Friday, March 4, 2011
W2W4: Rangers vs. Senators
By Mike Hume
Must. Win. Period.
With the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres both getting points in Carolina’s OT win Thursday, New York sits just two points ahead of the Sabres for the eighth and final playoff spot, while the Blueshirts now stare at the red of the Carolina jerseys ahead of them. Even the Toronto Maple Leafs, once left for dead this season, sit just three points back. And the Devils, well, they just keep winning.
Here’s what to watch for when the puck drops in Ottawa tonight.
The Rangers need to take a lesson from Charlie Sheen and get winning back into their DNA. After a disastrous home stand that saw them pick up precisely zero points, the Rangers simply can’t afford to pass up an opportunity for a pair against the NHL’s second-worst team. Of course, as bad luck would have it, the Ottawa Senators might be playing their best hockey of the season, going 4-0-2 in their last six games.
Three Is The Magic Number
When the Rangers have scored three or more goals this season, they’ve at least picked up a point in all but six of those games. They might have a little help in that department tonight as the past two games they’ve been stonewalled by a few miraculous saves by hot goalies Ryan Miller and Jose Theodore. With newly acquired Craig Anderson having played the past six games and the Sens also in action last night, it’s likely the red-hot ‘tender will sit this one out. That’s great news for the Blueshirts considering he’s allowed more than one goal just once since arriving in Ottawa -- against the Sabres in a loss. (Of. Course.)
To Play Or Not To Play?
Marian Gaborik was still experiencing symptoms of his concussion as recently as Thursday morning, but the star winger will apparently make the trip to Ottawa after John Tortorella had previously ruled him out. That’s no guarantee that he’ll play, but it’s a good sign. The Rangers badly need him in the lineup and need to him to resume his lamp-lighting ways, stat.