by Patrick Hoffman on 03/23/12 at 09:00 AM ET
Prior to the 7-game homestand, the New York Rangers knew that it would be a great opportunity to really establish home ice before the postseason and pick-up some points to help build on their Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference standings lead.
In six games so far, the Blueshirts have gone 4-2. The team has beat the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings while losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Colorado Avalanche.
Tonight’s game between the Rangers and Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden is an important one for both clubs. For the Rangers, it is an opportunity to go back to being three points ahead of the Penguins as the Penguins beat the Nashville Predators last night by a score of 5-1.
For the Sabres, it is an opportunity to get two huge points to put them in the top eight in the Eastern Conference. The Sabres have been playing playoff hockey for the last month or so and have really turned their season around after a rough few months and after last night’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Penguins, the Sabres can move into the eighth spot over the Washington Capitals with a win.
With the Rangers having already clinched a playoff spot, now is the time to work on different aspects of their game. For example, the team’s power play still needs to start clicking on a more consistent basis because come playoff time, special teams play is going to be crucial.
The team can also work on their scoring depth. While it is great to have guys like Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan all producing on a somewhat consistent basis, players such as Brandon Dubinsky, Derek Stepan, Artem Anisimov and even Brian Boyle need to start burying their chances more.
It should be a great game to watch on a Friday night and should the Rangers manage to win, it will be points number 100 and 101 on the season. It is safe to say that the Rangers are for real this season.
Now, they just need to continue to prove that for the rest of the regular season and hopefully, when it matters most, the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: artem+anisimov, brad+richards, brandon+dubinsky, brian+boyle, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, colorado+avalanche, derek+stepan, detroit+red+wings, marian+gaborik, nashville+predators, new+jersey+devils, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+callahan, washington+capitals
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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.