by Patrick Hoffman on 12/04/09 at 05:31 PM ET
For a team that is struggling, this weekend’s schedule certainly will not make things any easier.
Tomorrow night, the New York Rangers are in Buffalo to take on the Northeast Division-leading Sabres and on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden, the team is back home to take on the Detroit Red Wings. Sure, the Wings have also struggled this season but for the Rangers, they will prove to be a superior foe.
According to Andrew Gross of The Record, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is slated to start both games. For Lundqvist to be successful, he’ll need to challenge shooters more instead of staying too deep in his crease and will also need to refrain from allowing a soft goal, something he has done in the last couple of games. If Lundqvist can provide his team with two big efforts, it could go a long way in at least picking up a few points.
The team will also need some secondary scoring. While it’s nice to have a guy like Marian Gaborik supplying most of the offense these days, it’s better to have depth. Players like Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury, Artem Anisimov, and Sean Avery need to start producing on a more consistent basis to give Gabby a break. It seems like this has been a problem the last few seasons, no?
This weekend also marks the debut of waive pickup Erik Christensen. Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella had the following to say about Christensen to friend of the blog Jim Cerny of NewYorkRangers.com:
“I watched him in practice (Thursday) and you can see that he can skate and you can see that he has some skill,” said Rangers head coach John Tortorella. “But you have to play in games. That’s where you judge your people. He’ll be in the lineup (Saturday) and we’ll see where it goes from there.”
Make no mistake about it, the Rangers’ level of compete will be judged after the tough weekend schedule.
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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.