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Sunday, The Real Test for NYR

Posted By Adam Gavriel On Mar 5 2011 @ 1:10 pm In New York Rangers | No Comments

That win was nice…But…

The real test is tomorrow afternoon. Good to get some momentum going, some thoughts here…

You want to know why the Rangers won that game last night? Look no further than the new core.

The Stepan line was incredible, and now we’re all beginning to see how much of a gamer Derek Stepan is. Drury told the media that in close games, or when a huge win is necessary to keep an eye on Derek Stepan. Stepan was able to pick up the primary assist on the game winning goal by Zuccarello, as well as picking up the 4th goal off a great pass from Wolski to spring him for the breakaway. Best part about that Stepan goal was Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record reporting that it was scored on a 2 on 1. Now THAT’S hockey analysis folks.

Sidebar: You know it’s funny. I used to be all about reading the blogs after every game to see the post-game, keeping a blind eye to what I was actually reading. Today for example from http://blogs.northjersey.com/blogs/rangerrants/ there is nothing there but quotes. No analysis. You’d have no idea what actually went on during the game. Now obviously quotes are useful, but anyone with a media pass around their neck can do that. Spector on the other hand over at http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/rangers is a little more helpful because he posts the post-game and pre-game press conferences with Tortorella that he records, but you can find all of that at the Rangers main website.

I mean, if they’re not going to analyze but just spit quotes out that they have written down on their notepads, you’d think they’d be able to provide something else. At least Brooksie is good to look for with all things CBA and NHL related.

Sorry, just frustration, back to the game…

Eminger stepped back into the lineup and played like he hadn’t missed a beat paired with new guy Bryan McCabe. Both finished +3 on the night while Eminger added an assist in his 400th NHL game.

Even though the power play faltered and went 0-4 you can’t say there’s not an noticeable difference between this power play and the ones before McCabe. I’ve stressed on the blog time and time again that adding a point shot opens up things down low for the forwards and that’s what we’re seeing now. However what was also interesting to note, on the Rangers third power play that they got with the third period winding down, about 4 minutes to go, McCabe was NOT part of the first 5 players that hit the ice. Torts losing patience or maybe McCabe wasn’t ready to hit the ice? Wasn’t sure.

The Dubinsky – Anisimov – Callahan line is really playing some good hard hockey. It’s only a matter of time before Dubi and Cally get themselves back on the scoresheet if they keep grinding like they are. IT’s good hard hockey we’re seeing from them. They played 20:50 – 17:29 – 19:02 last night. Anisimov got the Rangers third goal just 12 seconds after the Zuccarello game winner with a fancy quick rush up the ice and a great fininsh. Artie now has 15 goals on the season, expect him to hit 20 as he begins to heat up. With Anisimov however right now it’s much more than just stats. Putting him with Dubinsky and Callahan has helped his game tremendously all over the ice. He’s much smarter now in the neutral and defensive zones compared to earlier this season and his two-way hockey is becoming a great asset. He’s developing quite nicely with the Rangers as he has yet to miss an NHL game. He played all 82 last season and all 67 this season. He’s developing quite nicely into a 2nd line center.

The Avery – Christensen – Prospal line had a good showing last night. With Prospal kicking things off firing a screened shot passed Anderson on the near side. Avery logged over 10 minutes for the first time in 6 games and recorded an assist, giving up points in back to back games. Christensen still makes my blood boil.

With these three lines in addition to the Boyle line the Rangers have finally found themselves some good depth again, the depth that we were seeing at the beginning of the season. And when Gabby steps back into the lineup it’s only going to get better.

But the real test for the Rangers comes tomorrow when they face the Flyers in a Sunday home game, an afternoon game, on NBC. This has all the makings of a disastrous loss. Rangers coming off a big road win, looking to take the momentum to home ice. It’s an afternoon game, on NBC, and it’s the Flyers. Let’s let the records do the talking here.

VS Flyers: 0-4

In 12:30 games: 0-1 ( a loss to the Flyers)

In games that drop the puck at or before 5 pm: 2-5

On Sunday: 4-6

The Flyers are on top of the east for good reason. They’re a great team with excellent depth and an intelligent coach, they’re tough to beat. To beat them the Rangers are going to need to dictate the game, PLAY THEIR GAME, and grind out a hard two points, and finally beat the Flyers.

Philadelphia is in action today at 1 at home against the Sabres. A big game on the scoreboard for the Rangers, but it pains me to root for the Flyers.

Tomorrow is the real test for this team, the test that will show us if this playoff push is for real. The test that will help the Rangers in their quest to separate them from the 9th spot in the east and get some cushion. Some much needed cushion.

Here’s a shot of today’s standings before the games…RANGERS BACK IN 7TH!

Standings 3/5

Are people still not scared of the Devils?

On the scoreboard today the Rangers need…

A flyers win @ home over the Sabres

And a Blackhawks win on the road against the Leafs

Enjoy the weekend everyone…huge game tomorrow. As big as it gets.


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