Who Wins the 2014 Stanley Cup?

New York Rangers

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Game Day: Rangers Host The Maple Leafs In Their Home Opener
The Blueshirts look to bounce back from Monday's loss to the Islanders...


Chris Drury returns tonight


Chris Drury returns tonight

Maple Leafs @ Rangers

Rangers record: 1-1-0

Maple Leafs record: 3-0-0

 

When the 2011 schedule came out the Rangers were probably pleased to see the Islanders penciled in for game #2 and Toronto in game #3 in the home opener.  But as ESPN’s Chris Berman likes to say “this is why they play the games.”  The Rangers looked great in defeating the Buffalo Sabres just a week ago, but not so great in giving up a lead twice and six goals (including an empty netter) in all to an injury laden Islanders club.  It was a bitter loss to swallow, especially with so much positive energy surrounding the team following Derek Stepan’s incredible debut.

So tonight the Rangers will have a chance to bounce back in their home opener and start the season 2-1 before entering an extremely busy and difficult month of November.   The Rangers will be bolstered by the return of Captain Chris Drury who will center the team’s top line of Marian Gaborik and Alex Frolov.  With Erik Christensen most likely out due to injury, the Rangers chose not to tinker with the second and third lines that have been productive thus far.  Instead, they’ll see if Drury has any success between their star wingers.  Drury’s best offensive days appear to be behind him, but he’ll at least get a chance to succeed on the first line before Christensen returns to health and John Tortorella is forced to make the decision of who sits. 

Matt Gilroy will also make his season debut on defense in the place of Mike Sauer.  Steve Eminger probably should have been the man removed from the defense, but Tortorella seems very concerned about keeping some level of veteran presence on the blue line.  Gilroy looked much improved during the preseason but Tortorella seemed concerned that he needed a break after working so hard this offseason.  It will be interesting to see if the Gilroy/Del Zotto tandem that we saw on the point on the power play during the preseason makes its regular season debut tonight.

The Leafs are off to a tremendous start thanks to wins over Montreal, Ottawa and Pittsburgh.  They’ve received strong goaltending from former Anaheim Duck J.S. Giguere and some surprise goal scoring from Clarke MacArthur who already has four on the season.  They’ll also deploy the always dangerous Phil Kessel and former Blackhawks winger Kris Versteeg.  The Leafs have undergone a tedious rebuilding process under GM Brian Burke from the net out, and now have solid in pieces in place along the blue line.  They’re still very thin up front, but the Maple Leafs have had good scoring balance thus far.  Former Ranger Colton Orr, who scored a goal Wednesday night, will return to the Garden tonight.  One would expect him to drop the gloves with Derek Boogaard, but Orr was walloped by Deryk Engelland Wednesday and did not return to the game, so we’ll see.

The Rangers need to put the disappointing loss to the Islanders behind them.  They’ll have plenty of motivation tonight with the return of Drury and their first taste of the Madison Square Garden crowd of the season.  The Maple Leafs are coming in a super confident group, so the Rangers would benefit greatly from taking an early lead.  It will be very interesting to see how Drury performs on the top line tonight as Gaborik and Frolov have been quiet thus far this season.

 

Check out Damien Cox's interesting take on how the Maple Leafs are quite similar to the Rangers.

 

Posted by Kevin Baumer | October 15, 2010 at 11:03 am
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New York Rangers VS Montreal Canadiens
Saturday, October 25, 2014

  1 2 3 OT F
Rangers 1 0 0 - 1
Canadiens 1 1 1 - 3








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