The Rangers are back in action on Tuesday, taking on the Wild at the Garden on Versus. Feel free to drink along.
Where We Are: There are just four home games left including this one and nine left overall. Dammit. What the hell are we going to do after that? Well, maybe playoffs. The Rangers sit three points clear of Montreal in seventh place but the Habs have a game in hand. Luckily the two teams in front of the Rangers - the Canes and the Pens both have played more games than the Rangers. After playing so many games early in the year, this is a nice change.
Where They Are: Minnesota is one point shy of the eighth spot out West. Just as the East is bunched up at the bottom, the West is and the Wild are fighting tooth and nail to get in. They beat Edmonton 3-0 on Sunday in a huge game but it was coming off of a sad 4-0 loss to Mmmmaaaaarrrrtttttyyyyy and the Devils - in New Jersey.
Who To Watch For: Well, Mikko Koivu is out but Marian Gaborik finally returned - the same Marian Gaborik who dropped five on the Rangers once upon a time. Irishman Owen Nolan has proved he is quite capable despite being as old as the Blarney Stone, as is the evergreen (and ever slow) Andrew Brunette. Marek Zidlicky is a good puck moving defenseman and Nick Schultz is one of the most underrated blueliners in the league. And finally, Cal Clutterbuck and Stephane Veilleux are edgy forwards with grit and I'm a big fan of Veilleux because he plays with his heart on his sleeve and he has a sense of humour.
What To Watch For: See if the Rangers get the jump back in their step and play a quick power game that puts pucks on the net. Then again, it would be just as possible that we will see a boring ping-pong game between two of the best goaltenders in the game - Hank and Nicklas Backstrom. Dan Fritsche might also have an extra spark playing against the team that threw him away like a losing lotto ticket.
What We'll (Hopefully) See: A strong effort from the Rangers, who looked tired and almost bored during points of the mediocre Sens match. More than three goals. A statement from Michael Sauer that he belongs in the NHL. The heavyweight event of the season between Colton Orr and Derek Boogaard. The Boogey Man is a monster but if Colt can get inside on the 6'7 monster, he can do some damage.
Also Check Out: View from Section 216, Hitting The Post, 18,568 Reasons Why and SBN's Hockey Wilderness.