Monday, November 22, 2010

Pregame: New York Rangers Looking For Two Straight Wins Host Calgary Flames, 11/22/2010

New York (11-9-1) vs Calgary (8-10-1)

Key Opposition Player: Jarome Iginla (8-8-16)

Rangers Lineup:

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

Staal - Girardi
Del Zotto - Eminger
Gilroy - Sauer


The New York Rangers will take the ice tonight looking to build on the impressive outing they had Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild in their 5-2 victory.  Overall the Rangers through the rollercoaster early season sit 11-9-1 and would love to build some consistency both in play and results, but they will have to remember to do that one game at a time.  Tonight on paper appears to be a game the Rangers should win because of the Flames general struggles, the fact the Flames played last night and not only the fact they blew a 2 goal lead in the third vs Detroit, but how.  Problem is these are the Rangers and the games that seem like locks because of a weaker opponent are the ones they fail to show up to play.  If this team wants to be a good team, a playoff caliber team, you have to beat the teams you are supposed to and hold your own against the better ones.  Another part of that equation is to create a home ice advantage which at 4-6-1 the Rangers have failed to do so far.

This morning we found out that it would be Martin Biron in net for Henrik Lundqvist and this move is a combination of giving Lundqvist time to get his game right and rewarding Biron for his good play.  The lines and D-pairs are expected to stay the same at least to start, but with Tortorella that doesn’t mean much one the puck drops.  For the Rangers I will be watching the Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan line as their play has slipped the past week even to the point that Anisimov was replaced by Christensen on Saturday.  I will also be watching Brandon Prust as he will be facing the team that traded him to New York on February 1, 2010.  Prust is still bothered by the charley horse he originally sustained Friday in Colorado but if it didn’t hold him out against Minnesota the next night you can bet he is in there and running on adrenaline against the Flames.  I would expect a fight out of Prust tonight, though not sure who, maybe Tim Jackman?

Calgary as always begins and ends with Jarome Iginla who has been the subject of many trade rumors of late and lucky for the Rangers has found his game after a horrid start.  Iginla has six points in his last two and eight points in his last four, accounting for half of season total.  Everyone in Calgary is on the hot seat for their slow start and they have already started making moves by trading Ian White to Carolina last week.  Olli Jokinen is going to miss tonight’s game while serving a suspension which robs the home fans a chance to boo him but saves the TV audience from having to watch replays of him missing in the final game last year versus the Flyers.

Pregame Thought: Thank you Calgary and Olli Jokinen for being the reasons that the Rangers get to watch Brandon Prust wear a Rangers sweater.

Prediction: Rangers 3-2 (Prust, Gaborik, Callahan)