Game Forty, the New York Rangers at the Boston Bruins
Well, I don't know about you but I still have a bad taste in my mouth about the lack of effort from the Rangers on the 13th against the Islanders. The Rangers simply couldn't find a way to work through and around the Islanders' system. They were punished for their turnovers, mistakes, and not being able to establish possession outside of their own zone. They looked flat and befuddled by the Islanders. Which was a peculiar thing to witness considering that is the kind of treatment the Rangers have been giving almost all of their opponents lately. Our own medicine tasted quite ooky. I did not like it.
Tonight the Rangers look to right the ship against the Boston Bruins. Boston, once the unchallenged powerhouse of their division, is now in fourth place behind the Bolts, Habs, and Red Wings in the Atlantic. The Bruins don't allow many goals but they also don't score many goals. They depend largely on their goaltender, defense, and style of play to help them eke out wins in tight games, much like they have done in recent memories. The Bruins are in the middle of the pack in almost all of the noteworthy team stats, which is not a great sign for a team that many consider to be a power in the East. Their special teams are largely unremarkable, although they are an elite face off team and we just saw the Rangers struggle mightily against the Islanders who were dominant on the face off dot. Will that be a story line again tonight at TD Garden? Let's hope not.
The New York Rangers' January Schedule
1/3 Sabres at Rangers, 7:00(win.) 1/7 Rangers at Ducks, 10:30(win.) 1/8 Rangers at Kings, 10:30(win.) 1/10 Rangers at Sharks, 10:00(win.) 1/13 Islanders at Rangers, 7:00(loss.)
1/15 Rangers at Bruins, 7:00
1/16 Rangers at Blue Jackets, 7:00
1/18 Rangers at Penguins, 12:30
1/20 Senators at Rangers, 7:00
1/27 Rangers at Islanders, 7:00
1/29 Canadiens at Rangers, 7:00
1/31 Hurricanes at Rangers, 7:00
Mike's Player to Watch: Kevin Hayes
Hayes is the Rangers' weakest face off man by leaps and bounds. Thankfully he has a lot of other skills with and without the puck that makes it easy to forgive that glaring deficiency in his game as a center. The size and strength of the Bruins and their quality down the middle will be a big test for Hayes and the rest of the Rangers centers. Kevin Hayes hasn't scored since December 29th against the Stars. He's picked up two assists in his last five games but the Rangers are going to need him to find some more offense now that we are one game away from the halfway point of the season. The depth scoring has to start scoring more often and Hayes has all the tools to help make that happen. Look for Hayes to have a noteworthy game tonight on the road against the Bruins.
Hope you enjoy tonight's game! LGR!