NEW YORK RANGERS: New Kids On The Ice Face Off Against League's Best.
The Vancouver Canucks are the League's Best Team no one knows about.
There is only one team that has surpassed 60 points so far in this NHL season. The Vancouver Canucks are that team. They have 62 points and remain the only team in the NHL with single-digit losses even if they sustain a loss at Madison Square Garden tonight.
Roberto Luongo established himself as one of the NHL's elite goalies some time ago and is currently in the midst of another sensational season in net. Their back-up Goalie; Corey Schneider, statistically is having an even better season than Luongo. Of course Luongo has 20 more starts than Schneider but with 12 starts to his credit, Schneider is 8-0 with a lower GAA and Save%. Corey will get tonight's start.
With Sedin Squared; Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin outshine any star dressed in a Blueshirt by a wide margin. Sedin Squared, together, have outscored two entire Ranger front lines! Please do not make me count how many Ranger Fowards it would take to match the offensive production of the Vancouver pair. Our two best players tonight will be Brandon Dubinsky and the unknown quality of Marian Gaborik.
How's this for some perspective....
NYR - BRANDON DUBINSKY ~ 17 Goals; 20 Assists; 37 Points
VAN - RYAN KESLER ~ 24 Goals; 17 Assists; 41 Points
That's right...Ryan Kesler is third-in, in this conversation. Now, should I really embarrass "us" by comparing Marian Gaborik to Sedin Squared? No, I didn't think so. But let's do it anyway.
NYR - MARIAN GABORIK ~ 11 Goals; 12 Assists; 24 points; *30 games played-injury.
VAN - DANIEL SEDIN ~ 25 Goals; 30 Assists; 55 Points; *42 games.
VAN - HENRIK SEDIN ~ 9 Goals; 46 Assists; 55 Points; *42 games.
The Canucks are FIRST in the NHL on the Power Play (NYR-22nd!) and 5th overall on the Penalty Kill (NYR-10th). They are 2nd in Hockey in Goals For (NYR-12th) and defensively rate 4th in Goals Against (NYR-6th).
The Rangers? If you consider Anxiety a stat and keep track of it, the Blueshirts are off the charts. There are 15 teams in the 50 points range. With 53 points, the Rangers are in the lower end of that bracket.
There is a nine point disparity between the Rangers and Vancouver, which matters not as they play in different conferences. But when Daniel Sedin has more points than the Rangers have in the standings, something is not right with this picture.
But after all this, there's a silver lining here.
Vancouver only has three players with double-digit goals; Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler,
and Raffi Torres (11).
The Rangers have six! ~ Dubinsky, Boyle, Stepan, Gaborik, Anisimov and *Callahan.
There's strength in number folks. If we can put a lid on Daniel and keep an eye on Henrik, we might be able to sedate the SEDINs.
But here's the numbers that may ultimately doom the Rangers tonight; Penalty Minutes.
The Top Three Vancouver Penalty Offenders and Visitors to the BOX:
Kevin Bieksa - 46 PIM
Tanner Glass - 45 PIM
Raffi Torres - 39 PIM
Top Three NYR Penalty Offenders and Visitors to the BOX:
Sean Avery - 127 PIM
Brandon Prust - 97 PIM
Brandon Dubinsky - 52 PIM
....against the Number One Penalty Percentage team in the NHL tonight? Yeah right! El, Oh, El.
We'll see how it goes. We know Glen Sather is probably working on making another trade. Tonight's game might better answer what exactly we need to address most. In the mean-time, it's back to the GRIND. You always want to know where you stand against the League's best teams.
In the Ranger's case, we're still trying to figure out what happened to our "best" player.
The Rangers are obviously hurt with injuries taking a heavy toll, but we are more importantly a team in flux. We made a dramatic shift towards youth and the sense is the movement is here to stay. So let's see what all these kids have.
We lost a tough game to the Canadiens that we played well in. Again, lack of scoring was the culprit. We have a follow-up engagement with Montreal after tonight's game and then we face Philadelphia this weekend.
So, someone better remind those BOYS this ain't Disney World and the Flyers aren't GOOFEY. Stay resilient tonight and what ever you do....Don't Shave!!!