How far will the Rangers get this season?

Rangers Must Find A Way With Patchwork Defense

The Rangers hope that Derek Stepan will click with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik

The Rangers hope that Derek Stepan will click with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik

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 card. 

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 Brandon Prust.

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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2011-2012 season:

Eastern Conference Preview > (10/3/11)

Western Conference Preview > (10/4/11)

Experts Predict Where The Rangers Will Finish > (10/5/11)

NY Rangers Season Preview > (10/5/11)

Rangers Claim Jeff Woywitka Off Waivers > (10/6/11) 

“The King” Vs. The Kings In Season-Opener > (10/7/11)

Penalties Doom Rangers In OT Loss To Kings > (10/7/11)

To Duck Anaheim, Rangers Must Stay Out Of The Box > (10/7/11)

No Offense, But Rangers Pick Up Another Point > (10/8/11)

Tim Erixon Will Stick Around For The Time Being > (10/9/11)

Lessons Learned: Two Games In The Books > (10/10/11)

Time To Move Stepan To First-Line Left Wing > (10/10/11)

Rangers Show Early Improvement With Faceoffs > (10/11/11)

Missing Vinny > (10/13/11)

Rangers Must Find A Way With Patchwork Defense > (10/14/11)



Click here for our full 2011-2012 Season Archive >

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Posted by Kevin Baumer | October 14, 2011 at 08:23 pm

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New York Rangers VS Chicago Blackhawks
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

  1 2 3 OT F
Rangers 3 0 0 - 3
Blackhawks 1 1 0 - 2

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