How far will the Rangers get this season?

Whirlwind Road Trip Concludes In Winnipeg On Monday

Martin Biron will almost certainly make his first start of the season on Monday

Martin Biron will almost certainly make his first start of the season on Monday

When: Monday, October 24, 8:30 p.m.

Opponent: @Winnipeg (2-4-1)



UPDATE: Marty Biron will be in net tonight.  Wojtek Wolski will return to the lineup in place of Erik Christensen and Jeff Woywitka will be back in on defense in place of Brendan Bell. (1:35 p.m.)

EARLIER: Monday night’s game against the Winnipeg Jets marks the end of a two-continent, seven-game road trip that could have gone far worse for the Rangers.

New York’s effort on Saturday night against Edmonton left a lot to be desired, but the Blueshirts have to be reasonably pleased with a .500 road trip that could have crushed the team in the early going.  If the Rangers don’t look past Monday’s game to two weeks of home cooking, they could return to Broadway with a 3-2-2 record and six home games ahead of them.

There’s no doubt that the road weary Rangers have reached their breaking point with the last month of crazy travel, but luckily the final test of the grueling world tour will come against one of the NHL’s weakest teams.

The former Atlanta Thrashers have struggled mightily thus far this season and rank in the bottom third of the league in every major statistical category.  Winnipeg has given up 3.4 goals per game and is ranked 21st on the penalty kill, so if the Blueshirts can improve even a little on Saturday’s woeful effort they should have an opportunity to score some goals.

Even though Henrik Lundqvist is fine after a health scare against Edmonton, New York will surely give Martin Biron his first start of the season so that Lundqvist can have an extended break before playing in front of a raucous Madison Square Garden crowd for Thursday’s home-opener.

Biron is no slouch, but the Rangers must play a much more solid all-around game without Lundqvist behind them to cover up for the team’s multitude of mistakes.

Though the Blueshirts should be content with a 2-2-2 record considering their early-season slate, New York has to be concerned with the troublesome issues that have plagued the team since the start of the year.

The Blueshirts are still dead last in the league on the power play, have continued to take way too many stupid penalties, haven’t generated any offense and haven’t played close to a 60-minute game.

Considering the absurd travel schedule and injuries to key players New York may deserve a bit of a pass for some of those issues, but it is worrisome that this team hasn’t appeared at all like the blue-collar group of a year ago that would have been appalled with the early-season efforts of these Blueshirts.

We’ll get a better read on this club when it returns home and begins to play a normal slate of games, but Monday night’s matchup against Winnipeg represents a golden opportunity for the Blueshirts to emerge from a dismal stretch of play with a winning record.


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)

New Top Line Shows Promise, But Rangers Have No Answer For John Tavares > (10/15/11)

Stats To Chew On > (10/17/11)

Zuccarello's Future On Broadway In Doubt > (10/17/11)

Rangers Must Slow The Sedins, Score Some Goals > (10/18/11)

Henrik Lundqvist Beats The Canucks, With A Little Help In The Third Period > (10/19/11)

All Is Not Well In Ranger-land > (10/19/11)

Another Slow Start Might Not Cut It Against Calgary > (10/19/11)

McDonagh Scores Winner With Just Over 1 Second Remaining In OT >(10/20/11)

The Path To New York Is Clearing Quickly For Carl Hagelin And Ryan Bourque > (10/21/11)

Rangers Seek Third Win In A Row Against Renney’s Crew > (10/22/11)

Crisis Averted As Rangers Are Shutout By Edmonton > (10/23/11)

Whirlwind Road Trip Concludes In Winnipeg On Monday > (10/24/11)


Click here for our full 2011-2012 Season Archive >

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Posted by Kevin Baumer | October 24, 2011 at 01:27 pm

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