Wednesday, October 28, 2009

GameNight Tonight: It's Just The Islanders

Opening Remarks: You know – after all the trouble we had scoring goals last year – and after all the work Sather and Tortorella did to bring some scoring in here – I thought we'd improve – but I never dreamed it would work this well this fast. As I write this – your New York Rangers lead the entire NHL with 47 goals. And 4th from the bottom of that same list, with just 22 goals in 10 games is our next opponent, the New York Islanders.

The Rangers have dodged a few bullets recently. They broke their 3 game skid Monday, beating the Coyotes 5-2. Marian Gaborik – who has been lighting up the league with his offense – appears to be recovering from an undisclosed lower body injury. And Henrik Lundqvist has escaped from a auto accident Tuesday with apparently no ill effects.
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Editor's Note: The latest on Gaborik: the injury is apparently from a knee-to-knee hit between Gaborik and Petr Prucha - similar to the pre-season practice hit between Avery and Callahan that sidelined Avery for several games. But the Rangers are not admitting the event or the specific injury or the time Gabs might miss. We're just guessing here.

The Rangers may rest Marian to be on the safe side and probably won't rest Hank – even though they should. The game tonight is not on MSG because they have some kind of season opening basketball game instead. It's on MSG+ if you can find that.
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Okay – on to the Preview:
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Who The Hell Are We Playing? The 'slanders (as I call them) are 1-4-5, leading the league in OT loses. If the season ended today they would be slated to go home and watch the playoffs on TV.

Primary Skaters: Long Island is led by the 9 points of left winger Matt Moulson (5 G, 4 A). Right winger Kyle Okposo has 7 points (1 G, 6 A). Center John Tavares also has 7 points (3 G, 4 A). And beyond that – not much else.

In Net: The Islanders feature not-so-good and not-so-gooder in goal. Marin Biron has a 3.45 goals against average and a .891 save percentage in 6 appearances. Dwayne Roloson has a similar 3.36 and 0.890. In contrast – our Henrik has a 2.61 Goals against average and saves .915 percent of the pucks thrown at him. I'm thinking this is a good place to rest Hank.
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Scoring & Defense: The Islanders are scoring a not-so-great 2.2 goals a game and letting up 3.7. In contrast, your New York Rangers score 3.83 goals per and let up only 2.75.
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Special Effects: Advantage Rangers. The Islanders score on just 20% of their man advantage chances and are killing 81.1% of their shorthanded situations. The Rangers are 27.5% on the PP and 86.4% on the PK.

Scheduling Conflicts: The Rangers played Saturday (lost to NJ) and Monday (beat Phoenix). The Islanders lost 3-2 on Saturday and Monday to the Caps and Habs respectively. So we should be about equally rested.
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Probable Lines: The big wild card here is Gaborik's undisclosed lower body injury. I'm thinking the Rangers will rest him as a super cautious careful-with-the-fragile-franchise-superstar maneuver. They practiced yesterday with Voros in Gabs place alongside Lisin and Prospal. It looked like this:
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Line 1: Lisin-Prospal-Voros (wow did that line get worse in a hurry!)
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Line 2: Avery-Drury-Kotalik (Drury with two guys who rose up from lower lines)
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Line 3: Higgins-Dubinsky-Callahan (All three are falling stars...)
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Line 4: Brashear-Anisimov-Boyle (Brash line usually does better than we'd guess - and Brashear is 8-1 as a Ranger)
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But I think Aaron was just a placeholder in hopes that Gabs would be ready. If they shut him down - then all the lines get disrupted. So – my bad – I don't know what the final lines will be tonight.
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On Defense: Still the same 6 guys will play. Rookies Del Zotto and Gilroy play with the overpriced vets Redden and Rozsival. Staal and Girardi play together.
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In Goal: To me this is a slam dunk Valiquette game. Hank had a car accident Tuesday. He's overworked as it is. Don't wear him down – he's got the Olympics this year.
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Dave Puck Predicts: My guess – No Gabs and I hope no Hank. Now the Islanders would love to beat us and will give an effort. But I think we have enough talent to beat them 4-2.
I have a feeling that with some sort of Yankee baseball game on the schedule (isn't it a bit late in the year for Yankee baseball?) – that we won't be seeing Nugman tonight.

I'll be back with some post game tonight and a fuller recap in the morning.

3 comments:

  1. Sorry Ray - you're right and there's no excuse.

    ReplyDelete
  2. And Ray - I misspelled Petr as well! It's fixed now.

    ReplyDelete