by Patrick Hoffman on 02/16/11 at 12:02 PM ET
After snapping a six-game winless streak on Sunday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Rangers are getting ready for three big games during the rest of the week against the Los Angeles Kings (tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden), New Jersey Devils (Friday night at the Prudential Center) and the Philadelphia Flyers (Sunday afternoon at the Garden).
For those counting, that is a crucial six points on the line for the Blueshirts and an opportunity to put a tighter hold on one of the top eight spots in the Eastern Conference. For the Rangers to go six for six, a few things will need to happen: the top nine forwards will need to build on their performance from Sunday afternoon, they cannot back down and they need to get strong goaltending whether it is from Henrik Lundqvist or Martin Biron.
Let’s look further into those three key details:
- The Top Nine will need to shine
In Sunday afternoon’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Rangers got strong performances out of Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Vinny Prospal, Derek Stepan, and Marian Gaborik. The team’s top nine forwards played the way they are suppossed to play and were able to put pucks in the net, generate scoring chances and create havoc for Penguins’ goaltender Marc Andre Fleury.
- No Quit
In a league that has now become known for its parity, the Rangers cannot afford to quit in games. The Devils may be out of a playoff spot but they are one of the league’s hottest team and the Boueshirts cannot afford to take them lightly. The Los Angeles Kings are no sluch either so the Rangers will need to bring their ‘A game.
- Strong Goaltending
New York Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist needs to be the team’s rock and provide playoff-caliber goaltending if this team wants to go anywhere come April. Strong performances over the next three games could help Lundqvist get in a groove and get hot down the stretch for the Blueshirts.
Six out of six is definitely possible for the Blueshirts if they do the above three things. If not, six points could be lost, making it an even tougher stretch to April for the Rangers.
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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.