Did anybody predict, despite the softness of this schedule, that the Rangers would get nine out of 10 points? Seriously, anybody?
Tonight’s a pretty dangerous game against a bad team, one that sometimes gets pumped up when an Original Six comes to its middle-of-nowhere, name-always-changing arena. It’s a dangerous game because the Rangers have, on occasion, shown that they get full of themselves after a big win, and come out at scrimmage-speed, 75 percent or so, gliding … and get behind early.
OK, the score last night wasn’t indicative of the game, not entirely. The Rangers got the fluky goals off skates, as opposed to vice versa as they usually do.
But the goals were a product of a forecheck, of puck possession, and of doing something they kept singing about the first half of the season but rarely did: Get pucks and bodies to the net!
That’s a great recipe, no matter how much or how little skill you have. It would serve the Rangers well to do that again. And again. And again. And again. And again.
The Rangers’ little streak here has probably eliminated them from finishing in the depths of the Least and getting a really good pick. I know some of you are still torn about whether you want them to make it or not. But I know from experience that you’ll all be going nuts next weekend, and if they make it you’ll all be aboard the bandwagon, thinking they’re going to beat the Capitals or Penguins in the first round.
Perhaps the only bad news the Rangers have gotten in the last few days is that Brian Bush-League had a nice bounce-back game in Philly’s net, after a disaster against the Isles.
So here’s the race:
6. Montreal 4 GR 38 W 84 Points.
7. Boston 5 GR 35 W 82 Points.
8. Philly 4 GR 38 W 82 Points.
9. Rangers 5 GR 35 W 80 Points.
10. Atlanta 4 GR 34 W 80 Points.
11. Carolina 4 GR 33 W 76 Points.
Games of relevance today:
Atlanta-Pittsburgh at 1 p.m.; Boston-Toronto, Buffalo-Montreal, Rangers-Florida all at 7 p.m.