The Rangers stopped the bleeding with a 5 - 2 victory against the Islanders, but it doesn't mean much unless they can't string a couple wins together prior to the holiday break.
One statistic that illustrates the Blueshirts woes, their top two scorers:
- Marian Gaborik - 24 goals
- Ryan Callahan - 9 goals
The gap is staggering.
Secondary scoring has been non-existent this season, but perhaps those players are turning the corner. Callahan has been potent in the past few games and Chris Higgins' work ethic is much improved and appears ready to breakout.
And Captain Chris Drury has played with greater determination of late, chipping in a goal against the Islanders despite seeing decreased ice time. Centering the fourth line for much of the game, Drury received the coaching staff's message and has turned his ethic around.
Henrik Lundqvist's noteworthy play, especially in the first period, has given the Rangers an opportunity to get in the game. In the recent Islanders series, the Rangers were outshot 10 - 3 and 14 - 4, respectively. Amongst those 24 first period shots, Lundqvist only allowed one goal, a fluky play on top of the crease by Jon Sim.
In the past seven games, Lunqvist's GAA is 1.97 and a tremendous save percentage of .944. With only two wins amongst those seven games, it is clear that the Rangers offense needs to be better.
New York will also continue with their youth movement, playing Enver Lising and Bobby Sanguinetti in favor of Ales Kotalik and Wade Redden.
This afternoon against Philadelphia, the Rangers face a team that has suffered a similar fate as them. Starting out strong, the Flyers fell hard and were forced to fire their Head Coach John Stevens and bring in Peter Laviolette.
Since Laviolette took over the team, the Flyers have only won two games.
Some help may be available for the orange and black as scorer Simon Gagne returns after another injury that has kept him out since October. The goaltending roller coaster continues in Philadelphia as first-year Flyer Ray Emery is out with an abdominal injury putting backup Brian Boucher as the starter.
Game time is set for 1 pm.