How far will the Rangers get this season?

One Team Tries To Hang Onto Its Playoff Spot, One Team Tries To Move Into Position
The Rangers are clinging to the seventh seed in the East while the Wild are trying to move into the playoff picture in the West...

Ruslan Fedotenko might return tomorrow night

Ruslan Fedotenko might return tomorrow night

The stumbling Rangers are back in action tomorrow night against the equally desperate Minnesota Wild.  While the Rangers are hanging onto a playoff berth by the skin of their teeth in the Eastern Conference, Minnesota trails Los Angeles by just two points for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Minnesota is propelled by the always strong goaltending of Niklas Backstrom and very strong special teams.  Minnesota is traditionally right up there with the Rangers atop the league in penalty killing, and their power play has been equally effective this year thanks in large part to Matt Cullen, Martin Havlat, and Mikko Koivu.  Luckily for the Rangers, Koivu is out with injury, and the already low-scoring Wild offense has struggled to maintain consistency in his absence.  Unfortunately for the Rangers, Minnesota is equally good on the road as New York, but only mediocre at home.  The Wild have alternated winning and losing over their last six games, and lost their last bout against Chicago.  If recent history holds true to form, Minnesota will beat the Islanders tonight, and the Rangers will be in the right position of that pattern tomorrow. 

For New York, it sounds like Ruslan Fedotenko and Marc Staal both have a shot at returning to the lineup tomorrow night, while Marian Gaborik says he’s symptom-free and could return shortly as well.  The return of Staal would give us our first look at a healthy and deep Rangers’ defensive unit that faces enormous pressure right now as the offense continues to struggle.  Fedotenko looked pretty good in his brief return over the weekend, and the Rangers must hope that he’s good to go once again.

The problems remain the same for the Rangers’ on-ice performance.  They must begin generating more offensive production, and they must stop falling behind early.   The team’s play hasn’t been dramatically different from early in the year when they were consistently winning, but lately the Rangers have been completely unable to find the back of the net and have not been able to generate the third period comebacks that were so key a few months back.  There’s no doubt that the Rangers have the talent to be a playoff team, but they’ve got to right the ship quickly or the season will slip away.  Tomorrow’s game is a battle of teams scratching and clawing to reach the postseason, and the Rangers need to win to avoid a three-game losing streak, and potentially, their grasp on the seventh seed in the East.

Posted by Kevin Baumer | March 2, 2011 at 03:13 pm

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New York Rangers VS Chicago Blackhawks
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

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

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