Sunday, February 3, 2008

Blueshirts go for three straight today

It's Super Bowl Sunday. Wouldn't it be nice if both the Rangers and most importantly the Giants came away winners on this big day?

I'm as excited as anyone else about tonight's huge game. Kick some Patriot ass! Let's make history!!!!!

Alright. Enough about that. The Blueshirts have their own work cut out for them when they visit yet another quality opponent in the Canadiens north of the border. How well is Montreal playing? They've won four of five and since the new calendar year boast a record of 9-2-2. They're latest win, 4-1 over the slumping Islanders yesterday pulled them within three points of top seeded Ottawa, who lost to the Leafs last night. One of those losses came to the Rangers at MSG 4-1 on Jan.12.

That's what has been so odd about this team. With the exception of Ottawa (1-3-0), they can beat the best teams in the conference. They own the Devils; even if Martin Brodeur thinks his team deserved a better fate the other night. If only he had stopped that sharp angle Chris Drury shot. They have taken three of four from the Flyers recently avenging an ugly 6-2 home defeat with a 4-0 blanking this past week. They also are 3-2-0 against the Pens.

The Habs are playing extremely well. Ex-Ranger Alexei Kovalev continues to have a good season. His goal and helper in their win over the Fishsticks hiked his team-best point total to 48 (23-25-48). The 34 year-old Russian has always been a streaky player. He already has one more point than he had all of last season and is on pace for his best output since 2001-02 with the Pens when he totaled 76 points (32-44-76) in 67 games. Containing him is a must for the Ranger D today. Limit his time and space.

For the Rangers, it's vital that they continue to do the things they have in the last two wins paying close attention to detail, remaining disciplined and burying their chances. With the Devils doubling up on the Kings 6-3 last night thanks to two-point nights from John Madden, Sergei Brylin, Travis Zajac, rookie David Clarkson and even defenseman Colin White (actually scored for first time in two years), they picked up two crucial points to pull three ahead of the Blueshirts in this tight playoff race. The Bruins also continue to win. So it's not going to get much easier.

Almost every team competing with Tom Renney's club has games at hand. So, they can't afford to hit a slump now. The recipe is simple. Win their games and put pressure on everyone else in the conference.

The league's only game on Super Sunday is on NBC at 2 ET today. They better be ready before making their football plans.


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