Greeting from the Garden, where the Rangers tonight are hosting the Devils, the same team that swept them out of the first round of last season’s playoffs.
Am I stating the obvious? Apparently not. According to Tom Renney, it wasn’t something he gave much thought to prior to this morning. Asked if last season’s playoff collapse was a conversation piece leading into tonight’s first regular season meeting with their cross-river rivals, Renney said he almost forgot as much until reading about it in some press clippings.
“Honest to God,” the coach said. “It’s another team. It’s about our team, our game right now.”
The coach may have a point. Given his team’s play of late, it doesn’t matter if the Rangers are playing the Devils or the Soviet Red Army, they need to show some semblance of life in what is still only the sixth game of the season.
I’m not sure if that means a win, a close game, or just a spirited effort, but I guess it has to be something where the Rangers can wake up tomorrow and feel like they have something to build on.
Meanwhile, a couple of quick pre-game thoughts.
— The Mets are rained out. I know, that has nothing to do with hockey. But we try to be a full service blog here.
— Look for Blair Betts and Jason Ward to play together on the penalty kill, the reunion of a fairly successful tandem last year. Both players have seen plenty of time in short-handed situations this season, but the Rangers’ recent struggles have prompted the two to playing together.
— Depressing thought of the day for Rangers fans: the team needs a win against the Devils to have the same record as the Jets.