When: Wednesday, November 9, 7:30 p.m.
Opponent: @ Ottawa (7-7-1)
UPDATE: Mike Rupp will be out four-to-six weeks after successful surgery on a meniscus tear. (11:56 a.m.)
UPDATE: Craig Anderson will start in net for Ottawa. Henrik Lundqvist will get the nod for New York.
EARLIER: Following a rocky start to the 2011-2012 season, the New
York Rangers are now firing on all cylinders.
Star right wing Marian Gaborik is flying with seven goals,
the young defense gets better each day and New York has received among the best
goaltending in the league. But perhaps
most importantly, the Rangers are rolling on home ice.
The Blueshirts rattled off four-straight wins to close out
their six-game homestand, but have just one tilt at Madison Square Garden between
now and Thanksgiving.
The newfound home-ice advantage is a wonderful luxury and if
the Rangers can maintain their usual strong play on the road, then they might
really be in business.
The Blueshirts boast a record of 7-3-3 and could be in
position to bolster that mark over the next two weeks. New York’s next five games come against the
Senators, Hurricanes, Islanders, Canadiens and Panthers, who have a combined
record of 28-35-11.
Following Thanksgiving the Rangers will face-off against
Washington, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, so the next set of games could be a
good time to add padding in the standings.
Wednesday’s opponent, the Ottawa Senators, was a consensus
Eastern Conference doormat entering the season, but so far Ottawa has far
The Senators have had a very difficult time keeping the puck
out of their net, but Ottawa boasts a dynamic power play and has been buoyed by
tremendous starts from center Jason Spezza, wing Milan Michalek and sophomore
puck-moving defenseman Erik Karlsson.
The Senators visited New York just before the Rangers’
winning streak began and came
from three goals down in the third period to upend the Blueshirts in a shootout. But since then, these teams have gone in
Ottawa beat Toronto but has since dropped three consecutive
games - the last two on home ice – while the Rangers have found their stride.
Ottawa’s early hold on a playoff spot has already loosened
as the Senators are now on the outside looking in at the Eastern Conference
Wednesday night’s tilt will be a huge game for Ottawa, as
the Senators are about to embark on a six-game road trip that could send them
tumbling down to the depths of the Eastern Conference standings in a hurry.
For the Blueshirts, the contest represents a chance to
extend the current win streak to five games leading to Friday’s home match
against Carolina before New York sets off on its own four-game road trip.
The Rangers will be a confident group heading up to Ontario
and they should be. Road games are never
easy, but if New York puts forth another solid effort then win No. 8 should be
- Newly acquired defenseman Anton Stralman didn’t accompany
the team to Ottawa and completed medical testing on Tuesday.
He should practice with the team on Thursday.
- Forward Brandon Prust is banged up and sat out practiced Tuesday,
but he is expected to play.
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