If there’s anything scarier than a game you’re supposed to win, it’s two of them back-to-back. But that is what the Rangers face on this President’s Day weekend, with today against the league-worst Flyers and then tomorrow against the lowly Blackhawks.
Combine the recent roll this team is on with the quality of their opponent, and there’s a sense that anything less than four points this weekend would be a grave disappointment. Only that’s not a healthy attitude for a team that is still scratching and clawing its way back to respectabiliity, and when you consider the Rangers record at home this year, you wonder if anything is going to come easy.
The reality is “the Rangers’ struggles at home”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070217/SPORTS01/702170405/1046/SPORTS (11-12-3) is somewhat of an overblown topic by now, and when I asked around the dressing room about it yesterday, I did so aware there probably isn’t much left to say (and to that end, Tom Renney would barely touch the question). Still, you can’t get around the fact that eight of this team’s next nine games will be at the Garden, so their chances at making the playoffs in large part hinge on making better use of home ice advantage.
“It’s weird how well we play on the road, and then we come to the Garden and things don’t happen for us,” center Blair Betts said. “We need to get on a roll there. If we don’t start winning at home, we’re not going to make the playoffs. That’s the biggest thing. A lot of times we’ve left the ice and the fans have been less than satisfied with our effort. And obviously it’s the same with us.”
Naturally, the team seemed to turn a corner with convincing win last week against Tampa Bay, but it’s this weekend that gives them a chance to begin some genuine momentum. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, some updates:
OK, more later…