Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

Big Week Ahead for the Blueshirts

Sitting at 25-15-3, the New York Rangers find themselves sixth in the Eastern Conference with 53 points, just one point behind the fifth place Washington Capitals, three points behind the fourth place Pittsburgh Penguins and believe it or not, four points behind the Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia Flyers.

With that in mind, the Rangers have a tough eight points on the line this week with games against the Montreal Canadiens (2) Vancouver Canucks and Phildelphia Flyers. These teams are currently all playoff hockey clubs and will present a tough challenge for the injury-plagued Blueshirts.

In order to be successful this week and pick up some valuable points, the Rangers will need to do the following things in no particular order:

- Stay Healthy: With injuries to Ryan Callahan, Erik Christensen, Vinny Prospal and now Alex Frolov (out the remainder of the season), the team cannot afford any more injuries. Sure, the team has responded well to injur-adversity this season but right now, the focus should be getting everyone healthy prior to making a playoff run.

- Score on the Power Play: When it comes to the power play, the team has been inconsistent to say the least. The Blueshirts need to start shooting more, crashing the net for rebounds and giving themselves a better look at the net. In the games this week, being able to score with the man advantage could be crucial.

- Have a Strong Penalty Kill: The teams the Rangers are facing this week are usually lethal on the power play. As such, the team will need to do everything they can to either stay out of the box or if they take a peanalty, kill it off with smart plays, shot blocking and unselfishness.

Strong Goaltending: This should not be a problem for the Rangers. Both Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron have been strong between the pipes this season and have given the team every chance to win a hockey game.

Consistent Lines: Believe it or not, the Rangers’ lines are starting to click because head coach John Tortorella has done everything he can to keep them together in order to from chemistry. Hopefully for the Rangers, their head coach will do that this week as well.

It is a big week for the Rangers but if they can pick up some points, it will show those in and out of the National Hockey League that the Rangers are a much different hockey club this season.

Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: alex+frolov, erick+christensen, john+tortorella, montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan, vancouver+canucks, vinny+prospal.+henrik+lundqvist.+martin+biron

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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.