New York Rangers Game Thread: 2/10, Rangers at Leafs
And so the road trip begins and it will begin with a game that the Rangers simply cannot afford to lose against the free-falling Maple Leafs.
Game Fifty-Two, the New York Rangers at the Toronto Maple Leafs
Rangers vs Maple Leafs coverage | Pension Plan Puppets
The Blueshirts have started February with a 2-1-1 record but it feels like all anyone can think about is when Henrik Lundqvist returns from his vascular injury and what is going on with the Rangers' offense. Remember when people other than Rick Nash were scoring goals? Oh, those were the days. On Sunday night the Rangers lost to the Dallas Stars in overtime despite Chris Kreider scoring a power play goal in the last two minutes of the third period to steal a point for his team, but just over a minute into overtime a wrister by Ales Hemsky sent the Garden Faithful home asking themselves what was going on with the team. The next time we'll see the Blueshirts on the Garden ice is on 2/19 against Alain Vigneault's old club; the Vancouver Canucks. Between now and then the Rangers will be taking on three teams in their next three games that are simply not playoff teams. They cannot afford to pick up a lot of points while wearing their road whites this week. Getting a point from the Stars was pretty big, but there isn't a Blueshirts fan that isn't checking the standings everyday to see what the Capitals are doing and just how long the Rangers have to hold on while Hank is gone and while the offense tries to find it's groove again.
I could go into just how bad the Leafs have been, but I doubt that any of you guys and girls aren't already aware of the calamity that is Maple Leafs hockey. Things are pretty bad in Toronto right now, they are one of the teams that is already preparing to do some housecleaning as the trade deadline looms. Their fans are all over them, they've fired their coach, and they know that they have some atrocious contracts that are killing them. However, they still remain focused on one thing right now, and that is winning hockey games. The Rangers have had some very stagnant starts to some of their recent games which is not a good thing considering just how dependent they are on scoring early in games. Let's see what the Rangers can do in Toronto tonight against Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk, James Reimer, and the Maple Leafs. C'mon boys, get it going!
The New York Rangers' February Schedule
2/2 Panthers at the Rangers, 7:00 PM(win.) 2/4 Bruins at the Rangers, 8:00 PM(win.) 2/7 Rangers at the Predators, 3:00 PM(loss.) 2/8 Stars at the Rangers, 5:00 PM(overtime loss.)
2/10 Rangers at the Leafs, 7:30 PM
2/12 Rangers at Avalanche, 9:00 PM
2/14 Rangers at Coyotes, 8:00 PM
2/16 Rangers at Islanders, 7:00 PM
2/19 Canucks at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/20 Rangers at Sabres, 7:00 PM
2/22 Blue Jackets at Rangers, 7:30 PM
2/24 Flames at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/26 Coyotes at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/28 Rangers at Flyers, 8:00 PM
Mike's Player to Watch: Martin St. Louis
He needs to score. I love Marty St. Louis and I made sure to stand behind him in a recent article I wrote for the site, but 12 games without a goal for someone like Marty is just crazy. I don't pretend to know what will turn things around for Martin St. Louis or the Rangers recent offensive struggles but it doesn't take a wizard to know that the Rangers need St. Louis to score in the same way that they need McDonagh to be a big minute-eater or how they need Tanner Glass to get lost on his way to the team's charter plane. I am anticipating a game where St. Louis just breaks out and picks up a couple of points where things turn around for him because he's simply too good to not be a big factor in games. Look for him to get it going tonight against the dessicated Maple Leafs.
Let's go Rangers! Drop the puck.