Game Twenty-Six, the Pittsburgh Penguins at the New York Rangers
Are you still digesting Saturday night's loss? Yeah, me too. That one certainly didn't go down easy. Tonight the Rangers lock horns with Sidney Crosby (who apparently is pretty good) and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins are banged up, but I've watched enough David Attenborough documentaries to know that a wounded penguin is ten times more dangerous than a tiger with a shotgun for a tail and two small black holes for eyes. The Penguins recently acquired the best name in hockey, Rob Klinkhammer, to add some more physicality and depth into their lineup but other than that they are very much the same team we've been hearing about all season, minus some of the injuries in their lineup.
The Penguins are currently tied with the New York Islanders as the top two teams of the Metropolitan Division, so when it comes to games in December, it really doesn't get any bigger or more important than this for the Blueshirts. The Rangers watched a two goal lead get away from them in Detroit on Saturday night and then, more or less, they just fell apart like an Eiffel Tower made of wishes, wet toilet paper, and q-tips in a strong wind. The Rangers need to bring their best tonight and get a big home win before starting their four game road trip in Western Canada and Carolina. Here's hoping they don't start that road trip on a three game skid.
The New York Rangers' December Schedule
12/1 Tampa Bay at the Rangers, 7:00(loss) 12/6 Rangers at Detroit, 7:00(loss)12/8 Penguins at Rangers, 7:00
12/13 Rangers at Vancouver, 10:00
12/14 Rangers at Edmonton, 9:30
12/16 Rangers at Calgary, 9:00
12/20 Rangers at Carolina, 7:00
12/21 Carolina at Rangers, 7:00
12/23 Capitals at Rangers, 7:00
12/27 Devils at Rangers, 7:00
12/29 Rangers at Dallas, 8:30
12/31 Rangers at Florida, 6:00
Mike's Player to Watch: Dan Boyle
Why is Dan Boyle my player to watch in this game? Because I want to see more out of him, especially on the man advantage and when it comes to generating offense from the Rangers' blue line. Boyle is, in my opinion, the best offensive defenseman the Rangers have had on their blue line since Michael Del Zotto's rookie season, and before that it's hard to think of a big name that doesn't rhyme with Gryun Yeetch. Boyle has two goals this season but has been struggling with staying healthy, which is rather troubling considering that we have him under contract until the end of next season.
Boyle needs to be strong in his own zone tonight against the Penguins as one of the veterans and leaders of this team and needs to find a way to create an attack out of the Rangers' own zone with his ability to move the puck and send forwards into the offensive zone with speed. The Rangers need A LOT more of that in their attack and Boyle is one of the very few defensemen on the team that is capable of making that happen. It's time we saw some more of it and it would be great to see it against the Penguins tonight.
Let's go Rangers! Enjoy the game and the thread
Have a great week guys and gals, see you in Saturday's game thread against the Canucks.