The best news for the Rangers yesterday, other than Henrik Lundqvist’s All-Star selection, is that the Thrashers pounced on the Devils, meaning the Rangers hold onto fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
It’s a long way from those heady autumn days when the thought of home-ice through the playoffs wasn’t met with a hearty chuckle.
Either way, tonight is a big one for the Rangers, and it looks like Stephen Valiquette, who needed stitches below his shoulder this week after a Dan Fritsche slap shot in practice tore through his pads, will get the nod.
Why Valiquette tonight and Lundqvist tomorrow? Maybe because of recent history. Lundqvist lost the last time out against Buffalo. Valiquette lost last time against Ottawa. So if you’re Tom Renney, why not flip-flop the two and hope for a better fate?
The game is the first of five straight away from the Garden for the Rangers, although it doesn’t really qualify as a road trip when you consider they’ll be home after the game in Ottawa on Saturday (weather permitting), take the bus out to the Island on Tuesday, then not fly out to Chicago until Thursday.
On the Faceoff blog, Sam Borden and Rick Carpiniello “debate the biggest rivalries in New York sports”:http://faceoff.lohudblogs.com/, with Rangers-Islanders (but not Rangers-Devils) earning consideration.
Update, 1:30 p.m.: As expected, Marc Staal and Brandon Dubinsky were named to the YoungStars game Jan. 23. And Steve Valiquette is officially in net tonight.