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Here once again is the definitive series preview, brought to you by a joint effort of the creators of this blog. The Rangers posted a 5-3 record against the Penguins this season. Can Henrik Lundqvist keep Sid the Kid and his cronies from punching the Rangers out of the playoffs? The only way to find out is to keep reading.

It’s on the long side, so click the “more” link below to continue reading.

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The Rangers play the Flyers for the eighth and final time this season tonight at the Garden. The game starts at 7:30 and is on ESPN OLN Vs. Good thing I’ll be there!

Here’s what the lines will look like:
Straka-Dubinsky-Jagr
Shanahan-Avery-Dawes
Callahan-Drury-Prucha
Sjostrom-Hollweg-Orr

D is the same and Henrik Lundqvist gets the nod.

Scott Gomez is Day-to-Day with bruised ribs.

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gortonsfishermanstill.jpgRematch tonight.

This time it’s at the garbage dump of an arena the Islanders call home. Seriously, I’m from Nassau County… and that monstrosity is the best thing we have to name after ourselves??

Anyway, the Rangers are going with the exact same lineup from Tuesday, which means no Strudwick, no Hollweg. Apparently, Renney has something against guys with W’s in their name.

I’ve been hearing a lot of grumbling about Lundqvist and his less-than-stellar play of late. I’ve even heard some people calling for Valiquette to start. My response: relax! As it turns out, Lundqvist is human. That ‘S’ on his chest does not stand for Superman (it’s just the ‘s’ at the end of Rangers). Playing goalie is a streaky business. You might go a few games where you feel it would take a superhuman effort to put the puck past you, and then you might go a few games feeling like a piece of swiss cheese that just passed through a sieve (if that is even possible). Whenever I am not playing my best, I just try to focus on the basics. Get in good position. React, don’t think. Etc etc. Lundqvist has some great goalie coaches working with him, and I feel confident he will back to his usual self pretty soon — maybe even tonight.

The word so far is that Dubliewhatever will be back in the net for the Islanders tonight. But, there have supposedly been a few Double-Penetration-ietro sightings around the Mausoleum. Would you be surprised to see D.P. out there at game-time? I wouldn’t be.

There were also a few reported Gorton’s Fisherman sightings on the LIRR this afternoon… look out.

P.S. I am so freakin’ excited for Duke-UNC on Saturday that it’s really the only thing I can think about. If anyone has something that resembles a coherent thought on tonight’s game, go ahead and post it.

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The New York Rangers go for their 5th straight win tonight in a matchup against the rival Islanders. The Rangers are 7-0-2 over their last nine games, which means they have a nine game “we might have lost a few but we still got points in the standings” streak. Note: I still have no idea what to call this kind of streak.

Starting in goal for the Islanders tonight, Wade Dubliewhatever. The Isles usual goaltender, Rick Double-Penetration-ietro, is away from the team grieving the loss of his grandmother… and I just made fun of the guy and now I feel bad. Sorry. Moving on.

The Islanders have definitely given the Rangers trouble this season. In particular, I can’t shake that 3-goals-in-the-third-period debacle at the Nassau Mausoleum game. But, I think this is a much different Rangers team. I’m looking for a big game out of Avery (see earlier post for more on this). Also, I’m hoping that Lundqvist can bounce back from a weak game against the Flyers.

P.S. Around the NHL tonight, we want the Sabres to beat the Flyers, the Panthers to beat the Bruins, the Lightning to beat the Penguins, and the Leafs to beat the Devils. Let’s go Rangers. –Eric

And just for shits and giggles:

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UPDATE: Paul Mara and Colton Orr were both injured in last night’s game against the Sabres and will not play tonight.  They have been replaced by Jason Strudwick and Marcel Hossa.  Hossa will play on the 4th line with Betts and Hollweg.  Strudwick will most likely skate with Marc Staal.
-Eric

The surging Rangers look to keep their 6-game unbeaten-in-regulation streak alive tonight against the Panthers. (As an aside, the Rangers are 4-0-2 in their last 6, but I’m not really sure what to call the streak. I can’t say just “unbeaten” because they’ve lost twice. “Points” streak just sounds weird to me. So I’m going with unbeaten-in-regulation until someone gives me a better idea. Does anyone out there have an idea? Leave it in the comments.)

It was just a few weeks ago when the Rangers were sitting in the cellar of the Atlantic division. The race was so tight, however, that after rattling off a few wins, the Rangers are back within range. We will have a better idea of their position after tonight. The Devils and Penguins are both in action this afternoon. (As I write this, the Devils and Capitals are tied 1-1 early in the 3rd period, while the Penguins and Sharks are tied 0-0 in the 2nd intermission).

The Panthers did their part for the Rangers cause yesterday in Philadelphia, scoring with 4 seconds left in the 3rd period to force OT, then winning the game in the extra frame to prevent the Flyers from gaining the precious 2 points. The Panthers are a talented team and should not be taken lightly. Their Defense, while ranked among the worst in the NHL, is bolstered by the talented Jay Bouwmeester, who leads the NHL in ice time (more than 27 mins/game). Olli Jokinen, a.k.a. the guy who sliced Zednik’s neck open, leads the Panthers in scoring. If the Rangers can contain Jokinen’s line, which includes shifty youngster Nathan Horton, (and that’s a big IF), I expect the Rangers to win.

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The Rangers play the Sabres tonight in Buffalo.   The last time these teams met was 1 week ago at Madison Square Garden, and resulted in a 5-1 Rangers victory.

How are the Rangers going to play as a team after suffering that devastating loss in Montreal?  They’ve had a few days off to stew about it, and while the quotes from the players have been optimistic, it’s something that is not easily forgotten.

This is Chris Drury’s first game in Buffalo as a Ranger.  You can expect lots of booing when he has the puck.

This should be a tightly contested game.  Both teams want to get 2 points, and both teams will be trying to win in regulation.  Now I’m off to watch the Duke game.

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The Rangers take on the San Jose Sharks in a Sunday matinée in the 1st and only meeting between these clubs this season.

The Sharks have been the NHL’s road warriors, with a record of 17-5-3 away from the HP Pavilion. Seriously, their arena is named after a computer. Meanwhile, the Rangers have been utterly hopeless against the Western Conference this season, posting a 0-7-2 record at this point. That’s 9 games, 9 losses.

So, I guess that means the Rangers are 29-17-5 against the Eastern conference? That’s pretty good. I’m not sure what that means, but I think it means something.

Henrik Lundqvist will start — so says Sam Weinman on the Rangers Report

On a side note, I really like the Sharks organization because their owner, Kevin Compton, is a benefactor of the Duke Hockey program and a real class act. He hosted the team in his owners box at a Sharks game a few years ago, and I must say that the arena, although named after a computer, is actually very nice. But, while there, I was viciously attacked by S.J. Sharkie, and I want vengeance. (See picture). For my sake, I hope the Rangers come out with the same intensity they showed against the Sabres.

Sharkie

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