Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

Is Tonight the Biggest Game of the Year for the Blueshirts?

Everyone involved in the New York Rangers’ organization from the brass, to its players and to its fans should answer that with a resounding YES.

The team is winless in their last five games and tonight, take on an Atlanta Thrashers hockey team that is just four points behind them in the Eastern Conference standings. To make things a bit more interesting, the Carolina Hurricanes are only three points behind their Blueshirts with one game in hand.

The Rangers need to stop the bleeding before they have nothing left and find themselves out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight season. To get back on the right track tonight, the team is going to need some offense, smart play in the neutral zone and strong goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, who should be between the pipes tonight.

When it comes to the team’s offense, Marian Gaborik needs to step up and contribute. This is a guy who can skate and shoot with the best of them and yet, he has not been able to do so this season. If Gaborik can get a goal or two tonight, it should boost his confidence and may be get him going.

The team will also need to get offense from guys like Vinny Prospal, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle, Sean Avery, and Erik Christensen. All of these guys have an ability to score the gritty goals and it is time for the Blueshirts to dig into the trenches and start getting some dirty goals.

In goal, Lundqvist needs to have an A+ performance tonight. He has struggled in his last four of five games and simply has not been himself. A big save at the right time can go a long way in helping right the Rangers’ ship.

The time is now for the Rangers to get back to playing the hockey they were playing prior to the skid, which is hard working, hard hitting, smart defensively, big goaltending and timely goal scoring up and down the lineup.

There is no better time than the present for the Blueshirts to start picking up every possible point they can get so they can get back to the playoffs and play for something even more important than two points: the Stanley Cup.

Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, brandon+dubinsky, brian+boyle, carolina+hurricanes, erik+christensen, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, new+york+rangers, ryan+callahan, sean+avery, vinny+prospal

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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.