by Patrick Hoffman on 02/16/12 at 06:00 PM ET
The New York Rangers, one of the league’s hottest teams right now, will take on a struggling Chicago Blackhawks hockey club tonight at Madison Square Garden.
The Blackhawks have lost nine straight games and are currently struggling in all areas of their game. They are not scoring goals like they used to, not playing tight defense and getting wildly inconsistent goaltending from both Corey Crawford and Ray Emery.
On the other end, the Blueshirts come into tonight’s tilt having won four straight games. In their most recent game, which was on Tuesday night in Boston against the Boston Bruins, the team got a 42-save shutout performance from their netminder Henrik Lundqvist in a 3-0 victory.
For the Rangers, a game like tonight’s might actually be considered a “trap” game. The Rangers have won four straight, are one of the best team’s in the NHL, have played well at home and will be facing a team that is at the other end of the spectrum right now.
With that in mind, the Blueshirts will need to make sure they get off to a strong start in the game. The Rangers’ still need to find ways to generate offense on a more consistent basis. When this Rangers’ team scores first, they usually end up winning hockey games so it will be important for the club to do that tonight.
After tonight, the Rangers will be back in action on Sunday night at MSG to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets at 8:00 p.m. Should the Rangers win tonight, they will head into that game on a five game winning streak getting set to take on the league’s worst team in the Blue Jackets.
For now, it would be best for the Blueshirts to win tonight’s trap game.
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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.