Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

WIN - Nothing Else Matters

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

Comments

Da lil Guy's avatar

The Senators recent success is less a matter of being loose than it is a matter of having a team full of youngsters who are playing to prove the deserve to stay on an NHL roster.

...and an extremely hot goaltender who will play back to back games yet again after turning away 42 of 43 shots in Atlanta last night.

A lot of Ottawa fans like the way the team has been playing (i.e. with passion, and goaltending,that has been missing), but would actually prefer the loss - as they have their eyes on another Ranger - namely Kitchener’s Gabriel Landeskog.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 03/04/11 at 05:12 PM ET

Avatar

As a die hard Rangers fan, I feel it’s obvious that every game since the loss to buffalo is a must win.  We know how to hustle and grind with the best of them, but like you said, when it comes down to it we can’t finish.  But sadly, I feel it’s beyond that.  When the rebounds pop out for a wide open net, we’re diving at the puck instead of being in position to put it in.  Or on a good rush, our shooters have a weak stick and shoot under the puck and can’t get a good shot off, or worse, we shoot directly at the goalie.  Sometimes it looks like there are only a couple blueshirts that can actually put the puck where they want it instead of in the goaltender’s chest.

Posted by Ian on 03/05/11 at 04:37 AM ET

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About Goal Line Report

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 patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.