Tis time to dance with the Devils yet again as the Rangers head to Newark tonight for some Friday night fun. Well, let's hope it's fun, especially seeing as I will be among the legion of Blueshirt fans going.
Where We Are: The Rangers actually won a game on Wednesday, which was a nice change from the prior results. While the Blueshirts did edge out the Thrashers with an OT goal, it was a less than convincing performance against one of the worst teams in the NHL.
Where They Are: New Jersey is rolling with three straight wins and eight in their last nine games. Not really a team that you want to face when you are trying to build your confidence. The Devils beat up Cindy's Crybabies 4-1 most recently, the same Pittsburgh team that beat up the Islanders 9-2 last night. Not that that has much relevance, but I wanted to point it out because the Isles just stink. I love it.
Who To Watch For: Believe it or not, Scott Clemmensen has been astounding of late. He held the Pens to just one goal on 27 shots as he improved his numbers to 7-3, 2.19 and 0.926 ... like the Rangers don't have enough trouble scoring. As for the Jersey offense, Patrik Elias is finally finding his form. Hepatitis has 16 points in his last 10 games. That pesky Parise is also on a bit of a run, with a three game goal streak. Brian Rolston has yet to regain his scoring touch since returning from injury but with my luck, he should star in this one.
What To Watch For: See who plays Devil hockey better, locking the opposing team to the perimeter while controlling rebounds. I would hope not to see Colton Orr lower himself to fight Clarkson or Brookbank, but both of those guys are clowns and they may need attitude adjustments.
What We'll (Hopefully) See: A return performance like the last one where the Rangers utterly dominated the Devils in front of a Ranger crowd chanting "You Can't Beat Us." But I am not going to hold my breath as neither of these teams are playing the same way at this point. The tables are turned for the Devils, but if Scott Gomez builds off of his OT game-winner and picks up his game like he did in the first round of the playoffs last season, the chip on his shoulder could carry the Rangers to victory.
Also Check Out: The solid Fire & Ice, In Lou We Trust and Rich Chere's MSM blog.
As always, I recommend people check out Sam Weinman's Ranger Report for up-to-the-minute updates on our boys and the latest news on Avery and Sundin.