Friday, December 29, 2006

Rangers at Senators, MSG, 7:30 ET/4:30 PT

Being that I don't have much time cause I have to run out for a special get together with friends including seeing an old buddy in Jersey, I'll make this quick.

Losers of six straight in bad fashion, the Rangers (18-16-4, 40 pts) need a win in the worst way at Ottawa (19-18-1, 39 pts). Ironically, the Sens have also been inconsistent and are one of the teams the Blueshirts are battling for playoff positioning. So it's a huge potential four point swing game between two underachieving Eastern Conference teams. The Sens are fresh off their 2-0 shutout of the Islanders while the Rangers limp into this one after a couple of days off to contemplate their latest defeat of the same 2-0 variety to those Islanders.

Season Series: The Rangers won the only meeting thus far at Scotiabank Place 3-1 back on December 9 one day after my birthday. Henrik Lundqvist played one of his best games, stoning the Sens a number of times and Jaromir Jagr scored a goal which proved to be the winner. Fedor Tyutin finished it off with a shorthanded empty net. The Sens will be without their top two centers Jason Spezza (team leading 44 points) and Mike Fisher (9-15-24) for this game. Their offensive leader Spezza will miss approximately a month while Fisher is day-to-day. So the question is can the Rangers sweep the two games up there? We'll see. The final two meetings take place at the Garden January 11 and March 13.

Keys to a Win:

-Shutdown Sens' sniper Dany Heatley (20 goals) and Daniel Alfredsson (9-22-31).

-Don't turnover the puck. Ottawa comes at you with speed and their D loves to jump in and create odd-man rushes.

-Stay out of the box. This is self explanatory. You don't want to put the fast moving Sens on the power play.

-Get a lead. If they can get the early jump and make Ottawa play from behind, it should help a lot.

Will they get it done? Who knows with this team anymore? They need this badly though because Washington comes in tomorrow before they visit the Devils. It doesn't get any easier.

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