by Patrick Hoffman on 01/22/11 at 02:00 PM ET
After losing to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 on Thursday night, the New York Rangers have to put in a much better defensive effort in their game tonight against the Atlanta Thrashers.
The team allowed 39 shots on Thursday night, did not break up enough plays, and were often caught out of position. Had the team performed better on the defensive side of the puck on Thursday night, we could be talking a 4-1 win rather than a loss.
In looking at the Rangers vs. Thrashers game preview on the team’s web site, it seems that the team will be ready to deliver a much better defensive performance tonight against an offensive Thrashers hockey club.
“If we’re going to compete, especially in the second half of the season, we have to defend the proper way,” said Tortorella. “It has to be of the utmost importance to us. We have to defend first, and then work from there. So we have some work to do.”
You have to give a lot of credit to the head coach as he has his team believeing in his system. With that said, he needs to make sure that they do not veer off the path because if they do, what happened on Thursday night will be sure to happen again.
As the points become increasingly more important, the Blueshirts cannot afford to do that. As of today, the Rangers are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference with 57 points, just one point behind the sixth place streaking Montreal Canadiens and three points behind the fifth place Washington Capitals, who the team takes on Monday night.
Meanwhile, the Thrashers are in the eighth spot in the conference with 54 points, just two points in front of the ninth place Carolina Hurricanes. As such, this game is obviously just as important to the Thrashers as it is to the Blueshirts.
With two points on the line in a very tight Eastern Conference, tonight’s game between the Rangers and Thrashers should be a dandy, hopefully with the Rangers coming away with the all-important 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.