by Patrick Hoffman on 01/26/09 at 11:30 PM ET
Tomorrow night, the New York Rangers will begin the second half of their season with a tilt against the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden.
For the Rangers, the second half of the season will determine whether or not they are good enough to win the Atlantic Division title. For the team to do so, they will need to do the following:
- Score goals. It’s that simple folks. Being able to put the puck in the net wins games whether’s it an even strength, power play, or shorthanded goal. For this to happen, guys like Markus Naslund, Nikolai Zherdev, Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky will need to step up and get the job done. And yes, it wouldn’t be a bad thing if Lauri Korpikoski or Petr Prucha were put in the lineup more often and as of this writing at least, it looks like they will be in tomorrow night.
- Get strong goaltending. It’s also a well-known hockey fact that good goaltending wins games. As it turns out, the Blueshirts have just that in both starter Henrik Lundqvist and backup netminder Stephen Valiquette, who will start tomorrow night as Lundqvist needs an extra practice or two after not having practiced in awhile. These two have shown in the past that they can get it done and this year should be no different, as the tandem is having a strong season in between the pipes for the Blueshirts.
- Play tight defense. This is a staple of Tom Renney, head coach of the Rangers, hockey. The team will do their best to score first and then focus on playing shut-down hockey. In the past three seasons, the team has been strong defensively in the second half and has helped the team to a strong finish. Hopefully, this season won’t be any different.
Yes, the team has struggled with consistency and yes, the team is extremely tough to figure out sometimes. However, they have what it takes to win the division and if they can have a solid second half, who knows what the future may hold.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: atlantic+division, brandon+dubinsky, carolina+hurricanes, chris+drury, henrik+lundqvist, lauri+korpikoski, markus+naslund, new+york+rangers, nikolai+zherdev, petr+prucha, ryan+callahan, scott+gomez, stephen+valiquette, tom+renney
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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.