Carrasco extended his scoreless streak over his past three starts to 18 ²/₃ innings.
The win was No. 100 in Carrasco’s career, making the 35-year-old the eighth Venezuelan-born pitcher to reach the milestone. Carrasco last surrendered a run on July 9 against the Marlins at Citi Field.
The Mets (63-37) won their fifth straight and reached the 100-game mark with the franchise’s most victories since 1986.
Overall, Carrasco allowed four hits and struck out seven with two walks. Seth Lugo replaced Carrasco in the eighth inning after Charles Leblanc had doubled with two outs. But Leblanc was picked off second base by Tomas Nido, ensuring Carrasco’s scoreless streak continued.
Lugo remained in the game to pitch a scoreless ninth inning, allowing Edwin Diaz a day off following a 10-pitch outing Friday in which he struck out the side.
The Mets will try for a three-game sweep of the reeling Marlins on Sunday with Taijuan Walker on the mound.
After scuffling at the plate for seven innings, the Mets gave Carrasco breathing room in the eighth when Francisco Lindor and J.D. Davis each blasted a solo homer to give the Mets a 4-0 lead. Davis’ homer, in a pinch-hitting appearance, came as the Mets are searching on the trade market for a right-handed bat to solidify the DH spot.
The Mets have traded for two lefty bats in the last week-plus to bolster the other half of the DH equation. One of those additions, Tyler Naquin, debuted for the Mets on Saturday in left field and went 0-for-4. Daniel Vogelbach started at DH and drew a walk in four plate appearances.
Carrasco’s gem was the latest strong performance by a Mets starting pitcher. Entering play, the Mets had a 2.45 ERA from the starting rotation in July, which ranked second in the major leagues. Chris Bassitt had a rare flat start for the Mets a night earlier, when he allowed four earned runs over six innings.
Jeff McNeil hit a solo homer in the third against rookie Nick Neidert to give the Mets their first run. The homer was the first since June 14 for McNeil, who entered the day with a .162/.240/.191 slash line in July.
The Mets weren’t finished in the inning: Nido, Brandon Nimmo and Lindor all singled. Lindor’s hit extended the Mets’ lead to 2-0 and gave the shortstop 68 RBIs for the season before he reached 69 with his blast later.
Carrasco was challenged in the first inning, when he allowed a single to Miguel Rojas and walk to Jesus Aguilar before retiring JJ Bleday for the final out. In the fourth, Carrasco surrendered a leadoff single, but he escaped the inning when he got Bleday to ground into a double-play.
By: Ny Post
Career NYC criminal tries to steal moped from NYPD station
A brazen career criminal with more than 50 arrests on his rap sheet, including rape, was busted for trying to steal a moped from outside a lower Manhattan police station.
Jon Matos was caught red-handed approaching the $1,200 bike outside the 5th Precinct, sources said.
He was allegedly using a set of burglary tools Friday to try to bust the lock of the bike, which was vouchered property, cops and sources said.
Matos, a homeless father of three, was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on charges of attempted grand larceny and possession of burglary tools.
The proceeding was delayed for hours, sources said, after Matos allegedly became angry with a cellmate who used the facilities — but didn’t courtesy flush.
“I was just f–king with it. It’s not my tools,” he allegedly told an NYPD detective, said Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Megan Mers during the court proceeding.
Judge Valentina Morales Saturday agreed to give Matos supervised release in the moped case.
“Thank you, your honor,” Matos told Morales.
But instead of hitting the streets once again, Matos was held on outstanding charges from the 23rd Precinct in an unrelated case, authorities said.
It was his second appearance before a judge in a week: Matos was in court days earlier, charged with grand larceny, petit larceny, and criminal possession of stolen property and was released in yet another incident.
Matos has racked up dozens of busts for burglary, robbery, fare evasion — including the 1999 rape of a 14-year-old girl.
Crime is up in six of the seven major crimes measured by the department contributed to the increase — though the seventh category, murders, dropped a noticeable 31.6% last month in comparison to numbers compiled in June 2021, according to the NYPD’s preliminary statistics.
Grand larceny spiked 41%, robbery rose 36.1% and burglary went up 33.8%.
When addressing the crime spike last month, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the department was arresting the same people for crimes “over and over again.”
Other recent and brazen repeat offenders include veteran shoplifter Isaac “Man of Steal” Rodriguez, who was finally locked up in January after dozens of arrests for stealing to support his drug habit.
Laron Mack, whose catchphrase is “I steal for a living,” has been arrested more than 50 times. Another serial stealer, James Connelly, was busted in December for involvement in 28 separate incidents over three months.
Last month, accused serial shoplifter Lorenzo McLucas, 34, was nabbed for stealing from the cosmetics counter at a Duane Reade on Lexington Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, according to cops and court documents.
McLucas, who was released on his own recognizance, has notched 122 prior arrests.
By: Ny Post
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