Last season the Wayne Gretzky-led Phoenix Coyotes came into MSG and outskated the Rangers throughout a 5-1 trouncing. It was a dispassionate affair for the Rangers, who floated through the game, took several bad penalties and wasted a good effort from Stephen Valiquette.
Where We Are: The Rangers are coming off that pathetic 6-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators. I don't want to talk about it anymore.
Where They Are: Phoenix has lost five straight games, including one in a shootout and another in overtime. That makes them that much more dangerous, considering Ottawa had a six game losing streak (two in shootouts) before they embarrassed the Blueshirts.
Who To Watch For: Shane Doan, a personal favourite and former Winnipeg Jet, is averaging a point per game and is always dangerous - especially now that Olli Jokinen is around to help take off some of the load. Dan Carcillo scored his first goal of the season in Phoenix's last game and it may be the opening to some floodgates as the former goon surprisingly has good hands. The Coyotes also carry a ton of quick kids who are riding the rollercoaster of their rookie seasons and could strike at any time - Tikhonov, Porter, Turris, Boedker ...
What To Watch For: Todd Fedoruk going hard to the net. Yes, he is sure to be a little intimidated by the man who broke his face, but Fedoruk has added some offense to his physical skills and Gretzky uses him down low quite a bit. Also keep an eye on the Rangers, because if they don't come out flying, this game will be over quick.
What We'll (Hopefully) See: The Rangers coming out flying. They need to play with passion, they need to play with cohesion, they need to play smart and they need to play to win - as opposed to playing not to lose, something they appear to do all too often.
Also Check Out: Hip Shot Blog is a fantastic one-stop-shop of info. Rookie Viktor Tikhonov (the grandson of that Tikhonov) has a blog but that isn't updated all that often and sadly, the solid One Fan's Perspective also hasn't been updated in over a week.
As always, I recommend people check out Sam Weinman's Ranger Report for up-to-the-minute updates on our boys.