by Patrick Hoffman on 12/02/10 at 11:38 AM ET
Any time a team plays their rival, the club wants to put their best forward and do everything they can to win the hockey game even if the said club isn’t doing well in the standings.
This is especially true for tonight in tonight’s tilt at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum between the New York Rangers and the New York Islanders. The Islanders may be at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings but you know that tonight, they will bring their A-game and do everything they can to beat the Blueshirts.
With that said, this is a game that the Blueshirts cannot afford to take lightly, especially since the Islanders scored six goals on them in a 6-4 loss back in October. The Islanders are a young hockey club that certainly has the opportunity to exploit the Rangers’ weaknesses.
According to team beat writer Andrew Gross of The Record, team head coach John Tortorella tinkered with the lines in practice yesterday and could use them in tonight’s game.
Sean Avery-Erik Christensen-Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan
Ruslan Fedotenko-Brian Boyle-Brandon Prust
Alex Frolov-Artem Anisimov-Derek Boogaard/Todd White
Marc Staal-Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto-Michal Rozsival
Mike Sauer-Steve Eminger
The obvious change to note is that Sean Avery has been placed on the “top” line with Erik Christensen and Marian Gaborik. Avery hasn’t exactly been lighting it up this season but he has been able to generate scoring opportunities and is someone who will go hard to the net and may be even create some room for a player like Marian Gaborik.
One also has to wonder who will get the start in goal tonight considering that the team plays again tomorrow night and Sunday night at Madison Square Garden. Speaking with Scotty Hockey last night, he thinks that may be the team will go with backup goaltender Martin Biron tonight and save starting netminder Henrik Lundqvist for tomorrow night and Sunday night at MSG.
It should be a good one tonight and hopefully at the final buzzer, the Blueshirts will have come away with a significant two points.
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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.