The Rangers return to the Rock for the first time since the 8-5 embarrassment on Monday night. It is perfect timing as the Blueshirts are coming off of the 10-2 disgrace in Dallas. This will be the true test of the team - if the Rangers win, then get ready for the playoffs. If not ...
Where We Are: Rock bottom, hopefully.
Where They Are: First place. They have finally played the same number of games as the Blueshirts and have six more points - that is even including two losses in their last three games. Recent wins include 4-3 victories over Boston and Pittsburgh and a 6-2 trouncing of Montreal.
Who To Watch For: The usual suspects Zach Parise, Hepatitis Elias and Jamie Langenbrunner are always dangerous against the Rangers. Langenbrunner, in fact, is one of the few players on either team who seems to really play with a chip on his shoulder - he really doesn't like the Rangers and I can respect that. Travis Zajac has abused the Rangers of late and is really coming into his own as a top offensive threat.
What To Watch For: Keep an eye on Goalie Post to see which goaltender we face. Scott Clemmensen looked pretty poor in his last two starts, which came after a seven game win streak. He remains their main starter but Kevin Weekes got the call on Friday and turned in a 31 save jewel of a performance against the very same Atlanta squad that beat us on Graves night. If you can believe it, the Devils scored five goals against them. That is four more than we did! And they didn't have living legends in the building to remind/motivate them how real hockey players are supposed to play. Oy, we are in trouble.
What We'll (Hopefully) See: Not these lines, as its virtually guaranteed that you won't see much of the fourth line - the one unit that has consistently provided energy and chances (even if they don't score on them). If the Rangers have any pride whatsoever (and I don't think most of them do), then we'll hopefully see the entire team play FBC Ole's hard-nosed, hard skating, heavy hitting game (I doubt it). At least we can hope for Brendan Shanahan to tussle with Colton Orr the way he took on Eric Boulton.
Also Check Out: The solid Fire & Ice, my former fellow NY Times Hockey Night in Blogdom foe In Lou We Trust moved to SBN and Rich Chere's MSM blog.