by Patrick Hoffman on 11/29/10 at 11:00 AM ET
I would like to introduce you folks to a new feature here at the Goal Line Report: Blueshirts’ Week Ahead.
I do a similar feature over at RLD Hockey. However, unlike RLD Hockey, this feature will focus on the New York Rangers and will include players to keep an eye on and the team’s games of the week.
This is something I will do every Monday morning from here on out.
Players to Keep an Eye on
- Henrik Lundqvist
Coming off two straight wins, it will be interesting to see if New York Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist can carry it into this week against the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders (2) and Ottawa Senators.
In his last two wins over the Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators, Lundqvist was terrific. In the team’s shutout over the Panthers, Lundqvist made 40 saves in his second shutout of the season. He was in position for second and third shots and won the game for his hockey club. In his team’s win over the Predators, he did everything he could to keep his team in the hockey game and was a perfect three-for-three in the shootout.
Hopefully for the Blueshirts, he’ll bring the same kind of performances this week.
- Erik Christensen
As I wrote in a blog late last week, Rangers’ forward Erik Christensen has been quite the puzzle this season. However, in scoring the shootout winner in the team’s win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night, it is obvious that the enigmatic forward has an abundance of skill.
It will be up to Christensen to not disappear this week against the Penguins, Islanders and Senators.
- Marian Gaborik
May be team head coach John Tortorella knows better than to call out scoring forward Marian Gaborik.
However, since scoring a hat trick against the Edmonton Oilers and adding one against the Boston Bruins two weeks ago, Gaborik has been quiet.
If the team wants to win this week, especially against the Penguins tonight at Madison Square Garden, they’ll need Gaborik to recover from the flu and pick up the scoring punch and start producing like he did last season.Games of the week
- Monday, November 29: Pittsburgh Penguins
Tonight, Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins come to town. The Penguins are on a six-game winning streak and are a few points out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
The team will need a herculean effort from its defensive corps along with Lundqvist to shut down the Penguins’ offense and come out of it with two points.
- Thursday, December 2 and Friday, December 3: New York Islanders
These games are obvious trap games for the Rangers. Not only are the New York Islanders one of the worst teams in the NHL this season, but they have already beaten the Rangers’ this season.
The first game of the home-and-home series will be on Thursday night at the Colieseum and will conclude on Friday night at Madison Square Garden. For the Islanders, the games will be for “bragging” rights while for the Blueshirts, they will be for four important points in the Eastern Conference standings.
- Sunday, December 4: Ottawa Senators
Much like the Rangers, the Senators have been fairly inconsistent this season. With that said, however, the Senators usually play pretty well against the Rangers and will be looking to end their week on a high note with a victory at Madison Square Garden.
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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.