Monday, November 1, 2010

New York Rangers vs Chicago Blackhawks Pregame

Rangers (5-4-1) at Chicago (7-5-1)
Key Opposing Player: Patrick Sharp (10-5-15)

Staal - Rozsival
Del Zotto - Girardi

(Boogaard appears to be a scratch from morning skate.  Call the defensive change by me a guess that says maybe just maybe Torts talk of wanting Sauer in was genuine and he actually does something about it.)

The good news for the Rangers is that they won on Saturday night to close October at 5-4-1 and head into the brutal November schedule with a positive feeling.  The bad news for the Rangers is that they are going to be at home for the next game.  Oh and that the defending champs, even if revamped to an extent, are going to be there waiting for them doesn’t help all that much.  The Rangers this season are 4-1 on the road as opposed to 1-3-1 at home.  All offseason, especially this preseason, the Rangers yapped about how they had to be better at home and create the home ice advantage in the Garden and yet the results are the same as last season.  

You will hear about how the pressure of the fans makes them tight and they play more relaxed on the road and frankly to me that’s BS as these are professional athletes who if they can’t handle the pressure of their own fans how are they going to survive a playoff game on the road?  I will contend for some Rangers, namely Rozsival that being at home causes some legitimate consternation because each mistake is magnified by those who already don’t like him.  The worst part about this is that if the Rangers played the fundamental bang on the fore-check, cycle in the offensive zone, occasionally clear the crease, aggressive yet fundamental game at home the fans would be insanely rooting them on.

Back to the game and I expect the offensive lines to stay the same lead by the top line once again and the reincarnated version of Brian Boyle heading the second line.  It is about time Frolov contributed to the goal scoring and even though it is said by everyone it is still true.  The 4th line is one for me that makes me think of other things, but as I described this morning so I will leave that one alone. 

On D the Blueshirts will look to build on the improvement in Toronto to which Nick over at RangersTribune asked if they would bring the soft D or the tough D vs Chicago in this one.  My response to that is the Rangers D hasn’t had enough time to do the necessary exercises to fully tighten up their loose nature.  As I said above I am wondering if all Torts talk on Sauer needing to play and wanting to get him in actually manifests in him playing.  I find it hilarious either way that Torts says things like that to the media about wanting to get him in as if someone other than him is the one who is holding him out.

For all the concerns about Chicago and all the offensive players they dealt away in the summer the offense still retained all it’s core guys and some of those guys are producing ridiculously right now.  Patrick Sharp is on back for a career year with 10 goals and 15 points so far; Hossa had 11 in 11 before he got hurt and Kane (11) and Toews (9) will always get theirs.  On D Duncan Keith is playing ridiculous minutes as he is playing 29:10 a game which is up over 2:30 from last year.  Interestingly not sure if intentional of not but Keith has played under 27 minutes in each of the last 3 and his offense has taken off with 1G and 6A in that 3 game stretch.  Seabrook is also at a very high rate just under 26 a game.  For me Turco is the is the concern, but it wasn’t like Niemi blanked guys every night to win them a cup and aside from a few clunkers (Edmonton on 10/29 with 4 goals in a period) Turco has been solid so far.

Prediction Chicago 3 Rangers 1