The Rangers return from a rotten road trip to play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night, 7 p.m. on Versus. Seeing as an anonymous poster seems to feel it is my lack of Peepin' Foes that is causing the Ranger slide and I am quite superstitious (already have that damned Rozsival jersey out and ready to go), I felt it was worth a shot to slap this thing together in my five minutes of free time tonight - anything for a win over Cindy at home.
Where We Are: Floundering. As per usual, the Rangers raised expectations with two great games last week only to urinate all over them with the games in Philadelphia and Montreal. But, we still have 55 points and sit in playoff position - even with Philly in sixth and Montreal in eighth (the Flyers have a game in hand on the Rangers, and the Rangers have a game in hand on the Habs). Of course, both Boston and the Islanders are only one point out, Florida is two back and Atlanta and Tampa are three back; that's parity for you folks.
Where They Are: Fourth place in the conference, 10 points ahead of the Rangers after having played one more game. The Pens are coming off of an emotional afternoon win at the Wachovia Center Sunday. Where the Blueshirts lost 2-0, the Pens won 2-1. So that means we should lose 4-0 if my math is right. Man, I hope it isn't.
Who To Watch For: Well, seeing as Mike Rupp has already victimized the Rangers this season, anyone and everyone on the Pittsburgh squad is worth watching out for. In case you were curious, Cindy has 16 points in his last nine games while Gina has eight in his last four. But as long as Gabby stays away from Hungry Hungry Hippo Matt Cooke, they should hopefully survive unscathed. And Marc-Andre Fleury may return from a broken left ring finger after missing four games while Pascal Dupuis is still trying to figure out where he is and Max Talbot and Chris Kunitz are also out.
What To Watch For: Check the beat writer blogs to see if Torts shakes up the roster. After four shutouts in seven games, he has all the justification he needs to bring back Alice and Brash, even if they are both grossly incompetent. We just have to hope that he won't swap out Voros and Lisin as they have been two of the better Rangers the last two games; how about Drury and Prospal? That would surely send a message...
What We'll (Hopefully) See: A goal by the Rangers. That is about all I am hoping to see at this point. Emotion, effort and any other signs of life would be good. A win would be better. But, the way they played the last two games, I would settle for a goal. With Eric Godard not having fought in two games, he needs to justify his salary so he may go at Brash or Voros so seeing them win a fight would be nice.
Also Check Out: With the bandwagon as big as it ever was, the Pens blogosphere is booming but the best of the best is Empty Netters (the Pittsburgh Post Gazette's stellar link-happy blog), the snarky photoshop-heavy awesomeness of The PensBlog and SBN's Pensburgh.