by Patrick Hoffman on 11/27/09 at 11:39 AM ET
Coming off two straight wins - one a 7-4 drubbing of the Columbus Blue Jackets and the other a 2-1 shootout victory over the Florida Panthers - the New York Rangers (7th in the Eastern Conference) appear to be taking steps towards righting the ship.
Tonight, they’ll look to extend their winning streak to three straight as they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning (10th in the Eastern Conference) at the St. Pete Times Forum. The game marks head coach John Tortorella’s first time coaching against his former team since taking over as the team’s head coach last February.
However, tonight’s focus will be on the team playing solid road hockey and doing everything they can to pick up two points before facing off against the Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow night in Pittsburgh. Torts said as much to Jim Cerny in a game preview article for NewYorkRangers.com:
I have no time to think about anything else,” said Tortorella. “It’s not about me. It’s not fair—I’m the coach of a hockey team trying to win a game, that’s all.”
To do that, the team has to continue to ride the splendid play of leading scorer Marian Gaborik, who scored his 19th goal of the season on Wednesday night against the Florida Panthers. In his last 32 games dating back to last season, Gaborik has scored 29 goals. Amazing, right?
The team will also have to do without Wade Redden tonight, who was lost to injury on Wednesday night. As such, the team called up defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti to take his place. He’s put up terrific numbers in the AHL so far scoring 22 points in his team’s first 21 games.
As for who is starting in goal, I’m not sure who the team will decide on. Every indication is that Henrik Lundqvist will play both tonight in Tampa and tomorrow in Pittsburgh since his team has a day off on Sunday before taking on the Penguins at the Garden on Monday night. If I were Torts, that’s what I would do.
If the Blueshirts can win tonight, that would be six points in their last three games with a chance to sweep a three-game road trip in Pennsylvania tomorrow night. That would certainly be considered righting the ship, right?
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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 email@example.com.