by Patrick Hoffman on 10/26/09 at 11:33 AM ET
The New York Rangers will look to get back on the winning side of things tonight when they take on the Phoenix Coyotes at Madison Square Garden.
The team has dropped three straight games to the San Jose Sharks (last Monday), New Jersey Devils (last Thursday) and the Montreal Canadiens (two nights ago). They jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead last Monday night against the Sharks only to see poor goaltending, defensive positioning and ill-timed penalties seal their fate. They were able to come back from a 2-0 deficit against the Devils only to see an unlucky bounce get past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist in a 4-2 loss. The team blew a lead against the Habs and lost 5-4 in OT thanks to a Mike Camalleri hat trick.
Tonight’s game should not be considered an easy one for the Blueshirts as the Desert Dogs are currently 6-3-0 in nine games. Normally, this would be the kind of game that backup netminder Steve Valiquette would start but given the way things have gone in the past week, it’s time for Lundqvist to right the ship and help out his hockey club by getting a win tonight on home ice.
It will be interesting to see how both Brandon Dubinsky and Christopher Higgins respond to Saturday night’s benching. Tortorella had the following to say to Newsday’s Rangers’ beat writer Steve Zipay:
“I’m anxious to get an answer (from them). I hope they answer the right way. I’m not looking to be throwing people down the end of the bench, but if that is where we have to get things straightened out, that will happen. This is part of becoming a disciplined hockey club and I don’t think we’re anywhere near where we should be.”
Folks, this is definitely a game that the Rangers can win but in order to do so, the team will need to get back to playing the way head coach John Tortorella wants them to play. A win tonight against a solid Western Conference team might be just what the Rangers need to get back on track.
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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.