When: Friday, November 11, 7:00 p.m.
Opponent: vs. Carolina (5-7-3)
UPDATE: The NY Post's Larry Brooks reports that Marc Staal is scheduled to meet with Boston concussion expert Dr. Robert Cantu next week. Brooks also reveals that Cantu ordered a month-long shutdown from physical activity for Staal while the Rangers were in Western Canada. Staal has been resting at his apartment in Manhattan. (9:43 a.m.)
EARLIER: The surging Blueshirts will host yet another struggling
opponent when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night at Madison
Like Ottawa, Carolina has dropped three-straight games
heading into their matchup with the Blueshirts and the Hurricanes have also
lost seven of their last nine.
During its current losing streak, Carolina has been
outscored 13-5 and if things don’t change in a hurry, Coach Paul Maurice’s job
could be in jeopardy.
At the heart of Carolina’s problems has been the play of
captain Eric Staal, who has just five points in 15 games and is an embarrassing
minus-16, the worst rating in the league.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the New York Rangers
are winners of five-straight and are rapidly ascending the Eastern Conference
In stark contrast to Staal, New York’s best offensive player
Marian Gaborik, the lynchpin of the newly named “G.A.S.”
line with Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan, has four goals in his last two games
and nine overall, tied for third in the NHL.
The G.A.S. line has accounted for New York’s last six goals
and has produced eight
goals and 14 assists since being united five games ago.
Coach John Tortorella remains discontent with his other
forward combinations, but even though Brandon Dubinsky and Brian Boyle are
mired in scoring slumps the Rangers continue to pile up victories.
The G.A.S. line is drawing all the headlines, but perhaps
the bigger reason for New York’s current five-game winning streak is that the
team has allowed just eight goals during its current run.
The tandem of Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron has been
splendid all season and has done a terrific job covering up any mistakes the
patchwork defense has made.
Top-notch goaltending is something we’ve come to expect from
New York, but a bona fide top line has been missing for years.
The Blueshirts appear to have found one and if they can get
players like Dubinsky and Boyle to start producing and find Brad Richards a
permanent home in the lineup, then the recent run of success may just be the
start of an enjoyable year.
- The last time the Blueshirts had a longer winning streak than this one came
between October 3 and October 17,, 2009 when New York won seven
games in a row.
- Following Friday’s contest the Blueshirts will set out on a
four-game road trip starting with a visit to the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
- Anton Stralman won’t be
making his debut on Friday.
- The NHL
All-Star Game fan ballot was released this afternoon and the Rangers listed
include Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik. As usual, the league put out the ballot too
early in the season so guys like Staal are on it based on previous performances
and not current play. If the list was
based on this year alone, Dan Girardi would be on it without a doubt. But since he’s not, Kevin DeLury at NYRangersBlog.com is spearheading
a write-in campaign to vote Girardi into the All-Star Game. Last year DeLury led a push to vote Sean
Avery into the game and even though Avery was an extremely polarizing
selection, he ended up with the 15th-most votes among forwards. Girardi should get more national support than
Avery did and with your help he could represent the Blueshirts in Ottawa. Voting opens on November 14th.
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