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Pregame: Rangers Visit the Leafs, 2/18

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The Rangers hope to turn over a new Leaf in Toronto after falling to the high-scoring Blackhawks at the Garden yesterday.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

RANGERS (32-19-6) | MAPLE LEAFS (20-26-9)

Pension Plan Puppets

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In a wonderful example of the word dichotomy, the Rangers travel to Toronto today to battle the crumbling Maple Leafs after losing to what many analysts and hockey fans agree is the best team in the league yesterday. The dust is still clearing on a nine-player trade that Toronto and Sweet Lou Lamoriello pulled the trigger on to divorce themselves from the contract of former captain Dion Phaneuf who was sent to the Ottawa Senators in a trade that surprised everyone.

Toronto is 3-6-1 in their last ten games and they have dropped both games of the season series against the Blueshirts. We will find out who the Rangers will be starting sometime around 5:30 P.M. when head coach Alain Vigneault addresses the media.

That information won’t be known until Vigneault addresses the media at 5:30 p.m. as there was no Rangers morning skate today after their late night flight to Canada, later than usual for a post-game departure because of the 8:10 p.m. faceoff against the Blackhawks.

Source: Ranger Rants

Antti Raanta is looking to bounce back after a tough game to the Los Angeles Kings in which he surrendered a hat trick to Anze Kopitar. Considering that last night's game started at 8:10 PM, it's likely we'll be seeing the Rangers' Finnish back-up goaltender between the pipes in Toronto tonight.

It goes without saying that this is a game that the Rangers need to win, they can't let games against teams that are clearly tanking get away from them. A quick glance at the standings speaks volumes about just how important it is for the Rangers to win the games they are supposed to win. The Islanders and Devils aren't going anywhere and the Penguins have been surging for weeks now. The Blueshirts might not be able to catch the Capitals, but they can do their damnedest to hold on to second place in their division.

The puck drops in Toronto tonight just after 7:30 PM.

Let's go Rangers.