Friday, November 5, 2010

Rangers at Devils Pregame 11/5/2010

Rangers (6-5-1) at New Jersey (4-9-1)
Key Opposing Player: Ilya Kovalchuk (3-5-8)

Staal - Rozsival
Del Zotto - Girardi


The Rangers will look to get back on a winning track tonight against the struggling and injury depleted Devils.  The effort against New Jersey despite all their injuries will need to be significantly better than it was last night in the game against Philadelphia.  The Rangers did very little 5 on 5 in terms of their fore-check and cycle against the Flyers and will need to get back to that style of game if they want to get 2 points out of the contest.
Having played once earlier this season the familiarity will be there and the Rangers will have to play similar to the first two periods of the game while the Devils will seek to play the 3rd period again.  For the Rangers the formula for success is simple in that they must play fundamentally sound hockey and staying out of the penalty box is as big a key to that as any.  The Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan line will have to have a much better outing and bigger impact on this game then they were able to impose against the Flyers.  The fact that the top line really never got going trickled down to the other lines with only Christensen and Grachev playing effective games up front.

The Ranger D will also need to be better specifically the top two left defenders in Marc Staal and Michael Del Zotto.  Both have struggled of late in the defensive end and the Rangers need both to be significantly better in protecting their own end.  In my opinion a large part of the defensive struggles for each is thinking offense too much and trying to do too much with the puck.  If they simplify the game and focus on basic plays, and positioning the overall defense will improve.

The Devils have been hit hard by injuries so far this season with none bigger than that of Zach Parise being out 3 months after his knee injury.  Even with so many injuries the Devils have enough capable players that they can be very dangerous if the Rangers do not bring their best effort on the evening.  The subplots with Clarkson, Kovalchuk, Brodeur and Avery will always be somewhat entertaining and maybe it will get Avery going after an invisible performance against Philly.  The Rangers are going to have to be the aggressor and not be pushed around if they expect to walk out of the Rock with a W.

Prediction 3-1 Rangers (Anisimov, Dubinsky, Grachev goals)