Maybe it's me but it seems that the Rangers are perpetually playing Atlanta. They are down in the dirty sou today to take on the Thrashers (again) in a game that could cement their spot in the playoffs, especially seeing how the Panthers choked last night in Pominville and likely will get beaten up on Broad Street tonight in Philly.
Where We Are: After four wins in the last five games, the Rangers hold seventh place in the East. A win could bring the Blueshirts even with the Pens in sixth, one point behind the fifth place Canes (who will still have a game in hand after tonight). Edit: Zipay has Valley getting the start.
Where They Are: Atlanta is 10 points better than the Islanders, but that isn't saying too much, they are still the fourth-worse team in the league. However, that makes them quite dangerous. They went on a six game win streak earlier this month that included victories over Calgary, Montreal, Buffalo and Washington. They've lost three of their last four
Who To Watch For: Kovy is still a hockey god, even if he is surrounded by a poor team. Slava Kozlov has been hot lately and always hurt the Rangers on the scoreboard, while that idiot Garnet Exelby has always tried to hurt the Blueshirts on the ice. Rich Peverley has come out of nowhere to average nearly a point per game and did you know that Bryan Little has 31 goals?!?
What To Watch For: The new Ranger system opens up the ice and allows odd man rushes and insane opportunities for the opposition so if they get even the least bit sloppy, Kovy will kill them. Kari Lehtonen looked good against the Blueshirts on Graves night so if he gets hot again, he can frustrate the Rangers. Also the Avery vs. Exelby or Zach Bogosian battle should be fun to watch.
What We'll (Hopefully) See: A blowout - a couple of quick goals to set the tempo and the team to keep their feet on the pedal the rest of the way. There is no reason that the Rangers can't do to Atlanta what Anaheim did to Colorado last night (7-2) besides the fact that the Rangers seem to never do that. It would be a nice change of pace. Oh, and another slugfest between Eric Boulton and Colton Orr.
Also Check Out: The team's own blog Blueland, the requisite MSM blog and the in-depth, well thought out fan blog Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons? (I hate the new name so I won't use it.)