Saturday, December 19, 2009

Battle Preview: Rangers/Flyers clash on Blizzard Day




Later today, a Nor'easter rolls into the metro area, including Pennsylvania which already has to be feeling the affects of the predicted blizzard for the weekend. Yes, they're calling for 6-12 inches of snow in the NY/NJ area with the white stuff expected to begin right around noon and gain steam during what will be a bitter cold winter day. The kind we used to get. Of course, it comes for kids on Winter Break with plenty returning home for the holiday season. Whatever you celebrate (Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, Festivus), enjoy it!

That old Patrick rivals the Rangers and Flyers clash in the City of Brotherly Love with a classic 1 PM start at Wachovia makes it that much better. Nothing like taking in some puck between a pair of struggling teams who hate each other. Especially with probably not much else to do unless you gotta shovel which we will and clean/warm up the car. So, we'll be making a few trips back and forth from the TV set while what amounts to an important game with these two first half disappointments fighting tooth and nail just to gain back respectability. The Rangers aim for two in a row with the same lineup that snapped a five-game skid in Long Island, meaning both Mr. Kleenex and Ales remain out. Now why can't we get Huggy Bear out too?

The Flyers haven't really improved under Peter Laviolette, gaining just a point in a home-and-home versus the Mighty Pens. Though they did play better in earning a point in the rematch- a gimmick defeat with Sid The Kid sealing it. Good news is they'll finally get Simon Gagne back. If you're a Blueshirt supporter, just great. A guy who always gives us fits returns and can our popgun offense repeat the breakout they had versus the Islanders? It'd be advisable for them to come out stronger against a hungry opponent desperate for a win. In other words, don't let Henrik fend for himself. He was brilliant the other night but that won't work if they're to take another baby step out of this month long funk. The leaders (Gabby/Cally) must lead and the grinders (Avery/Higgins/Christensen) must grind away. Another '05-07 Rozy showing would help along with the same sturdiness from Girardi. Tort also liked what he saw from Heineken. So, he'll get another whirl as will Sangs.

Regardless, it's vital for the Rangers to get this game, which would boost self esteem. They were still quite shaky the other night. So, they're far from out of it. You know the Flyers will come hard. They must band together and stand up for their emotional leader, whose crease figures to be busy. Thursday was a start. Now, it's time to keep it going.

Make Blizzard Day a forgettable one for the Cheesesteaks.

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