Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

Big Game at The Mad House on Madison

With the New York Rangers struggling to find the consistency that made them so successful for much of the season, tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks will be a big test for the Blueshirts.

In last night’s 4-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators, the team looked out-of-sync in all areas of the game. This also happened to be the case in the team’s 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

For the Rangers, this is coming at a bad time as both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference playoff race is heating up. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who will have Sidney Crosby returning in the very near future, are now just 6 points behind the Blueshirts while the Philadelphia Flyers are 8 points behind thanks to the fine play of their netminder Ilya Bryzgalov (finally, eh?).

The team needs to get back to forechecking better, something that Rangers’ forward Marian Gaborik mentioned to team beat writer Andrew Gross of The Record and Ranger Rants.

“I think so,” he said. “The support needs to be there. We have to create more forechecking in the zone. Also, we have to try to chip pucks in and create more odd-man situations.”

The Rangers are a team built on hard work, solid defense, keeping the puck deep in the zone and going after the puck like crazy. These past few weeks, the team has gotten away from that and it has definitely hurt them on the scoreboard.

Tonight, picking up two points against the Blackhawks, currently sixth in the Western Conference, will not be an easy task. The United Center is an extremely tough building to play in as the Blackhawks are 22-7-4 on home ice this season.

The Hawks will come at the Rangers hard and throw tons of pucks on net. Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will have to be ready for a Blackhawks’ onslaught and luckily for the Rangers, they definitely have the upper hand when it comes to goaltending.

It should be a good one tonight between these two Original Six clubs. Hopefully for the Rangers, it will end as a well-deserved two points.

Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, henrik+lundqvist, ilya+bryzgalov, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, original+six, ottawa+senators, philadelphia+flyers, pittsburgh+penguins, sidney+crosby, united+center

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About Goal Line Report

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 patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.