Donald Brashear said yesterday that he is healthy and ready to go, which is good, his services may very well be required tonight. The Leafs have shown to be only marginally more talented than the Charlestown Chiefs, and their Ned Braden is out until next month (Phil Kessel).
It will be interesting to see if the Rangers look for a little payback tonight after the Leafs took a few runs at Henrik Lundqvist in the Rangers 7-2 drubbing of the Leafs at Madison Square Garden Monday night. Like I said the other day, hockey players have very long memories on things like that.
The Rangers currently rank 3rd defensively, not bad for a team that was supposed to be weak on the blue line. We all know there is still plenty of room for improvement, but you can't ask for much more than that from a defense that is so young.
The Rangers can help out some of their brethren from the past by continuing the Leafs losing ways. The 1943-44 Rangers hold the record for losing the most games at the beginning of the season with eleven. The Leafs can hit that mark on Halloween provided their losses continue to mount.
The Rangers have posted a record of 32-16-8 against Original Six teams since the 2005-06 season, including 9-6-2 vs. Toronto
Looks like we may see a line of Avery-Anisimov-Kotalik tonight, I think those three will be fun to watch, and we can call them the "AAK" line.
Everyone has been talking about Vinny Prospal, Michael Del Zotto, and of course Marian Gaborik, but have you noticed Brandon Dubinsky very quietly has 6 points (2G 4A) already? He's also won almost 52% of his face-offs, only Prospal has been better. Dubi is also tied with Gaborik for tops on the team in plus/minus at +7, if you put any faith in that stat, I know some of you do, and some of you don't.
If you don't put any faith in that stat, then you won't care about this either: only Lisin and Brashear are minuses.
We didn't make much of a big deal out of this, and we should have: congrats to Prospal on his 200th goal, and we wish you many, many, many more. So far he is (as I predicted) the steal of free agency.
The Rangers will have an optional skate at 11:30 this morning at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, if there are any developments we will have them for you.
Finally, here is a video on Michael Del Zotto from NHL Network Online. John Tortorella also talks about MDZ in this video, and it's about as close to "glowing" about a player as I think you will ever see from him: