The New York Rangers are desperately wanting to have a bounce back effort against the Florida Panthers tonight after they were embarrassed by the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday. The Rangers are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with a 12-10-1 record. They have played very strong in the month of November despite a difficult schedule, and they do not want to ruin that with a string of stinkers down the stretch here. The Panthers are in thirteenth place in the Conference with a record of 9-11-0.
Dubinsky - Stepan - Gaborik
Fedotenko - Boyle - Callahan
Frolov - Anisimov - Prust
Avery - Christensen - White
Staal - Girardi
Del Zotto - Eminger
Sauer - Gilroy
Scratches: Derek Boogaard (sore shoulder), Michal Rozsival (shoulder strain), Chris Drury (broken finger)
Henrik Lundqvist will presumably get another shot in goal tonight after he allowed five goals to the Bolts on Wednesday. Don't expect him to do much better if the defense if front of him decides to play the same careless style of hockey they did in Tampa. Four of those five goals were not Henrik's fault at all, which is why I think John Tortorella decided not to yank him in the second period of that tilt. Lundqvist will play through this, I am not too worried.
The offensive lines you see above are what Torts had on the ice in practice yesterday. I like the fact that Torts is keeping Derek Stepan on the first line. The kid has been playing great and has earned that spot. Gaborik, on the other hand, needs to step up his game here and show that he is a leader on this team. He has been invisible and you can read more on that in this morning's article.
Brian Boyle is second on the team in goals (10) and is being rewarded for that by centering the second line. I actually have liked the way Fedotenko and Boyle have played together and now adding Ryan Callahan to the trio will surely make them a bit more talented all together. Meanwhile, Anisimov and Frolov will drop to the third line with Brandon Prust. It was time to shake things up with those two since, as the coach said, they were becoming "stale".
Scouting the Panthers:
The Panthers are currently on a two game losing streak and have dropped five of their last ten. They haven't exactly been a good team so far this year, which is why they are sitting in the basement with the Devils and Islanders. They do have a winning record on home ice, however, so that could come into play this evening. Either way, this is a game that the Blueshirts have to come away with two points in. They should easily overpower this team and force them into mistakes.