by Patrick Hoffman on 03/04/11 at 04:00 PM ET
This is how the New York Rangers should approach tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators.
After dropping a 3-1 contest to the Minnesota Wild last night at Madison Square Garden, the Blueshirts now find themselves in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings, just two points ahead of the ninth place Buffalo Sabres and three points in front of the tenth place Toronto Maple Leafs. With that in mind, the Rangers’ have once again forced themselves to be in a tough situation tonight in Ottawa.
The Senators have nothing to play for. They pretty much know that they are not going to make the playoffs this season and as such, have been playing extremely loose and have become a tough team to play against. The Senators’ victory last night over the Atlanta Thrashers is a perfect example of this.
The Rangers, on the other hand, can feel the pressure mounting as April gets closer and closer. Every single game they play from hear on out is important and the team cannot afford to be giving points away. The team has to go into Ottawa tonight with a “WIN” mentality and except nothing less.
This starts with the offense. The team pounded Wild goaltender Jose Theodore with 41 shots last night and yet, were only able to get one by him. The Blueshirts need to start finishing their chances and if they keep putting pucks to the net, that could happen.
Secondly, the team needs to protect their goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. The defense must clear loose pucks, allow Lundqvist to see the puck and the offense must give him some goal support if they want to have any chance of coming away with two points.
After tonight’s tilt in Ottawa, the Rangers will take on the Philadelphia Flyers at the Garden on Sunday afternoon. This makes tonight’s game against the Senators even more important as picking up two points against the Flyers will be a challenge.
So, with all of this in mind, the Blueshirts need to win tonight and come away two important points because if they do not, they could be in trouble when they take on the Broadstreet Bullies on Sunday afternoon.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: atlanta+thrashers, buffalo+sabres, carolina+hurricanes, henrik+lundqvist, jose+theodore, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, philadelphia+flyers
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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.