How far will the Rangers get this season?

Stralman In For Sauer As Rangers Host Tampa Bay

Anton Stralman will play his second game as a Ranger on Thursday

Anton Stralman will play his second game as a Ranger on Thursday

When: Thursday, December 8, 7:00 p.m.

Opponent: vs. Tampa Bay (11-14-2)


UPDATE: Martin St. Louis took a puck to the face this morning and isn't likely to play tonight.  (1:05 p.m.)

UPDATE: Henrik Lundqvist will start for the Rangers.  (11:15 a.m.)


EARLIER: The Rangers were dealt a crushing blow on Monday when Dion Phaneuf rocked Michael Sauer with a huge hit that concussed New York’s third defenseman in the closing minutes of the team’s first home loss since October 29th.

Sauer is considered “day-to-day,” but his family has a history with concussions and if Marc Staal has taught us anything, it’s that there’s no such thing as a timetable when it comes to recovering from head injuries.

In Sauer’s stead, Anton Stralman will play is second game for the Rangers - his first since November 23rd.

Stralman will be paired with Jeff Woywitka while Steve Eminger returns to his old spot alongside Michael Del Zotto, who is OK after suffering an equally awful looking hit at the conclusion of Monday’s game.

Tampa Bay has lost five games in a row, but given New York’s defensive situation it can’t be a comforting thought that Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier are members of the Rangers’ next opponent.

Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh have ceded a bit more ice-time to Del Zotto and Sauer lately, but they may both end up with season-highs in minutes on Thursday night. 

This also could be a game in which the Rangers need Henrik Lundqvist to deliver one of his vintage performances as the team tries to adapt to another blow to its shorthanded defense.

Unlike in the past, however, New York has the firepower to win even if Tampa Bay’s stars are able to take advantage of the Rangers’ undermanned defense.

The Blueshirts have scored four or more goals in four of their last six games and have begun to display the makings of an explosive offense.

The G.A.S. line is again flying with a combined five goals and six assists in its last three games and Brad Richards has led the second trio with four goals and six assists in his last six games.  New York has also received strong supplemental offense from the third line of Carl Hagelin/Brian Boyle/John Mitchell over the last two weeks and has scored power play goals in four of its last five games.

The Blueshirts struggled to contend with Toronto’s speed on Monday, but previously they had won five straight concluding with a three-goal third period that capped a  come from behind victory against Tampa Bay on Saturday.

The Lightning has received atrocious play from goalies Dwayne Roloson and Mathieu Garon this season and may be forced to pull the trigger on a trade if the Rangers expose them again.

The sense of panic over Sauer’s injury is palpable, but the Rangers have still won 12 of their last 15 games and their balanced attack could be enough to carry them despite being shorthanded defensively.


- Mike Rupp participated in a full practice on Wednesday morning with the Blueshirts, but was still wearing a non-contact jersey.  Rupp says he’s “not far from battles” and could be nearing his return.

- Andrew Gross reports that the Rangers have instructed their players not to comment on the New York Times’ story on Derek Boogaard.


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Posted by Kevin Baumer | December 8, 2011 at 10:20 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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