Sunday, November 7, 2010

Peepin' Foes: St. Louis Blues

The Blueshirts face the Blues on Sunday night at the Garden, 7pm on MSG-Plus. While it is sure to have more excitement than the morning's marathon, it looks like many Ranger fans have little interest being around for it - TicketExchange has over 1,500 tickets available right now (2am the night before). Sure Sunday's game is just hours away but just for a reference, that is 400 more than are available for this week's Caps game and almost twice the amount available for next Sunday's matinee against the Oil. Somehow a Western Conference team devoid of 'name' stars playing on a Sunday night at 7 isn't all that appealing ... but I'll be there, of course.

Where We Are: In shockingly good shape considering the team is still missing Marian Gaborik and has been outplayed in nine of their 13 games. Last game they were a snapping turtle - the hard shell of Henrik Lundqvist protecting the important parts while Brandon Dubinsky represented the powerful jaws that snapped at the weak spots of the predator.

Where They Are: J.D.'s bunch are red hot at 8-1-2, carrying a six game win streak into the Garden. St. Louis will be playing their third game in four nights after beating San Jose at home on Thursday before topping the Bruins in Boston Saturday.

Who To Watch For: Jaro Halak had a shutout streak of 150 minutes and three seconds snapped on a one timer by Greg Campbell in Boston. He may very well play in the Garden as he played both games of a back-to-back two weeks ago and Ty Conklin has played just one game this season. Then again, Conk-blocker is 3-1 in his career against the Rangers so either way, the Blueshirts will face good goaltending. As I mentioned above, there aren't any 'names' on this team but the Blues are still getting things done - they have only scored four or more goals three times this season and no one has more than five and no player is averaging a point per game. David Perron, arguably their top scorer, didn't play against Boston as he was still dazed from the Thornton incident. Perron has five goals, as does former Hab Matt D'Agostini. Brad Boyes and David Backes have underperformed while a personal favourite of mine, former roller hockey star T.J. Oshie, is leading the team with 10 points.

What To Watch For: A grinding, back-and-forth game with the Blues matching the Rangers hit for hit. The Rangers to be outshot, as St. Louis has done that to their opponents in each of their last four games. Former Devil d-bag Cam Janssen to play his second straight game and his third of the season, just to start stuff with Avery. Young Patrik Berglund stepping up his game against our Swedish King. A St. Louis power play that is 0-13 in the last three games. J.D. to stop by the MSG booth to remind us just how great he and Sam were as a team and just how horrible Joe Micheletti is on the air.

What We'll (Hopefully) See: A healthy Ryan Callahan (and the A taken off Rozy's sweater). MDZ to look across the ice at his old peewee teammate Alex Pietrangelo and outplay him. The Rangers to take advantage of Barret Jackman's injury to set up camp near the St. Louis crease. Fedotenko to break his two game streak of getting crushed in what should have been highly penalized, illegal hits. Boogaard to keep Janssen, B.J. Crombeen and Backes in line. Barring the Boogeyman actually doing his job, Prust to take on Janssen to re-new a rivalry that goes back to their OHL days. Hockey Fights has three NHL battles between the two of them, with Cam winning all of them so hopefully Prust will get the edge this time ... as long as it isn't some preplanned, meaningless dance.

Also Check Out: SBN's St. Louis Game Time is the top St. Louis site IMO but you can also stop by Let's Go Blues and Jeremy Rutherford's MSM blog Morning Skate.

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