Game Twenty-Two, the New York Rangers at the Philadelphia Flyers
Time for some afternoon hockey! Tonight the Rangers go on the road to start a two-game home and home series against the Flyers. When is the last time the Rangers played back-to-back afternoon games? Bizarre stuff, but I'm not complaining. Time to enjoy some hockey with a turkey sandwich and microwaved mashed potatoes. The Rangers beat the Flyers on the 19th and are looking to return to their winning ways after being dropped by Ryan Callahan (now an official Ranger killer) and the Lightning on Wednesday night.
The Flyers are 8-10-3 and are 3 points behind the Rangers. Obviously these divisional games always mean more for the Rangers and coming away with some points over the next two days is a MUST for the Blueshirts who need to start pulling away from being a .500 hockey club as November comes to a close. With the Penguins and Islanders playing great hockey, the Rangers need to start finding a groove and elevating their game and that has to start with more discipline, more consistency on the power play, offensive contribution throughout the lineup, and better play in their own end. Ryan McDonagh is nearing a return to the Blueshirts' lineup and, to be honest, it can't come soon enough. I think we've all seen enough of what the back line looks like without the Rangers captain back there.
The New York Rangers' November Schedule
Jets at Rangers, 7:00 PM 11/1(SO loss.) Blues at Rangers, 7:00 PM 11/3(SO loss.) Red Wings at Rangers, 8:00 PM 11/5(Win.) Rangers at Maple Leafs, 7:00 PM 11/8(loss.) Oilers at Rangers, 6:00 PM 11/9(loss... dear god, how?) Penguins at Rangers, 7:00 PM 11/11(Win!!!) Avalanche at Rangers, 7:00 PM 11/13(SO loss.) Rangers at Penguins, 7:00 PM 11/15(SO loss.) Lightning at Rangers, 7:00 PM 11/17(loss.) Flyers at Rangers, 8:00 PM 11/19(Win.) Rangers at Sabres, 7:00 PM 11/21(rescheduled.) Canadiens at Rangers, 7:00 PM 11/23(Win.) Rangers at Lightning, 7:30 PM 11/26(loss.)Rangers at Flyers, 1:00 PM 11/28
Flyers at Rangers, 1:00 PM 11/29
Mike's Player to Watch: Derek Stepan
Since returning to the Rangers lineup after an injury in training camp, Derek Stepan has been nearly a point per game player. In the Rangers' loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Stepan set up Dan Boyle for his first goal and point as a Ranger on the power play and is slowly starting to find his game and show flashes of the player that most of us were very comfortable calling our first line center for the foreseeable future. Look for Stepan to continue his strong play tonight against Claude Giroux and the Flyers and to find his way into the box score again. The Rangers need him to stay healthy and stay hot.
Let's go Rangers! Enjoy the game and the thread.
Hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving and are avoiding the madness of Black Friday.