Fresh off two huge wins, the Rangers are in California this week to
take on the Anaheim Ducks tomorrow night and the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.
The big news out of Ducks’ camp is that Jonas Hiller is
suffering from vertigo and so either Dan Ellis or Ray Emery, who hasn’t played
in the NHL in 13 months, will start tomorrow night against the Rangers. Emery had been playing in Russia before
joining the Ducks and has been known for his erratic play and behavior, and
Ellis has been equally inconsistent, so the goalie match up should be favorable
for the Blueshirts.
Like when the Rangers played Minnesota last week, the Ducks are two
points out of the playoffs while the Rangers are hanging onto the seventh seed
for dear life. In fact, with a win
tonight the Buffalo Sabres could bump the Rangers down to eighth.
is buoyed by its tremendous power play, ranked fourth in the league, thanks to
a host of key contributors including Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne, Saku
Koivu, Bobby Ryan, Lubomir Visnovsky, and Cam Fowler. Both Perry and Selanne have double digit
goals on the man advantage, while both of them along with Getzlaf, Visnovsky,
and Fowler have 11+ power play assists. As
with many games at this time of year, this game could be won or lost on special
teams, and needless to say, the Rangers must stay out of the box.
For New York,
the key will once again be to score early and often. Two weekend wins did a lot for the Rangers’
confidence, but they’re not out of the woods in the playoff hunt by any means,
so they must develop some offensive consistency. It seems that some of the key forwards have
begun scoring again, but the Rangers still desperately need Marian Gaborik to
begin playing at his top level.
As an inter-conference game between two teams that must get
points, we could see some very cautious play during regulation as each team
tries to assure itself a point by getting to overtime. For the record, the Rangers are 7-2 in the
shootout and the Ducks are 4-2.