Thursday, October 21, 2010

New York Rangers @ Toronto Maple Leafs: Points over Payback

NEW YORK - APRIL 07: Phil Kessel #81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs is knocked off balance by Marc Staal #18 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on April 7, 2010 in New York City.

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Rangers @ Toronto (4-0-1)

Key Opposing Player: Phil Kessel

Previous Matchup: Toronto 4, NYR 3 OT (MSG) 10-15-2010

Projected Lineup:
Brandon Dubinsky-Artem Anisimov-Ryan Callahan
Sean Avery -Derek Stepan-Ruslan Fedotenko
Alex Frolov - Erik Christensen - Brian Boyle
Derek Boogaard- Todd White -Brandon Prust

Marc Staal-Michal Rozsival
Michael Del Zotto-Dan Girardi
Matt Gilroy-Michael Sauer

Martin Biron

Pregame Thoughts inside.

Thoughts on Game:  
Last week before we played the Leafs I said that this Toronto team was built the way Brian Burke builds them with everyone having a clearly defined role.  They may not have all the talent Burke would desire, but the fact they all have clearly defined roles gives Wilson and his Leafs a different kind of advantage over the Rangers when they meet.  On the Rangers with each game a fluctuation in lines, pairs and purposes there are no defined roles and thus there is nothing routine about a Rangers game for this team.  In an attempt to go have some stability Tortorella has left the team’s best of Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan together again and reunited the Avery-Stepan-Fedetenko line.  I would have put the 4th line back together as well, but Boyle is being rewarded for his solid play and given a more offensive opportunity.

Happy that Steve Eminger finally got his well-deserved place in the press box, Sauer is back on the ice.  Obviously it will be up to Gilroy and Sauer to both play well enough to keep Eminger there so Ranger fans never have to see Eminger’s 44 in a game that counts again. 

Martin Biron will make his regular season debut for the Rangers in a matchup of backups vs “The Monster.”  I am surprised that they went with Biron tonight as opposed to in one of the back to backs this weekend, but he has to play some time.

Many fans tonight will be watching for Orr vs Boogaard, along with retaliation on Armstrong for Gaborik and junk against Dion just for being Dion and oh yea running Hank.  All of those things can happen in this game, but when the team is struggling as it is the focus has to be on getting the two points and if you can make those other things happen in the course of the game without hurting the team, go for it.  Maybe that makes me soft to not call for retaliation ahead of points because sending a message to the locker room and the league can be important, but remember this team missed the playoffs by 1 point last year; they all matter.  In that vein I certainly that some Ranger defender, any Ranger defender decides to actually hit Phil Kessel tonight instead of letting him roam as freely as he did last time.

With the offense missing Gaborik, Prospal and Drury the pressure is on the new top line to not only play well and possess the  puck as they did the other night vs Colorado but finish.  In that spirit I predict that the Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan combination nets 2 goals tonight in a repeat score 4-3 Toronto.


  1. Boogaard has to fight or else he really has no purpose. I want to see someone take out Armstrong and Dion for what they did to Gabby and Hank. This team is supposed to be tougher, would like them to show it though i agree not in a way that hurts the team

  2. WalkerNYRanger here. Good stuff. I see Toronto is playing the "Monster". Any chance Torts is playing Biron so the Leafs won't play Giguerre?

  3. interesting thought. possible since monster gets nervous playing his idol. my money is on torts thinking we play better team D when we dont rely on Hank (see many Vally games) and that giving Hank back to back this weekend will focus him and get him sharper, more in rythm

  4. agree it is more about sending a message to the club. also dont think when your number 1 is hank you should worry about avoiding anyone else's number 1 guy.

  5. I wasn't worried about the match up for Hanks sake. Just thought that our offense would have a better chance against the "Monster".