Wednesday, March 28, 2012

N.Y. Rangers ~ Battle to be Number One Continues Tonight

Last Updated:  7:15pm



New York Islanders   5
Pittsburgh Penguins   3

New York Rangers   3
Minnesota Wild        2

103 Points; 1st Place Atlantic Division; #1 Eastern Conference

100 Points; 2nd Place Atlantic Division; #4 Eastern Conference

Both Teams Have Six Games Left


Winnipeg Jets
The Great White North


Pittsburgh Penguins
Uniondale, Long Island

Thank you Islanders!  I appreciate that!  And may I add, the way you beat Pittsburgh last night was rather impressive.  There was a time during the Rangers game against Minnesota when I thought the Blueshirts were being unappreciative of your efforts against the Penguins.  But the Rangers managed a third goal against the Wild for the win, which increased their lead over Pittsburgh to three points thanks to you guys.

I spent more time watching the Islanders play the Penguins than I did watching the Rangers.  The staggered start times were key.  And let me tell you, the Islanders just reopened the book on Marc Andre Fleury.  I don't have much respect for him to begin with.  So I'm happy to report the Isles  continually beat the Penguins goalie high on his glove-side.  They did it once, twice, three times.  Twice can be a coincidence though.  But three times is a pattern folks.  There-in lies some food for thought for the next time the Rangers play Pittsburgh.  I hope Coach Torts saw the tape.

The Penguins will visit the Islanders Thursday night in Uniondale in the second game of a back-to-back, home-and-home series.  The Rangers visit the Winnipeg Jets tonight.

Any chance you guys (NYI) can pull off another upset tonight?  Thanks alot.

NEW YORK RANGERS:  Room to Breathe, But No Time To Rest.  Blueshirts Can Not Afford to Lose Altitude Against the Jets.

Is it wrong to consider these must win games?  After all, we already clinched a playoff spot earlier than we have in decades.  Me?  I look at the home stretch as a test of character for these Rangers.  I'm looking to see if their identity will hold up.  I'm looking to see if the younger players are ending a season or are just getting started.  I want to be certain the star players on this team are intent on leading.  I'm looking to see if they are all still up to the grind.

I believe in finishing strong.  I want winning the Atlantic Division over Sidney Crosby and Pittsburgh  to matter.  I want the number one seed.  I want to see the Blueshirts go into the playoffs on some sort of roll.  And I'd like to see them do it with power.  And if many of these youngsters can manage to grow some beards in April..., all the better.

I do feel like these are must win games.  For I have a great dislike for the Penguins, and I don't want to get passed by them.  But I will say it now; what ever happens after these next six games, happens.  This was me just talking in a perfect world.

The Rangers reality is that Henrik Lundqvist will be starting in his seventh consecutive game tonight.  But this will only be his 58th start of the season.  All that rest over the regular season was designed for precisely this time of year.  Spring is upon us, and the hopes are that Henrik Lundqvist is fresh, and ready for the challenge ahead.  Even in what for him was an abbreviated season when compared to the last five seasons, The King is only two wins away from tying his career high (38) for wins in a season.

It's a tough call as to whether Marty Biron will get at least one more start over the five games that will remain after tonight.  If he doesn't get Friday's game against Montreal, chances are Biron does not see ice again.  Tonight may be an indication, as this will be the first time all season Henrik will be making this many consecutive starts.  So I guess it's safe to say Coach Torts places a lot of value on home ice advantage.

Brad Richards continues to elevate his level of play.  He set up the go ahead goal in the third period last night with a magnificent pass from the left circle to Marian Gaborik waiting between the dots.  Gaborik's own stick work on the play was just as stellar.  Brad Richards' assist on the play was his team leading thirty-sixth of the season.

The baffling season Marian Gaborik and Ranger Fans suffered through last year seem like a very distant memory now.  Marian Gaborik has played as a member of the NHL's elite all season.  He now has thirty-eight goals this season, and seems destined to break forty goals again for the second time in three seasons as a Ranger.  He also broke forty goals in his last season with Minnesota.


...and let's go Islanders!  Beat the Penguins..., Again!


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