The beautiful Canadian national anthem will again be sung in Madison Square Garden as the Ottawa Senators come to town tonight.
Where We Are: The Rangers have won back-to-back games against the Devils and the Bruins. Both were emotional, both were impressive in their own special way. While it was nice to beat up on Jersey, the win against the Bs is definitely bigger considering they are a better team playing better hockey right now and the Rangers were able to rally to win the game.
Where They Are: Ottawa are the losers of four straight games including disgraceful back-to-back failings against the Islanders. They have averaged a goal a game over that span while getting pretty solid goaltending from Alex Auld, who has taken over the starter position from Swiss Miss Martin Gerber, and played three of those four games. They remain a one-line team of Daniel Alfredsson, Dany "I used to drive a Ferrari" Heatley and Jason Spezza.
Who To Watch For: Any of those three guys. I happen to be a big fan of Spezza's and have been since watching him play for Binghamton and seeing what I think was his first pro fight (bottom of the page), even if he didn't get a major for it. He was standing up for a teammate despite being an underweight 'talent' forward. And man, does he have talent (and one great move that seems to keep working). The same goes for Heatley, who is clearly better on the ice then behind the wheel of a car. And Alfredsson has probably suffered a little because of living in the shadow of the other Swedish captain, Mats Sundin, but he has been one of the better all-around forwards of this decade. Also watch out for Filip Kuba - he took over for Redden and has collected 15 points in 17 games despite notching just one goal (10 points were on the power play).
What To Watch For: Jarkko Ruutu will inevitably attempt to injure a Ranger. He does it every time he plays the Blueshirts (and apparently most other teams as well) and yet has been allowed to keep a job in the NHL. He got a two game suspension for this, which should have been at least five but probably more considering his history. For shame.
What We'll (Hopefully) See: Just like Joe Corvo in the first game of the current Senator slide, hopefully Redden will step up his game against his old team (Corvo scored the game-winner). Now you would also like to imagine Michal Rozsival bouncing back from his disgraceful performance on Saturday but with the Garden crowd sure to be on his back, it is highly unlikely. He has the same Czech sensibility that Malik did and that bum just kept digging his grave.
Also Check Out: Sens Army and SENSHobo.
As always, I recommend people check out Sam Weinman's Ranger Report for up-to-the-minute updates on our boys. Sam really is the best of the beat guys covering the Blueshirts.