by Patrick Hoffman on 12/20/08 at 06:00 PM ET
If there was ever a game that the New York Rangers could use as a measuring stick, tonight’s tilt with the San Jose Sharks in San Jose would be that game.
San Jose comes into tonight’s matchup sporting a 25-4-3 record, good for 53 points and the top spot in both the Western Conference and the Natioanl Hockey League. On the other side, the Bluershirts come into tonight’s game with a 22-11-2 record, 46 points and sits in second place in the Eastern Conference (at least until all the other teams catch up in games played).
In his Rangers Report Blog, Journal News Ranger beat writer Sam Weinman says that tonight’s game could be a game where the Rangers realize that they’re not that far off or they could realize that they still have a lot of work to do to become a Stanley Cup contender.
http://www.snyrangersblog.com/I happen to agree with Sam as for the most part, the Blueshirts have had a relatively forgiving schedule, playing teams that they should be beat and picking up points in games that they should be picking up points. However, the Rangers will be the underdog in tonight’s contest and if they can manage to pick up at least a point, may be it will silence down the critics that say this team can’t compete with the NHL’s elite.
In order for the team to at least have a chance to win, their goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is going to have to be on top of his game as the Sharks are second in the league averaging 35.5 shots per game. The team also boasts a top-tier offense with guys like Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Devin Setoguchi, Dan Boyle, Ryane Clowe, Joe Pavelski, and Rob Blake. Couple that with goaltenders Evgeni Nabokov and Brian Boucher and it makes for one tough hockey club to beat.
With that being said though, the Sharks are coming off losses to the Columbus Blue Jackets (2-1 overtime loss) and a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of the mighty Detroit Red Wings. This is both good news and bad news for the Blueshirts as while the Sharks appear to be somewhat vulnerable, they’re also extremely hungry to get back on track.
It should be a good one! For more Rangers reading, please check out the following blogs:
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Tags: brian+boucher, columbus+blue+jackets, dan+boyle, detroit+red+wings, devin+setoguchi, evgeni+nabokov, joe+pavelski, joe+thornton, new+york+rangers, patrick+marleau, rob+blake, ryane+clowe, sam+weinman, san+jose+sharks, scotty+hockey, sny+rangers+blog, the+journal+news
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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.