How far will the Rangers get this season?

Home Cookin' At Last

Mike Sauer will return to the lineup for Thursday's home-opener

Mike Sauer will return to the lineup for Thursday's home-opener

When: Thursday, October 27, 7:00 p.m.

Opponent: vs. Toronto (5-2-1)


After what seemed like an eternity, the New York Rangers will finally skate on the new Madison Square Garden ice on Thursday night in their 2011-2012 home-opener.

The World’s Most Famous Arena has undergone a string of renovations since last season and the version of this year’s Blueshirts that will host the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight is vastly different as well.

New York returns from a long road trip that took the team overseas and around Europe, back to Long Island for a quick visit to the hated New York Islanders and all the way across North America for four games in Western Canada.

Considering the circumstances, the team boasts an impressive 3-2-2 record, but the Rangers haven’t played well despite their respectable place in the standings.

The Blueshirts’ goaltending has been phenomenal and the defense has been strong even without top blueliner Marc Staal, but the offense has been nonexistent and perhaps more troubling - this team hasn’t yet displayed the blue-collar mentality and heart that made it such a great group a year ago.

The hope is that with the road trip out of the way and the return of Mike Sauer to reinforce a patchwork defensive group, New York will rediscover its identity on home ice.

Heading into the season, Toronto would probably have been considered the ideal opponent for the Rangers to open with at home, but the Maple Leafs currently lead the Central division and are one of the NHL’s early-season surprises.

Highly criticized winger Phil Kessel has been the NHL’s MVP thus far and his nine goals and 15 points both lead the league.  Top center Tim Connolly, who was Toronto’s consolation prize after the Leafs missed out on Brad Richards, will also be making his season-debut.

Controlling Toronto’s suddenly high-powered attack won’t be easy, but New York’s defense will certainly be bolstered by the return of Sauer.

The Blueshirts were lucky to get by with a hodgepodge blueline during their road trip, but New York has had a difficult time getting the puck out of its own zone.  A steady hand like Sauer’s will help the defense, but New York’s bigger problem is on offense.   The Blueshirts have yet to outshoot an opponent this season and desperately need contributions from secondary scorers like Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky and Derek Stepan.

New York did a much better job of staying out of the penalty box and actually scored twice on the power play in Monday’s win over Winnipeg, but the Blueshirts have plenty of work to do.

Toronto may prove to be a surprisingly difficult opponent, but the Rangers will benefit from what will surely be a boisterous MSG crowd.  Whether the team can shake its recent home woes and put together its first truly good game of the season remains to be seen, but it would make for a fairy tale opening to the next chapter of Madison Square Garden’s history.


- Lines used at Wednesday’s practice:

Ruslan Fedotenko/Brad Richards/Marian Gaborik

Brandon Dubinsky/Derek Stepan/Ryan Callahan

Wojtek Wolski/Brian Boyle/Brandon Prust

Kris Newbury/Artem Anisimov/Erik Christensen


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)

Stats To Chew On > (10/24/11)

Two Parts Of The Recipe Change And New York Wins > (10/24/11)

Lessons Learned: Seven Games In The Books > (10/26/11)

Home Cookin’ At Last > (10/27/11)


Click here for our full 2011-2012 Season Archive >

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Posted by Kevin Baumer | October 27, 2011 at 10:56 am

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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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