The Rangers are back at the Garden for one of their four January home games Tuesday, a 7 p.m. face off against the Anaheim Ducks. It is the second (and last) time the two teams will meet; the Rangers won the first leg back in December, 3-1.
Where We Are: The Blueshirts are coming off of a 3-1-1 road trip that looks a lot better than it feels - primarily because of the bad taste the Rangers left in our mouths with a lackadaisical loss to the pitiful Pens on Sunday.
Where They Are: Anaheim is an astounding 20 points behind San Jose, their Pacific Division foes. They have lost four of their last six games, including embarassments to Tampa and L.A. but defeated the Devils last Sunday and the Minnesota Wild this Saturday.
Who To Watch For: Ryan Getzlaf always uses his size to his advantage when he faces the Rangers and with good cause - the Blueshirts are soft. If anyone other than Marc Staal ends up covering him, watch out. Bobby Ryan, a southern Jersey native who happened to be drafted after that Crosby crybaby, is averaging nearly a point per game. The kid has some serious skills and deserves recognition, even if he grew up a Flyer fan. Also, more under the radar, is Andrew Ebbett. Ebbett went undrafted after four years at Michigan (including a freshman season under Captain Jed Ortmeyer) and spent a few seasons in the AHL before the Duckies called him up in December. Ebbett has four points in his last five games and is even seeing some power play time.
What To Watch For: As I mentioned, the Rangers are soft so if the bigger Ducks play to their size, then Hank could find himself under seige. And while Anaheim is causing chaos, Corey Perry will pop up at opportune times to pot a goal or two.
What We'll (Hopefully) See: The Rangers actually playing like they care - especially at home; what a nice change that would be. Chris Pronger managing not to elbow, step on or cheap shot anyone. A rematch of last year's heavyweight battle between Orr and Parros.
Also Check Out: MVN has On The Pond while the almighty Mirtle brought The Battle of California to SBN. There is also the Girl With A Puck and a good MSM Ducks blog at the Orange County Register.
As always, I recommend people check out Sam Weinman's Ranger Report. Apparently Dan Fritsche and Aaron Voros both practiced Monday, so don't be shocked to see either or both in the lineup - both are more bigger than Dawsie, Pru and the Korpedo and you know Renney is more than willing to bench his young players at whim ...