Friday, November 19, 2010

Rangers Collapse Under Weight of Avalanche

The Rangers took the ice tonight looking to rebound from falling short on Wednesday against the Bruins and for one period they looked like they wanted to win the game, but once the second period started this game became one of those you file under the “burn the tape” category.  The down-hill slide started right away as Michael Del Zotto got caught on a pinch allowing Chris Stewart, who was excellent all night, to come down the right side and Dan Girardi dove to take away the pass leaving David Jones all alone in front to put home the rebound to make it 1-0 1:04 into the period. 

Things would only get worse from there as four minutes into the period Ruslan Fedotenko who crosscheck Duchene to the neck/jaw area, but get away without a penalty call, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see him suspended for the play.  Duchene would leave the ice momentarily, but he would come back and make the Rangers pay as at 7:21 of the period and then again at 12:27.  The first goal involving Duchene would come on after another play where Del Zotto was caught out of position and his partner, Steve Eminger, dove on a two on one leaving Duchene to shoot and a wide open Kevin Porter in front to deflect the shot by Lundqvist.  The goal at 12:27 also with Del Zotto and Eminger out there saw Duchene come down the right side and use Del Zotto as a screen as he beat Lundqvist far side with a wrister.  This goal would lead to Henrik being pulled and the night being essentially over.

Practice News: Stepan Gets His Mile High Chance Against Avs - Will Center Frolov Gaborik

As I speculated would be the case in the pregame thoughts all Rangers beat writers are reporting that in today’s practice drills Derek Stepan is working with Alexander Frolov and Marian Gaborik which means tonight is the night he gets his shot to be the top line guy for a full night, which will be the first time in the regular season.  This is a huge opportunity for the 20 year old rookie from Hastings Minnesota and if he can grasp it by the neck it will be great not just for him and the Rangers this season, but bode extremely well for the future of this franchise.  I am not expecting him to go out and get a hat-trick like he did against the Sabres in his debut or any sort of 3 point night every night, I just want to see Stepan play his game which involves some fore-checking, physical play and use his tremendous vision to create chances for the tremendous talent he is going to be surrounded by.  Tonight might be Stepan’s chance at a mile high in altitude, but if he succeeds the Rangers and their fans will be on cloud nine.

Other news:
D Pairs:

Lundqvist in net

How excited are you to see what happens?  Leave it in the comments.

Dylan McIlrath Expected to Return in 7-10 Days

Yesterday came the news of the MRI on Dylan McIlrath's knee and it was greeted with a collective sigh of relief as it was "only" an MCL sprain and none of the more serious possibilities.  Today, Andrew Gross is reporting that with the diagnosis the timetable for McIlrath to be back in the lineup for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL is about a week to ten days, which is phenomenal news for all involved.  Be happy Rangers and Warriors fans Truck is getting out of the service area and back on the road very soon.

Pregame: New York Rangers vs. Colorado Avalanche 11/19/2010

The Rangers are in a familiar place having failed to capitalize on a momentum building win by following it with a loss after all the talk of turning points met the actual next game.  The Rangers followed Monday’s emotional and character building win with a tough loss to the Boston Bruins Wednesday’s.  The key for good teams is how they respond to having a winning streak snapped and the best ones just get right back on another one while mediocre and bad teams will continue the slide down.  Tonight in their quest to respond the Rangers make their longest trip away from the Garden this season as they hit the mountains of Colorado tonight to take on the Avalanche.  The game tonight will see the Rangers striving to continue their excellent road work of the early season which has netted them a 6-2 road mark.  Across the ice will be the Colorado Avalanche who defeated the Rangers earlier this season at MSG 3-1 on the back of 2 Chris Stewart power-play goals and themselves are looking to extend a small two game winning streak that has them sitting at 10-7-1 overall.

Derek Stepan: Top Line, Fourth Line or Hartford? The Decision Is On His Stick

Over the next month the Rangers will likely have to make at least one roster move and two lineup moves and the man who will most determine what happens is Derek Stepan.  Stepan has played mainly on the fourth line since very early in the year, but in each of the last two games he has gotten significant time on the line with Alexander Frolov and Marian Gaborik.  Against Pittsburgh they did not produce much, but against Boston in the third period they produced a goal and there seemed to be some significant chemistry between Stepan and Gaborik.  I expect that tonight against Colorado even if he doesn’t start with Gaborik and Frolov that Stepan will see significant time with them giving him every chance to cement his place ahead of Christensen in the lineup.  The reason that is crucial is because it changes the dynamic of the roster moves that have to made upon the return of Chris Drury in 2-3 weeks and Vinny Prospal in a month-six weeks.

Update: Follow-up from today's practice Stepan Gets Mile High Chance