by Patrick Hoffman on 03/22/09 at 11:45 PM ET
Going into this weekend, all the New York Rangers were focused on was their game. They weren’t focused on who was in front of them, behind them or looking a few games down the road. The team was focused on the here and now.
Their intense focus certainly showed last night at the Garden as the team beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-3. Tonight’s game, against the Ottawa Senators, on the other hand, ended in a 2-1 loss, which means that the team remains in the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference.
While four points would have been great, the team should be satisfied with their play this weekend. They put pucks to the net, used their speed well, did a great job killing penalties (now first in the league) and were competitive in both games. Some other notes from the weekend:
- It was a strong two games for Ryan Callahan, who picked up his 18th and 19th goal of the seasons while also picking up an assist. He’s been playing hard all season long but his talents have really come through for the team in the last couple of weeks under new head coach John Tortorella.
- How about that Wade Redden? His defensive game has improved under assistant coach Jim Schoenfeld as he looks a lot more confident with the puck, is shooting more from the point, is joining the rush and for once, living up to the contract he was given this summer.
- Where does Nikolai Zherdev go? Some games, he does everything right and other games, he completely disappears. Tortorella preaches consistency and Zherdev needs to find that soon if this team wants to continue improving offensively.
- Think the Rangers are worried about their game against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night? The last time the two teams met (December 20, 2007), Marian Gaborik scored five goals. It just so happens that after missing significant time with an injury, Gaborik is officially back in the Wild lineup.
Again, this team may not have picked up the four points they wanted but heading into this week, they’re still in playoff position and right now, that’s the team’s only focus.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: buffalo+sabres, eastern+conference, jim+schoenfeld, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers, nikolai+zherdev, ottawa+senators, ryan+callahan, wade+redden
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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.