How about we play at your place?

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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:

  • The only lineup change I could detect was the possibility of Colton Orr back in the lineup today, likely in place of Ryan Hollweg. The reasons for this are pretty clear: it’s the Flyers, for one, so it’s likely to be a physical game. And Orr has played well enough of late to merit more consideration from Tom Renney.
  • More reasons to dislike New Jersey: save for their win over Montreal earlier this week, the Devils have resisted any chance to help the Rangers in recent days, beginning last week with a loss to Tampa Bay, and then last night against the Penguins. Another opportunity presents itself tonight with Jersey playing at the Islanders. But the Devils are clearly ailing these days, so don’t count on much help there, either.
  • Scottie Upshall, part of the Peter Forsberg trade, will be in the lineup for Philly today, but the other player acquired, Ryan Parent, is still in juniors. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the team is not expected to name a captain to replace Forsberg.
  • No need to rub in the 4-2 UNH loss to BU last night. It stings plenty as it is. The good news is the game was on SNY so I was able to see my beloved Wildcats play for the first time all season (although my wife, a disgruntled UVM grad, made me turn down the sound). The bad news is I have to listen to smug remarks from Josh Thomson.

    OK, more later…

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    129 Comments

    1. Tom Renney in the Post this morning:

      “I do believe that the karma is very special, the synergy is excellent,� Tom Renney said after yesterday’s practice. “I think there’s a real singleness and purpose night after night that we’ve all identified with.�

      There it is, folks: Karma and Synergy….who will be skating on a line with Coalescence in this afternoon’s game.

    2. There is no way they can play Valiquette. He is not an NHL goalie and we are in the middle of a playoff race. Besides, the Blackhawks have played pretty well of late. Whats one more game gonna do to Lundqvist? Nothing.

    3. Go BU! Can’t stop the Terriers, Sam! We’re on a roll, we got a beanpot win and now we’re looking for a hockey east tournament title in a few weeks.

    4. Sam sounds like Renney was thinking of sitting Prucha to put Orr but changed his mind. He seems to have a problem with Prucha. What is it , bad karma?

    5. How about Avery defending his new teammates?

      Something needs to be done with Fydorek out there. He looks like he is on a mission to end someone’s career. Now the Rangers need to stop missing the net and put one in.

    6. There’s a shock AARON WARD!!! WHAT A BUM…I blame RENNEY FOR NOT DRESSING ORR TONIGHT WHILE FEDEROUK SKATES AROUND HEADHUNTING OUR GUYS!!!

    7. This is what happens when Orr isn’t in the lineup.
      Fedoruk has no one to answer to. Avery and Hollweg aren’t in his league. The Rangers are lucky Jagr’s head didn’t fly off after that hit. Fedoruk, Eager, and Hatcher have a free pass to run the Rangers all afternoon long, and it’s 100% Renney’s fault for not dressing Orr. A brain dead move, as the Flyers are just steamrolling this team.

    8. Renney is a sh–it bag.

      Shanahan is the only one at the end of the day who would stand up against the big guys.

      It looked like he was ready to go at it with Fedoruk until Avery started up with Richards.

    9. Doodie Machetto on

      This is what happens when Orr isn’t in the lineup.

      Nothing happens when Orr is in the lineup either. He was in the lineup the pst couple of times against the Flyers with a total of 0 fights. Orr is a punching bag.

    10. WE WILL BE LUCKY IF IF NOBODY GETS HURT TODAY. HOW DID RENNEY NOT DRESS ORR…FORGET THE POWERPLAY, IF THE RANGERS R UP AT THE END OF THE GAME SOMEONE IS GONNA GET HURT…

      NOW AARON WARD, IS EVERYTHING THE RANGERS HAVE DONE WRONG IN THE PAST AND THIS YEAR. HE HAS WON HIS CUP, ALL HE WANTS IS A PAYDAY AND HE GOT IT HERE. HE PLAYS WITH NO EFFORT, NO TOUGHNESS, LACKADAISAL, EVERY GAME THIS GUY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR A GOAL AGAINST. THERE WAS AN ARTICLE BACK THAT THE RANGERS FANS HATE HIM, WELL UR DAM RIGHT. THIS GUY SHOULD BE MOVED AND BRING UP KASPAR, AT LEAST HE WOULD HIT SOMEONE…

    11. Doodie Machetto on

      Why is it that the Rangers can’t ever score against Philly. Nittymaki is like a God against the Rangers

    12. Doodie Machetto on

      “THIS GUY SHOULD BE MOVED AND BRING UP KASPAR, AT LEAST HE WOULD HIT SOMEONE…”

      Yeah, when they figure out how to fit a wheelchair with blades for him to get around the ice, maybe. That guy should retire, he’s finished.

      PS, Aaron Ward is 16th in the league in hits. Try again buddy.

    13. Doodie

      Sometimes I wonder what game some people are watching…or if they EVEN bother watching games at all-

      Ward is no savior, yet toughness is one thing he concretely has displayed-

    14. Someone better light a fire under this team in the locker room.

      That period was horrendous and hard to watch. They were lucky to get even that one goal.

      Not one impressive shot taken on the power play. Nittymaki has not been challenged-

    15. I think they may well come back and win this game.

      However, the anxiety that this team plays with at home is going to end their season very early unless they get over it and stop squeezing the sticks to sawdust.

    16. Don’t you hate it when former Rangers (especially ones that never got a real shot at Broadway- umm umberger)get to come back and bite you in the ass…

      Just so poetic!

    17. “Aaron Ward is 16th in the league in hits”

      Whooaa, polish up the Norris. What a laughable argument. Is there a stat for how many scoring chances a defenseman allows that never should have been? Let’s think for a moment where Ward would rank there.

    18. Doodie Machetto on

      I was just making a counter to someone saying he doesnt hit. I wasn’t saying he was a good defensemen.

    19. ladies DOn’t get your panties up in a tither. after 1 period they outshot them 15 to 6.

      We will see what happens. Throw pucks to the net and they will be fine……….

    20. who thinks the rangers will ask the league to review the hit on jagr?

      and if they do, how much u wanna bet the league will treat it lightly, like they do all rangers-related things?

    21. what a joke. I look at this board and not one frickin word about the joke that is Roszival giving the puck away on the PP, then falling down and giving the Flyers a 2-on-0 easy goal to take the lead. not one word about the sacrosanct Roszival.

      this board is a joke.

    22. Hey Doodie,

      Enough of the cool aid buddy. You got to be kidding me with the HITS STAT! the other night in carolina the HITS STAT said the rangers were outhit by about 30.

      Aaron Ward is a joke. He brings nothing to the table, he is simply enjoying the big contract and playing out his season.

    23. Rachunek is starting to actually get pucks on net at even strength-

      If he keeps that up, we’ll see good things-

    24. later my azz. it just happened, it was the worst play in this game, and you clowns never even mentioned it.

    25. LMAO “I’m not saying he’s a good defenseman, just pointing out the hits stat”

      Hey Doodie, you’re a bigger clown that some of these flyer goons!!

    26. Nylander is looking really sloppy today. Normally he twirls and holds on to the puck. Today, he’s just a twirlin’

    27. 2 of the biggest clowns who have obviously ruined this board. even the regulars are now silenced. without a clue and little gregory.

    28. The nature of the current conflict on this board among several posters, as it pertains to the impact that urination of a specific sort that does not lend itself to team bonding but in fact to a deleterious abandonment of those principles that are golden in their singleness but become sullied when adhered to a shower or a downpur or in fact a flooding of the sort that typifies what it means to Pee a Ranger…..

    29. The Rangers at home are more filled with fear and dread and terror than I am when faced with a four-footer on the 18th hole to win a fricking $5 nassua. Ridiculous.

    30. Czech, I did not intend to be vulgar. I simply can not understand why you are going around calling people clowns.
      Let’s reason here-

      Doodie is a great long time poster with good insights.
      He simply pointed out that toughness is not Aaron Ward’s weak spot..Never said he’s a great all around D-MAN-
      Now why would you attack his character.

      In addition, how is that Roszival comment relevant?

      So he usually plays well, and is having a bad game. So you want everybody to start bashing him?

      Bash the guys that consistently play poorly. He is our best all around defenseman. And yes, there are crowd favorites and he is one of them, rightly so.

      So exactly what are you trying to get across here?

    31. From the start of this game we came out with no intensity….You could see this coming from a mile away…Everytime this team starts to make you think they r a playoff team they play like this…A joke!

    32. Now that Girardi made his first mistake (but more Tyutin’s fault the 3rd goal was scored) let’s see if Renney punishes him. Actually, if fanning on a shot, which is what Girardi did, causes him to be benched, then Renney has a dual sense of values, one for the kids and one for the vets.

      Lundqvist just ordinary today. Team appears listless as a whole and Straka, especially, looks bad. Giving up the puck, unable to hold on to a pass. Worst I’ve seen him look all season.

    33. We could really have used Orr out there for some intimidation-

      Oh wait, he was playing well recently, so ofcourse Renney did the logical thing—SCRATCH

    34. the rangers only have so many games they can lose in this stretch towards the end of the season. if they wind up losing this, the world will not collapse, but all the momentum and confidence they gained will. they need to find a way to win this game; 20 minutes to do so. so stop bitching and moaning that orr should be in the lineup, cause he’s not. they are going to have to use what they got and fast.

    35. as I said, a joke of a board that ignores the biggest blunder of the game because the board has to play favorites with the czech posse just like Ranger brass does. laughable clowns.

    36. who are u, czech, to just show up on this board and start bashing everyone. if you have a problem with the content that posters bring up, then just leave.

    37. TYutin is a team worst minus 14 this year. Talk about a guy who has escaped criticsm….This teams D is awful

    38. This is why I told fans on this blog when the rangers won one game don’t get crazy. A team that is a playoff bound team does not and cannot win three in a row and than come home and loose to the flyers, are you kidden me, no your kidden yourselves if you think this team is good.

    39. everything went wrong today.. Rachunek just knocked that in…

      they cannot catch a break today.

      looks like Pock in the lineup tommorrow and either Krog or they will call someone up

      bad bad game

    40. Home Ice Blues on

      Hope he’s okay…enough bad stuff can happen out there without morons like fedoruk and Hatcher running around

    41. I knew it – This game scared me, was even more costly than I anticipated. Maybe the Devils will help us out tonight.

    42. WARD JUST KICKED THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS OUT OF PICARD.

      In doing so, he probably broke his hand–

    43. half the team is now injured. and their only leader, Shanny, is hurt. could it be any worse.

    44. All the Malik and Ward haters should rejoice now..You got what you wanted!

      We may get to see some more youth yet. Or a last ditch effort by Blue Brass to sign a new D-MAN

    45. Tyutin did not have a good game and Girardi had his worst, which really wasn’t too bad except he’s been mistake free until this game.

      Put out the FOR SALE sign, we are sellers..hopefully.

    46. Valiqueete did not look like the next Brodeur by BTW..

      Guys everything went wrong today.. This is the Rangers, woulda coulda shoulda…

      bad loss.

    47. and Rosethorn gave the game away.

      tie game, Rangers on the PP, and ROSIVAL hands the puck away, then falls down and gives the Flyers a 2-on-0 easy goal.

      that was the turning point, period.

      rosival stunk, period.

    48. Roszival did play terrible today so did the whole D… Girardi did not play well(I lIke him). The goalies and D played bad.

      Jagr played well, avery, and who else?? Prucha had many scoring opptys.

    49. Stuart

      How about just going undefeated enough to make the playoffs??

      They can’t even do that.

      FOR SALE sign stays up!!

    50. Injury List:

      Ward – hurt hand punching

      Shanahan – collision, probably concussion

      Lundqvist – shoulder

      Malik – upper body injury.

      Looks like Ward will be OK to play, the other guys, definitely not.

      Will we see Montoya, Callahan and Pock in tomorrow’s lineup?

    51. Lenny if they torture you so much why do you watch? You know the results, why put yourself thru so much pain???

      Their home record is unbeleivable….

    52. Original Title of this post remains 100% accurate-

      “How about we play at your place?”

      SO SAD

    53. Lenny.. They are a infuriating team because my guess(I hope I am wrong) is they will do just enough this yr. not too make the playoffs. Like today’s game they did play hard, had a chance, but I did not think they ever would get the W.

      I hope I am wrong but their play this yr. makes it hard to be confident..

    54. Biggest need for the Rangers is a couple of tough defensemen and a big enforcer up front. Hopefully they’ll sign Souray next season. What an upgrade from Malik. They need to make a deal for a George Larouche or a Breshears or a Fedourok or equivalent.

      A better backup goalie they’ll need also.

    55. awful game in every way imaginable. Is it me or does it seem that we always run into awsome goaltending against?

    56. I disagree. The rough stuff is overstated..The red wings are they tough? No.

      How about Nashwille? No.

      they have enough toughness… they need seconday scoring and better D.. Tyutin is not a #1 his offensive skills are no way their..

      Jagr is great but they defer too much too him… SHoot the puck……..

    57. Avery-Cullen-Orty would make a good line.

      Hossa-Straka-Jagr

      Prucha-Nylander-Callahan

      av-Cu-ort

      Hollweg-Betts-Orr

    58. Stuart,

      No the wings are not tough, but they were abused and lost to the very same flyers team earlier last week.

      And nashville is a tough team as they have hordichuk, shea weber, jordin tootoo, scott nichol, sheldon brookbank (who was sent back down). laso jason arrnott who can drop them when he wants and even zidlicky and suter have gone in the past. so next time now what you’re talking about before you post.

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