by Patrick Hoffman on 03/24/11 at 11:25 AM ET
The New York Rangers will look to win a “trap” game once again when they take on the Ottawa Senators tonight at Madison Square Garden.
Going into tonight’s tilt, the Blueshirts have won five straight games and have done so with timely goal scoring, smart play in the defensive zone, being disciplined and solid goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist. That has been the winning formula for the Blueshirts all season long and if they use it tonight against the Senators, the team will pick up its sixth straight victory along with points 85 and 86.
The Rangers need to keep winning because the eighth place Buffalo Sabres are just three points behind and are starting to heat up at the right time. With that said, if the Blueshirts continue to win, there is a chance that they could catch the Montreal Canadiens, who are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference with 87 points.
It will be interesting to see how the lineup looks for tonight’s game. One question is will Sean Avery be reinserted back into the lineup? If I am Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella, I stay the course and keep him out of the lineup for at least one more game. The team is doing just fine without him and should not want to change much when things are going right.
Another question that needs to be answered is Marc Staal healthy enough to play? He has been out of the lineup for the last few games with an undisclosed injury. Luckily, the team’s defense has done just fine without him but there is no doubt that the team’s defensive corps is ten times better when Staal is in the lineup.
After tonight’s game, the Blueshirts will travel to Boston to take on the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon in what should be a great game against two long-time Original Six rivals. If all goes well tonight at MSG, the Rangers will ride into Boston on a six-game winning streak.
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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.