Saturday, December 4, 2010

New York Rangers Look For Third Straight Against Ottawa Sunday

The Rangers are looking to build on their back to back wins against the Islanders which while not pretty they were effective enough to get the four points they needed.  Playing against Ottawa might be a similar scenario as the Senators have underachieved but they also have talent to bite you if you do not take them seriously for an entire game.  It will be interesting to see which version of the Rangers comes to play tomorrow in terms of the run and gun lax defensive style that was Thursday night’s tilt or the lock it down defensive effort they put in on Friday.  For me the effort on Friday is more typical of how the Rangers are going to have to play to continue to be successful.

Offensively the Rangers will be looking to see if the Avery, Christensen, Gaborik combination can repeat their dominant game of Thursday or if it was a fluke performance.  The line did not get much of a chance to get anything going against the Islanders in the second game because Avery spent much of the night in the penalty box.  On the good side Erik Christensen did play a strong game in both games and is battling more than I have seen him battle in his time with the Rangers.  This line will look to get back to being tough on the puck, cycling and passing to one another in order to create chances.

Brandon Dubinsky will look to build off a much better performance in game two of the Islander back-to-back as will Artem Anisimov who played his best game in a little while and was rewarded with more minutes as the game went on.  It will be interesting to see if Anisimov plays well again at which player’s expense will his minutes come or will it just mean that Gaborik gets even more double shifts instead of someone like Stepan having his spot taken.

Brandon Prust is said to be available for the game after missing practice with a sore shoulder that looks to have been bothering him for a little while now.  Prust plays such a hard, physical game that these kind of injuries are expected to happen, but also make it hard for him to heal because he is always banging into someone.  I do not expect him to take any time off, but maybe he should cut down on the fighting in the meantime.
Defensively the Rangers played a much better defensive game the second time against the Islanders and it was their best defenders, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi who picked up their games the most.  Overall the team would only allow 17 shots to be fired on Lundqvist and while I do not expect them to manage that again against a more talented club, I do expect them to battle and clear the crease for Henrik who should be the starter.

For the Senators aside from a 7-2 stretch this has been a dismal season for the hockey club.  They have inconsistent play from just about every one of their best players and trade rumors surrounding just about everyone except Alfredsson.  The Senators are 2-7-1 in their last ten and will be coming off a shootout loss tonight to play late afternoon tomorrow.  Dangerous players are there in Alfredsson, Spezza, Kovalev, Gonchar and Karlsson but when you are 27th in scoring and 25th in defense you must be beaten.

New York (12-10-1) at Ottawa Senators (11-14-2) does not include Buffalo result

Key Opposition Player: Daniel Alfredsson (8-10-18)

Rangers Lineup:
Sean Avery - Erik Christensen – Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
Ruslan Fedotenko – Brian Boyle – Brandon Prust
Alex Frolov – Artem Anisimov –Derek Boogaard

Marc Staal -Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto – Michal Rozsival
Steve Eminger – Michael Sauer


Prediction: Rangers 3-1