NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 27: Joffrey Lupul #19 of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks on as Michael Del Zotto #4 of the New York Rangers celebrates his goal with teammates during the third period at Madison Square Garden on October 27, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
There have already been a plethora of ups and downs for the New York Rangers this year, as the team tries to find some consistency in their game.
The Rangers play at 3 p.m. today guys, so here are some of the keys to this afternoon's matchup with the Ottawa Senators.
Possess The Puck: One of the biggest problems the Rangers have had so far this year is puck possession. Most of the offensive chances have come from fast breaks and one-on-one opportunities, rather then the team working the puck around and tying to find some shooting lanes. This offense runs through Brad Richards now, and there was going to be a learning curve between him and Marian Gaborik (along with the rest of the team), but players like Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky need to step up their possession as well.
Getting Some Momentum: The Rangers haven't had too much momentum this year in terms of building on previous wins. This home stand is an opportunity to change that. The Rangers took a tough loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, thanks to some questionable waved off calls. Hopefully that causes the team to come out guns blazing this afternoon, as the Rangers look for their first win in New York.
Shut Down Spezza: Jason Spezza is a dynamic forward that typically gets off to quick starts in the NHL. He has 13 points in his first 10 games, and has been very dangerous for Ottawa thus far. With Michael Sauer back, however, the Rangers have more tools at their disposal on defense to shut down the Senators' top line.
Start Having Fun Again: The team looks a little fatigued mentally at their slow start, and that's OK. I want the Rangers to be upset they have gotten off to a much slower start than what was expected. But the group isn't going to get anywhere if they don't start having fun again. A win at home today would do quite a bit to get this team back on the right track.