Saturday, October 23, 2010

New York Rangers @ Boston Bruins: Consistency?

Rangers (2-2-1) @ Boston (4-1)

Key Opposing Player: Nathan Horton

Dubinsky - Anisimov - Callahan
Avery - Stepan – Fedotenko
Frolov - Christensen - Prust
Boogaard - White - Boyle

Staal - Rozsival
Del Zotto - Girardi
Gilroy - Sauer


The buzz word the New York Rangers players and staff love to throw around is consistency and it is just that which they will look to instill tonight as they seek to back up their best effort of the year in Thursday’s win over Toronto.  In Boston they will face another team that is playing very well coming into the contest as Boston has won 4 straight, but all of those were with Tim Thomas is net and the Rangers will face Tukka Rask as I passed along earlier.  These battles, especially in Boston over the past few years have been very low scoring affairs and for the Rangers sake one would hope with their missing offensive fire power that is the case again. 

As I said earlier I would have gone with Biron but not going to complain when we stick our world class goalie back in there.  Looking forward to seeing the top line go up against Chara to see what they have as they seek to establish themselves as a legitimate threat in the absence of other offensive weapons.  The line has been their best all season and will need to be again tonight if they are going to come out with a win.  The Stepan line was very good after being reunited for the last game and I expect similar hustle and solid play out of them.  Frolov seemed more involved last game as did Christensen, so would like to see that continue and if it does I would expect results to be there.

The other thing I will be watching is the defensive zone effort not only by our D but the forwards to see if that same attention to detail and fundamental hockey is there as it was in a game they treated like it was a desperation situation.  In that line of thinking also curious to see if the effort the other night was the desperation but also added effort for the backup.  They must play with the same intensity and attention to detail they did for Biron with Hank in the net. Happy to see that Eminger is still in the press box and interested to see if Gilroy and Sauer get any more time tonight than the 10 minutes they got the other night.

The challenge for the Rangers tonight will be to put a damper on the hot starts of Nathan Horton (finally exiled from Florida), David Krejci and Milan Lucic.  The 3 have combined for 8 goals and 11 assists in the first four games.  Special teams will also play a key role as always in what figures to be a low scoring game where the Rangers fixed some penalty kill problems the other night with their 5-5 effort, the Bruins come in at 21.1% effective with the man advantage.  If the Rangers avoid the bad penalty, make the simple play and stick to fundamentals like the other night, they will be in it and it will be up to Henrik to make a few big saves to win it.  Will consistency become a reality at least for two in a row or will it continue to be an elusive temptress the Rangers never full grasp?

Prediction: Rangers 2-1; Goals by Callahan, Anisimov

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