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New York Rangers Game Thread: 3/2, Predators at Rangers

Deadline day hockey? I can't take this.

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Game Sixty-Two, the Nashville Predators at the New York Rangers
Record: 38-17-6
Opponent: 41-15-7
Buy Rangers Tickets! | Predators vs Rangers coverage | On the Forecheck

Tonight the Keith Yandle era begins for the Rangers and the cost of it, much to the chagrin of the Garden Faithful, is that the Anthony Duclair era is over before it even got a chance to truly start. The Rangers sold an immense part of the future success of the team to acquire Yandle and all of their moves yesterday point to the fact that the Rangers (and Glen Sather) want to win now. As it turns out, the visiting team tonight is exactly the kind of team that the Rangers will have to beat if they want to end up holding the Stanley Cup in the spring. Yes, the Rangers are actually playing a hockey game tonight on deadline day, just to add to the madness.

The Nashville Predators are just about as good as it gets in the NHL this year. They are, much like the Rangers, an elite offensive and defensive team and have a roster that is built to make some noise in the playoffs this year if it can stay healthy. The last time these two teams played the Rangers lost 3-2 in a game where the Predators got two goals from their defenseman and the game winning goal came with just over seven minutes left in regulation from the stick of Mike Ribeiro. At first glance the Predators lineup doesn't strike much fear into anyone, but the way they play the game and the kind of magic they've been getting out of their top line this year is a lot more than them catching teams by surprise. This is an elite hockey team and they will give the Rangers all they can handle tonight at the Garden.

What will the Rangers look like tonight after the blockbuster trade? Honestly, this could be one of those games where we throw out the results and chalk it up to the team being in a bit of disarray after yesterday's deal or we could see Yandle and the Rangers make a statement tonight against an outstanding visiting opponent. Here's hoping that we get to see the latter... and about 8 power play goals that Yandle is a catalyst for. That'd be nice.

Take a moment to look at the schedule that lies ahead for the Blueshirts. Look at the teams they are playing on this brutal five-game road trip that ends, mercifully, in Buffalo on the 14th. The Rangers just got a whole heck of a lot better than they were 48 hours ago by acquiring Keith Yandle and that is probably a good thing because it seems that starting with tonight's contest against Pekka Rinne and the Predators, they are going up against the best of the best until nearly the halfway point of the month. Yikes. It's time for this team to kick it into gear.

The New York Rangers' March Schedule

3/2, Predators at Rangers, 7:00
3/4, Rangers at Red Wings, 8:00
3/8, Rangers at Blackhawks, 7:30
3/10, Rangers at Islanders, 7:00
3/11 Rangers at Capitals, 8:00
3/14, Rangers at Sabres, 7:00
3/15, Panthers at Rangers, 5:00
3/18, Blackhawks at Rangers, 8:00
3/21, Rangers at Hurricanes, 7:00
3/22, Ducks at Rangers, 7:30
3/24, Kings at Rangers, 7:00
3/26, Rangers at Senators, 7:00
3/28, Rangers at Bruins, 1:00
3/29, Capitals at Rangers, 3:00
3/31, Rangers at Jets, 8:00

Mike's Player to Watch: Keith Yandle

Do I really have to explain why?

Let's go Rangers. Drop the puck.