Thursday, March 24, 2011

N.Y. RANGERS ~ Must Finish Strong Homestand Against Weak Ottawa

NYR - Eight Games Left

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ottawa Senators

33rd Street and 7th Avenue

#1 ~ Philadelphia
#2 ~ Washington
#3 ~ Boston
#4 ~ Pittsburgh
#5 ~ Tampa Bay
#6 ~ 87 Points;  Montreal
#7 ~ 84 Points;  New York
#8 ~ 81 Points;  Buffalo
#9 ~ 78 Points;  Carolina
#10 ~ 76 Points;  Toronto
#11 ~ 72 Points;  Atlanta 
#12 ~ 72 Points;  New Jersey
#13 ~ 70 Points;  Long Island

Thursday Games of Note:
Montreal vs. Boston
Toronto vs. Colorado
Atlanta vs. NYI

Friday Games of Note:
Florida vs. Buffalo
Carolina vs. Tampa Bay
New Jersey vs. Pittsburgh


I guess two of the biggest questions going into this game are, One; How is Henrik's neck?  And two; How is Marc Staal's double-secret body ailment?

In Henrik's case, Coach made it very clear after the Montreal game in which Henrik got run over by the Canadiens, that he expected his goalie to lead his team; make no excuses, and tough his way through neck soreness.  Henry has obliged his Coach with a superb effort against Pittsburgh and his 10th shut-out of the season versus Florida.  But c'mon; let's face it, Coach Torts isn't about to hand a game over to Chad Johnson at this juncture of the season just to spell Henry.  We don't have a cushion to work with.  So it's Henrik or Bust.

Marc Staal?  We're not so sure.  Coach Torts is being as tight lipped about what ails Staal as a disinterested baby refusing one last spoon full of strained spinach and peas.  Most suspect it's his left knee that he's had trouble with before.  He may play tonight.

Outside of getting some of Erik Christensen's ice-time, there is little to no reason why Coach Torts shouldn't make Sean Avery a healthy scratch for the fifth time since the Rangers played in San Jose.  The way the Rangers have been playing and not having Avery in the penalty box speak for themselves, despite my season long protestations.  Even I realize Coach is making the right call.  And I'll be honest; I never thought Vinny Prospal would be as effective as he's been since his return.  I just learned through the wonderful world of Twitter, Avery will indeed be a healthy scratch again.  So that settles that.  Barring an injury within the ranks, will Sean Avery see ice again in the last games of the regular season?  I guess we'll have to stay tuned.

POINTS ~  is the name of the game.  There's really not much else to talk about other than this team just needs to sustain what they've been doing.  Buffalo is the team I find most troublesome because of all the head-to-head games they still have left with us; the Devils; Carolina; and Toronto.
Tuesday I did an Eastern Conference Shake Down.  You can check that out HERE.

The Rangers are now 18-16-3 at home.  Their marked improvement at MSG can ill afford to suffer a setback tonight versus Ottawa; the worst team in the Conference.  After tonight, we take to the road again for four games.  Boston is first before the big show down with Buffalo.  Then games against the Islanders and Flyers conclude our road schedule.  The Rangers will play their last three games of the regular season on home-ice.

Talk to ya after the game.

Let's Go Rangers!!

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