by Patrick Hoffman on 03/15/11 at 09:00 AM ET
It sounds simple, right? Especially with the New York Islanders coming to Madison Square Garden tonight, right?
Wrong. The New York Rangers will be facing a much different New York Islanders hockey club tonight, one that has won a lot in the second half of the season and one that does not look like an AHL team anymore.
For the Rangers, the task is simple - just win baby. The team is currently eighth in the Eastern Conference with 76 points. The Buffalo Sabres also have 76 points and the Carolina Hurricanes are ninth in the conference with 72 points. Unfortunately for the Blueshirts, those teams are in action against each other tonight so one of them will definitely be coming away with the all-important two points.
The last time the Rangers were at home, they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers by a 7-0 score while getting four goals from Ryan Callahan. Tonight, the Blueshirts will be looking for the same kind of offense to get the crowd going and excited about the team’s playoff hopes.
For that to happen though, the Blueshirts will need to be careful against these hungry Islanders. The Islanders have gotten terrific play from the likes of John Tavares, Michael Grabner, Blake Comeau, Matt Moulson and goaltender Al Montoya. Yes, the Montoya that was drafted by the Rangers back in 2004.
The Blueshirts should not need the fact that they are playing the Islanders as motivation to get up for a game. The team needs to stick to the task at hand and just focus on winning the hockey game and keeping pace with the rest of the Eastern Conference.
Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella will have them focused on that and players like Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Vaclav Prospal, Brian Boyle, Mats Zuccarello, and Derek Stepan will need to do everything they can to provide the offense tonight against one of the Eastern Conference’s hottest teams.
Get ready folks - it should be a good one between the two rivals.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: brandon+dubinsky, brian+boyle, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, derek+stepan, mats+zuccarello, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan, vaclav+prospal
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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.