by Patrick Hoffman on 02/20/09 at 12:45 PM ET
When the New York Rangers beat the New York Islanders on Wednesday night, Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist said it was a good start to the new season.
It’s a good thing that the Blueshirts are looking at this as a new season since more than halfway through this 2008-09 campaign, a season that has been mired with a lack of scoring, a lack of finish, a terrible power play and overall, inconsistency.
This weekend, the team looks to continue its perfect new season with games against the Buffalo Sabres (tomorrow night in Buffalo) and Toronto Maple Leafs (Sunday night at the Garden). To pick up four points, the team will need to do the following:
- Get strong play from their top players. On Wednesday night, the team got solid play from both Scott Gomez and Chris Drury. It was probably one of the first times all season that they both played well in the same game. Now, they have to be able to do it again to show that it wasn’t a fluke.
- Get strong play from Wade Redden. For a guy that has a long contract with the team, he’s been horrible. He gives up the puck, he allows guys to blow right buy him and has appeared flustered at times. On Wednesday night, however, he was a lot better. He was confident with the puck, made good outlet passes, gave hits, took hits and looked every bit the player he was earlier in his career with the Ottawa Senators. If there was ever time to earn your large salary, now would be the perfect time.
- Protect Lundqvist and Stephen Valiquette. If the team allows Lundqvist and Valiquette to see the puck, clear rebounds, and move guys from in front of the net, the team will get the goaltending it needs to pick up four crucial points.
These games won’t be easy but picking up at least three out of four points is very possible.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.