Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rangers at Toronto Maple Leafs Pregame

Rangers (4-4-1) at Toronto (5-3-1)
Key Opposing Player: Phil Kessel (7-2-9)
Dubinsky - Anisimov – Callahan
Frolov - Stepan - Prust
Avery - Boyle – Fedotenko
Grachev – White - EC

Staal - Rozsival
Del Zotto - Girardi

(The lineup is pure speculation from me and wont be official til 5.  If Boogaard can go I think they put him and I wouldnt be surprised to see White sit since all the get him involved talk manifested itself in 7 minutes last night.  Also wouldnt be stunned to see Biron in Toronto again but since he struggled some the other night and Hank was good in the loss I expect Hank in there.  Wish Sauer was in but done expecting it.  If I can get online once the final lineup is announced last today I will put it up.)

The Game:
The Rangers will take the ice tonight looking to rebound from losing two straight after winning three in a row; in other words they look to rebound from being the Rangers.  This team is allergic to both goo results and consistency in their own play of the past few years.  It is almost a given that a lousy stretch is followed by a good stretch to back the fans off the cliff and make them believe again only to have a new lousy stretch and they let fans assume the natural position on the ledge.   

Offensively the effort was much better and more consistent against Carolina than Atlanta but the defense was 

still awful and if not for Henrik and his goaltending they easily could have given up 7 or 8 with the quality and ease of some of those chances. I will repeat part of yesterday’s preview in the following: “Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan line will have to lead this team again and they will need to get contributions from others along with continued strong play from Sean Avery and Ruslan Fedetenko.  The defense will have to play much better than on Wednesday both in their coverage and their physicality in their own zone.”  The question I now have is how long can that top line keep it up because Dubinsky and Cally have never been anywhere near point per game players and you have Dubinsky with 5G-4A-9pts in 9 games while Cally has 3G-7A-10pts on in 9 games.  I would like to, but cannot make myself believe that suddenly they have become that good.  Dubi is on pace for 45 goals while his career high is 20 and Cally is on pace for 63 assists while he had 43 total in basically his 3 years of NHL game experience prior to the year.  Someone other than these guys is going to have to carry it for a little while.   

On Defense I will come out and say that if Staal and MDZ don’t start playing better in their own end they both deserve to get benched for a game.

Toronto comes in 5-3-1 after their torrid 4-0 start and these two teams have already met twice so there wont be too many secrets in store. The key for the Rangers against Toronto will be shutting down Phil Kessel which they failed to do in the first meeting and did successfully in the second.

Prediction Toronto 4-2