Monday, October 18, 2010
Shorthanded Rangers host Avs tonight
In a little bit, I'll be heading over to MSG along with Justin and Mike for the Rangers' second home game. They'll take on a talented Avs club that features super soph Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny, Chris Stewart, Milan Hejduk and John-Michael Liles. The goalie match-up should be good too with last year's surprise Craig Anderson opposing Henrik Lundqvist.
Obviously, it's the first game minus offensive leader Marian Gaborik with yet again no Chris Drury and Vinny Prospal, who had successful knee surgery and is expected out six to eight weeks. More encouraging at least than the rumored entire season over the weekend. Here's a chance for our young core featuring Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Mike Del Zotto, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and rookie Derek Stepan to step up. This is what Ranger fans have wanted to see. Well, here it is. Can Lundqvist steal a few games and when does Alex Frolov (2 A) finally score his first as a Blueshirt? They signed the ex-King to complement Gabby but now, he's the most proven scorer on our roster. Will he find chemistry with new linemates Stepan and Ruslan Fedotenko? He better.
John Tortorella wisely didn't change the cohesive Anisimov unit featuring Cally and Dubi. In many aspects, they've been our most effective on the cycle but must pay better attention to detail after having been on for a few goals against the first three contests. Leading assist man Sean Avery shifts to the third line with familiar linemates Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust, who worked well together late last year. Meanwhile, Erik Christensen returns and Todd White anchors the fourth line with The Boogey Man.
Tort keeps the same D pairs for tonight at least. So, that means another game of Steve Eminger and Matt Gilroy. Over the weekend, the vet coach went over defensive coverage which has been lacking. They've allowed 12 goals while scoring 13. Sure. Offensive is up but the defense has been scary. Is there a change in philosophy with The Big Ticket out? They can't afford to get into a run n' gun with the speedy Avs. They'll get burned. Discipline must also be better.
We'll see what our boys come up with in a few hours.