The Rangers are headed for a defining game, a matinee affair in Boston, against the big bad Bruins who trail the Rangers by a point for the NHL's top spot in the NHL. It could not have come at a worse time because the Blueshirts are in their first bad blip of the year having lost three of the past five. But just maybe it could be a great time to upright the ship. After all this Ranger ship is no Costa Concordia, and while our leader may be disagreeable he is not irresponsible.
But there are some concerns going into the showdown. The big guys are not clicking. The Rangers have scored eight goals in the last five games and the trio of Gaborik, Richards and Callahan are playing like the Three Blind Mice and are purely non-productive. To top it off, the power play, an oxymoron if there ever was one, is pitiful. How about these numbers. They are 0-14 in the last seven games, 1-27 in the last 12 games and 3-45 in the last 18 games. However, remember that the Ranger power play has been non-existent for three years now and that stat falls right in the lap of disagreeable, who is clueless when it comes to the power play.
In addition, Henrik Lundqvist is probably in the worst stretch of the year. But it would be grossly unfair to put any blame, however minimal, on Lundqvist. He has carried the Rangers too long to be blamed for any drought they suffer through. Coach disagreeable's plan of suicidal defenses would collapse without the rock that stands in front of our nets barring entrance to all.
What about the Bruins? When it comes to defense, they are the best. In 44 games they have given up 89 goals, an average of 2.02 per game. They have top goalies in Tuukka Rask, GAA 1.61, save percentage of .946%. That's 1st and 4th in the NHL. Tim Thomas, GAA 2.02, save percentage .936%. That is 7th and 9th. Lundqvist compares favorably with a GAA of 1.93, 4th in the NHL and a save percentage of .936%, 10th best in the NHL. The Rangers have given up 94 goals in 45 games, an average of 2.09.
It looks like a wash. We are heading into a shootout of a 0-0 game. It's an unstoppable force versus an immovable object. It will be an original six classic. Hopefully we will get an 80 shot game and see the goalies at their best. We will also hope the coaches do not screw it up.
Other takes on the Bruins' game:
Matt Kalman / Boston.com:
Bruins Ready For ‘Intense’ Matchup With Rangers --
Even Bruins head coach Claude Julien sounded like he had a fan’s curiosity about how his team would match up with the Rangers after the Bruins practiced at Ristuccia Arena Friday...Sean Hartnett / CBS NY:
Bruins Matchup Most Important Test Of Rangers’ Season --
Rangers Must Limit Mistakes And Get Struggling Power Play Going... Wherever Tortorella puts Carl Hagelin, he tends to ignite his linemates...Stan Fischler / MSG:
The Colossal Battle on the Eastern Front -- NY vs. Boston --
For starters remember that the Bruins are an edgy, chippy bunch. Torts' Troops must avoid falling into the trap and retaliate with cheap shots... I'm calling for a New York victory on Saturday...Betting Hockey:
Rangers vs. Bruins: Preview --
Prediction: Bruins win 2-1
Boston always comes out with a ton of energy and intensity against the best teams in the NHL, which is typical of a veteran team that may feel bored at times with the regular season...