by Patrick Hoffman on 01/05/12 at 11:14 AM ET
After what happened in last Friday night’s tilt between the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers, it is certainly going to be a battle tonight at Madison Square Garden.
In the Rangers’ 4-1 win against the Cats last week, tempers flared and the anger level was high after Blueshirts’ defenseman Michael Del Zotto was sucker punched by Panthers’ forward Tomas Kopecky after Del Zotto cross-checked him in the back a few times and high-sticked him in the face in front of the net. After the game, Panthers’ head coach Kevin Dineen said Del Zotto got what he deserved.
With both teams in the top three in the Eastern Conference (Rangers in first; Panthers in third), tonight should be a great game. Looking at the Rangers, they are clicking on all cylinders right now and have won their last two games and are obviously coming off an exciting 3-2 win at the 2012 Winter Classic over the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Florida Panthers are 4-4-2 in their last 10 but are certainly not a pushover hockey club this season. They work hard, can put the puck in the net, and can play physical hockey, as was seen last Friday night in Miami.
With another game tomorrow night in Pittsburgh against the Penguins, it will be interesting to see how head coach John Tortorella utilizes the goaltenders. Both the Panthers and Penguins are two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference and it will be important for the Rangers to continue to pick-up points.
It should be a good game tonight so make sure to watch and feel free to leave comments in this thread.
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Tags: 2012+winter+classic, florida+panthers, john+tortorella, kevin+dineen, michael+del+zotto, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, tomas+kopecky
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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.