by Patrick Hoffman on 02/14/10 at 12:52 PM ET
Coming off a 3-2 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night at the Mellon Arena, nothing would be better than for the New York Rangers to win this afternoon against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden. This would put the Blueshirts on a two game winning streak heading into the Olympic break and may even help build up the team’s confidence.
This is obviously an important game (when is it not?) for the Rangers, who are 11th in the Eastern Conference but just two points out of the eighth and final playoff spot, currently being held by the Lightnining. A win this afternoon would put the Rangers in a much better spot before coming back to a grueling schedule after the break, which will begin with a game against the Ottawa Senators in Ottawa on March 2nd.
In Friday night’s game, the team lost both Michael Del Zotto and Marian Gaborik to injuries, forcing the team to shorten its bench and play a smart and disciplined hockey game. Fortuntaely for the Blueshirts, they did just that and came away with two important points.
Unfortunately, the two will not be able to play this afternoon, so the team will once again have to come together and play tougher and tighther against an offense that has the ability to capitalize on mistakes with guys like Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos.
To take Del Zotto’s place, the team has called up defenseman Corey Potter from the Hartford Wolf Pack while Jodie Shelley, who the team acquired on Friday, will take Gaborik’sspot. Not even close to an upgrade but a player that has some experience and can bring some grit to the hockey club.
It should be a good one so on this Sunday afternoon, sit back and enjoy the holiday weekend with some good (hopefully) Rangers hockey.
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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.