THE RIVALRY - VI
NYR Lead Series 3-2
I - Oct 15; NYI 4 - NYR 2
II - Nov 15; NYR 4 - NYI 2
III - Dec 22; NYR 4 - NYI 2
IV - Dec 26; NYR 3 - NYI 0
V - Feb 24; NYI 4 - NYR 3*
* Shoot Out
New York Islanders
NEW YORK RANGERS
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
33rd Stree at 7th Avenue
NEW YORK RANGERS: What!? Me Worry!?
For the first time this season, the Blueshirts have lost three regulation time games in a row. Additionally, New Jersey was the first team to defeat the Rangers three times by administering them a 4-1 physical pounding on March 6th. In the Rangers' very next game, Ottawa became the second team to accomplish the feat when they also pounded out another convincing 4-1 win over the Blueshirts. Then came that unfortunate game against the Chicago Blackhawks. Of the last three games we've played, that was the game I wanted most. For me, it was one of the more deflating losses of the season.
Suddenly the view from the top is getting a little more crowded and a lot more perilous. Teams are getting better all around the Rangers while they keep put-putting around. Pittsburgh is just on a flat-out tear. Philadelphia has a goalie who can stop pucks again. And with a win over the Islanders Saturday night, the Devils are still winning too.
There are fifteen games left in the regular season. And don't look now, but the drop from first place in the Eastern Conference to fourth place is only four points away. If the Penguins over-take us in the Atlantic Division, it's chutes and ladders for the Blueshirts. Pittsburgh just happens to be playing their best hockey of the season right now while the Blueshirts are just now stumbling into a down turn in fortunes.
Brad Richards finally scored a goal though. But then again, it came in the final minute when Coach pulled Henrik for the extra skater against Chicago. So let's go ahead and ask now; - Is Richards finally going to come through and become the big name, high priced, free agent center, SLASH, scorer, the Rangers have spent an inordinate amount of years and money in search of? Because if he's not, it's time we stopped pampering him. If he's not going to be that player for us, when do we start calling him out for what he's been, which has been nothing more than a healthier version of an inconsequential Chris Drury.
Chris Drury's failure on Broadway is what helped precipitate the Rangers' youth movement in the first place. So in that respect, all hail Chris Drury. But praise futility at your own expense. Brad Richards came here under far different circumstances. He was expected to be a game changing player for us. We don't need any more savvy veterans who lead young kids by being a good guy. We need a player who's going to take his Captain's lead, and be a threat skating at his side.
Nothing is going to change about this team. We know who we are. And so leave the playoffs alone for a moment. We are about to start a run of seven consecutive games at home. The name of the game for right now is winning points. Let's beat the Islanders and get two points. Then lets beat the Hurricanes and get two points before the Penguins come to town. And then we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. What will help us most between now and next Thursday..., is points. Keep the points on our side heading into that game.
Are you worried? Don't freak out yet. Let's see what playing at home does for us first.
That is all. See you at the game.