Our crack research staff here at Blog Headquarters — also known as me with a dog-eared media guide — says the Rangers haven’t had home-ice advantage in a playoff series since an opening-round win against the Canadiens in 1996.
(First prize to the reader who can guess the team’s top three playoff scorers that year. If you guessed Mark Messier, Pat Verbeek, and Adam Graves, you either cheated with the same media guide, or you’re Pat Verbeek).
But that’s the team’s goal coming out of the All-Star break this season, as “detailed in my story in today’s paper.”:http://www.lohud.com/article/20090127/SPORTS01/901270392/-1/SPORTS.
“Our goal is to get well over 100 points this year. If we get that, we can get one of the top three spots in the conference,” defenseman Paul Mara said. “Right now, if you look at the first four teams in the division, it’s so tight. Every game is vitally important for us, and we’re going in with that mind-set.”
That starts tonight against the Hurricanes, with Stephen Valiquette in net. We’ll have more on lineups from the skate in a bit…
Update, 11:07 a.m.: So I was half right. Or half wrong. Lauri Korpikoski is in, and will skate on a line with Nigel Dawes and Chris Drury. But Petr Prucha is in fact out again, meaning Aaron Voros will skate on a line with Brandon Dubinsky and Nikolai Zherdev.
“It’s specific of what our team needs,” Tom Renney said of the lineup decision, referring mostly to Voros’ size.
Renney also said he spoke to Voros about the three penalties he took in the last game against Anaheim.
“Talked to him about it. I think he had a tough call on one of them,” Renney said. ” And he was doing what we asked him to do.”
The boys at the Faceoff blog tackle the question of the Rangers’ playoff chances this season. Check “it out here.”:http://faceoff.lohudblogs.com/