Who Wins the 2014 Stanley Cup?

New York Rangers

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Game Day: The Rangers Need Offense, And They Need It Now
The porous Toronto Maple Leafs could be just the anecdote the Rangers need...


Leaders Marian Gaborik and Chris Drury (above) must start contributing


Leaders Marian Gaborik and Chris Drury (above) must start contributing

Leafs @ Rangers

Madison Square Garden, 7:00 p.m. Wednesday

Rangers record: 26-18-3

Leafs record: 18-21-5

 

Most seasons a win over the league leading team would be enough for a week, if not a month.  But this season is different, and even though the Rangers bested the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, weekend losses to Montreal and Philadelphia overshadowed the team’s impressive victory.

Thanks to an anemic offense, the Rangers success has slowed in recent weeks.  The Blueshirts have yet to score more than three goals in a game in 2011 and desperately need Ryan Callahan’s return to inject life into the team.  Surprising sources in Mats Zuccarello, Derek Stepan, and Wojtek Wolski have provided what little scoring the team has received of late, but the offensive depth that was so vital to the team’s success early in the year has disappeared.  Marian Gaborik is mired in possibly the worst slump of his career and fellow $7 million player Chris Drury has yet to score a goal this season.  The strong offensive starts by Ruslan Fedotenko, Brian Boyle, Artem Anisimov, and Brandon Dubinsky have slowed to a crawl of late, and suddenly there is real cause for concern in the Big Apple.  The Blueshirts must find a way to produce more offense, but with Vinny Prospal possibly done for the year and Alex Frolov already on the shelf, the only aid they’ll be getting is from Callahan’s return.  The right winger will undoubtedly have a huge impact on the team when he returns to the lineup, but even with Callahan the Rangers will need their forwards to pick up their play.  No matter what line combinations Coach John Tortorella has tried, nothing has worked lately.

Which makes tomorrow’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs crucial, and possibly a crossroads for the 2010-11 season.  Toronto is ranked 20th in goals against and 26th on the penalty kill, so if there’s any team that the Blueshirts can bust out against, it’s the Maple Leafs.  The Blueshirts are two for their last 32 on the man advantage and could really use a couple power play goals.  They are in dire need of a boost in confidence through results on the scoresheet and they must get them tomorrow night. 

Am I putting too much stock in one game?  Probably.  But the Rangers have the chance to get on a roll tomorrow against the Maple Leafs and then against another weak defensive team on Thursday in the Carolina Hurricanes and Saturday against the Atlanta Thrashers.  They might struggle against Washington on Monday, but then they face the woeful Florida Panthers.  After that, they’ve got an awfully tough stretch ahead with games against Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Montreal, Detroit, Atlanta, Pittsburgh again, Los Angeles, the Devils again, Philly, Carolina, Washington, and Tampa Bay.  Yes, the month of February could be a tough one for the Blueshirts, so they need to pick up some points, in the standings and on the scoreboard, now before that tough slate begins.  If they don’t, the Rangers’ once sure playoff hopes could be in jeopardy.

Posted by Kevin Baumer | January 18, 2011 at 08:41 pm
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New York Rangers VS San Jose Sharks
Sunday, October 19, 2014

  1 2 3 OT F
Rangers 0 3 1 - 4
Sharks 0 0 0 - 0








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