by Patrick Hoffman on 03/22/11 at 11:21 AM ET
This is exactly what the New York Rangers need to do tonight at Madison Square Garden when they take on the Florida Panthers.
The Blueshirts are currently on a four-game winning streak and have a four point lead on the eighth place Buffalo Sabres in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The last thing this team needs is to lose to the Florida Panthers, a team that is out of the playoff race and looking to slow down any team that is trying to advance to the Stanley Cup tournament.
In the team’s last four games, they have shown that they can put the puck in the net, score on the power play, kill big penalties and get solid goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist on a somewhat consistent basis. Every one on the team is stepping up at the right time and one can only hope that it does not stop this week with their game against the Panthers tonight as well as against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.
Despite not being 100 percent, expect Lundqvist to go once again tonight for the Blueshirts. He was terrific against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday afternoon and is usually at his best down the stretch.
It will be interesting to see what Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella does with Sean Avery. Does he keep Wojtek Wolski in the lineup and scratch Avery once again or does he insert Avery into the lineup and hope for the best?
It’s another two big points on the line at MSG. If the Rangers can avoid the “trap”, they should be able to come away with their fifth straight victory.
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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 email@example.com.