When: Saturday, October 15, 7:00 p.m.
Opponent: @New York Islanders (2-1-0)
After a long week off the New York Rangers finally return to
action on Saturday in Long Island to visit the up-and-coming Islanders before
the Blueshirts embark on a four-game Western Canada road trip next week.
The Rangers survived their first two games without Marc
Staal, but on Saturday the blueline will face an even greater challenge. Staal is still no closer to a return and the
team will also be without Mike Sauer, who managed to play through a nagging
shoulder injury last weekend but didn’t practice with the team this week.
In his stead, newly acquired defenseman Jeff Woywitka will
make his Rangers’ debut. Woywitka will
wear No. 6 and be paired with Steve Eminger, a tandem that actually has played
together at the World Junior Championships. The top pairing of Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh could push 30 minutes
yet again because it’s hard to guess how Woywitka and Eminger will fare and the
young pairing of Michael Del Zotto and Tim Erixon is also a huge wild
The blueline performed admirably against Los Angeles and
Anaheim, but it might be up to goalie Henrik Lundqvist and the offense to carry
the load against the New York Islanders.
The Rangers’ hated rivals managed just one goal in their
first two games, but blossoming star John Tavares led the Islanders to a 5-1
win on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Lundqvist will offer the Rangers a much
greater security blanket than the equally banged up Lightning had in Dwayne
Roloson, but he’ll inevitably need some help from New York’s forwards.
The latest experiment by Coach John Tortorella is to move
sophomore playmaker Derek Stepan up to the first line to play with Brad
Richards and Marian Gaborik.
The hope is that Stepan will be able to hold his own on the
top group and allow the Blueshirts to keep Brandon Dubinsky with Ryan Callahan
and Artem Anisimov and return Ruslan Fedotenko to a line with Brian Boyle and
New York is in dire need of some combinations that click,
because right now the team is having a tough enough time battling injuries on
the blueline so some semblance of cohesiveness up front is a necessity.
The Blueshirts picked up two points against two Western
Conference playoff teams last weekend, but they could really use a victory on
Saturday night. The tilt against the
Islanders will be followed by an extremely difficult matchup against the 2011
Stanley Cup runner-up Vancouver Canucks and three more road games on the other
side of the continent.
- Here is the projected
lineup for Saturday’s game:
Derek Stepan/Brad Richards/Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky/Artem Anisimov/Ryan Callahan
Ruslan Fedotenko/Brian Boyle/Brandon Prust
Mike Rupp/Erik Christensen/Mats Zuccarello
Dan Girardi-Ryan McDonagh
Michael Del Zotto-Tim Erixon
Steve Eminger-Jeff Woywitka
- Wojtek Wolski is expected to sit out again as he recovers
from a groin injury.
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Conference Preview > (10/3/11)
Conference Preview > (10/4/11)
Predict Where The Rangers Will Finish > (10/5/11)
Rangers Season Preview > (10/5/11)
Claim Jeff Woywitka Off Waivers > (10/6/11)
King” Vs. The Kings In Season-Opener > (10/7/11)
Doom Rangers In OT Loss To Kings > (10/7/11)
Duck Anaheim, Rangers Must Stay Out Of The Box > (10/7/11)
Offense, But Rangers Pick Up Another Point > (10/8/11)
Erixon Will Stick Around For The Time Being > (10/9/11)
Learned: Two Games In The Books > (10/10/11)
To Move Stepan To First-Line Left Wing > (10/10/11)
Show Early Improvement With Faceoffs > (10/11/11)
Vinny > (10/13/11)
Rangers Must Find A Way With Patchwork Defense > (10/14/11)
here for our full 2011-2012 Season Archive >
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