THE RIVALRY - GAME V
GAME ONE; NYI 4 - NYR 2
GAME TWO; NYR 4 - NYI 2
GAME THREE; NYR 4 - NYI 2
GAME FOUR; NYR 3 - NYI 0
Rangers Lead Series 3-1
FRIDAY NIGHT PUCKS
New York Islanders
NEW YORK RANGERS
33rd Street at 7th Avenue
With ten more wins, the Isles can equal a number (35) they haven't achieved since the 2007-2008 season. And being as the Isles are coming into the Big Apple for Friday's game, see how you like these apples Ranger Fans:
*Marian Gaborik is the Rangers' leader in points with fifty. John Tavares has fifty-eight.
*Marian Gaborik is the Rangers' leader in goals with twenty-seven. Matt Moulson comes in at twenty-five.
*Derek Stepan is the Rangers' leader in assists with twenty-six. P.A. Parenteau obliterates him with forty-two.
That kind of stuff makes you want to pull off the Nash trade doesn't it? It speaks to me too. Be disciplined!
NEW YORK RANGERS: Part of Building for the Future is Avoiding the Quick Fix. And What the Blueshirts are Building Towards, Can Not Be Completed on February 28th. If Another Year to Groom a Few More Suitable Players is Needed, So Be It.
And If You Haven't Noticed ~ HERE COME THE DEVILS!
With the trade deadline six days away, the Rangers no doubt have issues that need to be addressed. Along with that, decisions will have to be made. To trade, or not to trade? That is the question. And recently getting shut out by the Penguins only makes this an even more perplexing proposition to ponder.
At present, we are in first place of the Eastern Conference with a nine point lead over the Boston Bruins. The Blueshirts' strengths lie in their overall defense; a strong penalty kill; goal tending; playing effectively within their zone; a strong fore-check; and tremendous overall work ethic; and Coaching. On the weak side, the Rangers lack another potent scorer; could use some more size; suffer from an impotent power play; and they leave themselves little margin for error. And they seem to be areas that can be addressed by acquiring one person; Rick Nash. We know. But there will be a steep price to pay.
That said, the following are matters which concern me most as the season winds down between now and April. First and foremost, what did I tell you? Don't look now, but here come the New Jersey Devils. Someone opened the doors and all hell is breaking loose. They now have 74 points, and have made their way into second place of the Atlantic Division. And why not? Like the Rangers, they've pounded the Flyers this season.
The Devils played a back-and-fourth January, only managing a 6-6 record. In February they heated up. They are 8-2 so far this month. And they did it against a few teams like Philly; Pittsburgh; Toronto; Montreal 2x; and the New York Rangers.
What's wrong with that picture? The Devils beat the Blueshirts the last two times they've played. And the Devils, while not offensively overwhelming at the time, twice stopped the Rangers' momentum cold, led by the resurgent Martin Brodeur.
What's more is the Devils have played Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Pittsburgh, with a little more success than the Rangers have this season. And now, the Devils are only seven points behind the Rangers in the Atlantic Division. Yes, that's even better than Boston if not for the Bruins being a division leader. Oh, and Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Patrick Elias, all have scored over 50 points this season. Put those things together, and I say there is a storm brewing over the horizon.
The Rangers themselves, need to play better against the entire Northeast Division. Aside from Buffalo and Boston, the Rangers have not done well against Montreal, who truly pounded them earlier this season. They dropped their first two games against Toronto before gaining a measure of revenge and beating them in the third encounter. But with speed and physicality, Toronto really gives the Rangers problems. But not as many problems as Ottawa has posed this season. I don't have an answer for that one. So against those three teams, things must change for the Rangers. Because they can't go through another swing through that division like they did last, and, have trouble with the Devils as well, and not have the Rangers' position in the standings adversely compromised.
Battle of the Hudson - IV
New Jersey Devils
NEW YORK RANGERS
I'm sure you've started to hear "them" - like I have. The naysayers are starting to speak with doubting tongues. If the Rangers have a short term mission, by taking care of matters on the ice, they should do themselves a favor and mute those naysayers. There is a growing chorus trying to diminish what the Rangers have accomplished so far. They point to the Pittsburgh Penguins playing without Sidney Crosby most of the season; the Washington Capitals underachieving yet again; and at the fading Philadelphia Flyers; as possible explanations why the Rangers are enjoying the success in the standings they are. My opinion on that line of thought strikes me as being quite amateurish on their part. If they haven't been watching every game, and watching consistently over the last three seasons, then what they say, sounds unlearned.; at least to me.
Having said all that, I still am on record saying I do not want to make a team altering trade. I stick by that. And even if rebuilding the Rangers bleeds into next season, so be it. I believe in this plan. But that doesn't mean I am not without my concerns.