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Rangers News and Notes: GameDay Edition

Tonight the New York Rangers will look to extend their six game winning streak to seven against the (still) win-less Toronto Maple Leafs. So for your daily fill here is the days news and notes:

For starters Steve Zipay speculates that Henrik Lundqvist will get the nod tonight:

The coach didn't say it publicly, but Henrik Lundqvist (5-1, 2.35 GAA, .924 save percentage) is expected to start in goal....LW Donald Brashear (soreness), who didn’t play against the Ducks, said he felt "fantastic" and is ready to play…Judging by the combinations in practice, RW Ales Kotalik (3-4-7 and plus-1) will move from the fourth line to the third line with C Artem Anisimov and LW Sean Avery to get some well-deserved even-strength minutes…Either Aaron Voros or Enver Lisin will be a healthy scratch. My guess? Voros.

Good for Kotalik to get moved to the third line, if anyone on this team deserves it it's him; plus I am really excited for an Artem Anisimov, Ales Kotalikand Sean Avery line. That looks like it's a good combination of speed, skill and defense. Also can't say I hated Aaron Voros's play against the Kings a few days ago, but if i had to chose between him and Donald Brashear I go with Brashear.

Check after the jump for more analysis!

 In that same article up above (here it is again if you're lazy) Steve Zipay also talks about the ammount of penalties that the Rangers have been taking:

But the Rangers are walking on a high wire with penalties.During the 4-2 defeat of the Ducks on Wednesday, the Rangers were called for eight penalties, including seven straight in a stretch from 2:17 of the second period to 19:24 of the third. In three of the seven games, they’ve committed eight or more penalties.

They're averaging 15 minutes a game in the box, the 10th highest in the league, and because Tortorella uses many of his top players on the penalty-kill units, the extra ice time is wearing them down for even-strength play.

"I’m concerned about the penalties, our discipline, that’s all," said Tortorella, "We’ve taken some offensive zone penalties, which usually end up in the back of the net. That’s what I’m concerned about: losing the flow of the game by penalties, especially in the third period. It comes down to the dynamics of the team." The Rangers have committed 13 of their 42 penalties in the final 20 minutes.

I know that Jim and I joke often about us not missing Blair Betts, since the penalty kill has been so good, but no matter who you have killing penalties it will catch up to you if you continue taking 8 or more a game. The penalty kill has been a strong point so far--mainly because Lundqvist has been so good--but the Rangers could have easily lost many of those games due to their time in the box. Play smarter boys, play smarter.

Our good friend Andrew Gross makes asome great points about the power play:

For all the talk about how good Marian Gaborik - who has a seven-game point streak - has been and what a difference he’s made both five-on-five and on the power play (not to mention the penalty kill), it’s been the addition of Gilroy and fellow rookie Michael Del Zotto, 19, to the blue line corps that’s perhaps had the biggest impact because their offensive-minded play allows the Rangers to play the way coach John Tortorella wants them to play. And their ability to play the power play has kept Tortorella from having to use Michal Rozsival or Wade Redden there. Last season, Rozsival showed a reluctance to shoot and Tortorella said today keeping those two off the power play has helped the other parts of their game.

I have been saying all along--especially on the radio show--that Michael Del Zotto and Matt Gilroy both fit John Tortorellas run-and-gun system. Especially Del Zotto who just continues to show his confort in the system. I would bet my bottom dollar that when the decision has to be made it will be determined that Del Zotto is here to stay--with 2 goals and 5 assists in seven games I really don't think it's much of a decision. \

Andrew Gross is also reporting that Donal Brashear is back to normal with his "injury:"

Donald Brashear was back on the ice after missing Wednesday’s game (thought he participated in the morning skate) and also Tuesday’s practice. Brashear, described as experiencing soreness, said he was good to go and that sometimes it’s just good to take a break and rest your body. He was back on the fourth line left wing along with center Brian Boyle with Enver Lisin and Aaron Voros rotating on right wing. One of those two will likely be scratched, it just depends whether John Tortorella wants a more physical player or a better skater against the bruising Maple Leafs. Wouldn’t be surprised at all, however, to see Lisin remain in the lineup.

I agree that we need to have a big body like Brashear in the line-up against the Leafs. Zipay has been calling this upcoming game "a war" for about a week now and I have to agree. The Leafs have yet to get a win, Brian Burke is probably looking for a way to shake things up, and they are coming down with injuries. A perfect storm for running Lundqvist and taking the body more. Brashear was brought here to defend this team in situations like this, might as well use him.

Tonight is going to be a big one. Here are the links to the game page and Pension Plan Puppets if you want them. See you in the open thread tonight guys, make sure you are there!

Rangers vs Maple Leafs coverage

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