Somewhat lost amid my giddiness over the upcoming Olympics is the team that is the usual focus of this blog. While they rarely bring that same kind of joy of late, I guess I will still cover them. After having their four game winning streak snapped by the Islanders (of all teams, dammit), the Rangers are back in action on Wednesday at home against the Flyers (7 p.m. on MSG2).
Where We Are: Even with Atlanta in eighth place in the East with 40 points on a 18-16-4 record. One point behind seventh place Montreal with three games in hand over the Habs.
Where They Are: Philly is two points back so they can pull even with the win. The Flyers have won three straight after being the Isles 2-1 on Sunday. Guess we roughed the Isles up enough to give the Flyers the win. We roughed the Flyers up in the snow game on Saturday the 19th so they will be looking for revenge. Ok, we didn't rough them up so much as take advantage of their disarray but they appear to have gotten their ship righted so they won't be as easy an opponent.
Who To Watch For: Babyface Briere and Cuckold Carter each scored a goal against Carolina and followed it up with a goal and an assist against the Isles. Danny Carcillo and Arron Asham will certainly lead the Bullies as they attempt to injure Gaborik. And you always have to keep tabs on Chris Pronger, as he is the dirtiest player in the NHL not named Ruutu. I would say Ruutu or Brashear but Brashear isn't dirty anymore, he just isn't much of anything at all.
What To Watch For: Blair Betts and Mike Richards shutting down the Ranger power play. Carolina cast-off Michael Leighton - he of the 5 OT, 98 save losing performance in the AHL playoffs two years ago - was brought in by Philly two weeks ago and promptly backstopped them to their last three wins. James van Riemsdyk has essentially played himself out of the Calder conversation with one goal in his last 20 games but the big kid could surprise.
What We'll (Hopefully) See: Another full Garden of Ranger fans like we had on Saturday. Hank to be dominant yet again. Avery to out-pester Ian Laperriere. A damned goal by Chris Higgins. Someone, anyone, to fill Vinny Prospal's ice time admirably. Someone, anyone, to take the pressure off of Gabby and make the Flyers pay for taking runs at him. The Rangers to send the Flyers to Fenway with a loss, and thus adding a negative mark to the NHL and NBC for putting such a poor choice of an opponent on the ice against the Bruins in the league's most-viewed game.
Also Check Out: Flyer Files is a MSM blog, SBN hosts Broad Street Hockey and you can stop by The 700 Level.