Very quick preview today as everyone in rangerface-land is fighting some kind of flu or something.
The Rangers host the Panthers tonight at MSG in a crucial matchup. The Rangers, who without Henrik Lundqvist would most likely be the Panthers, need two points to stay above the playoffs cut line.
Based on their performance against the Flyers, two points are anything but guaranteed.
The formula is simple: for a full 60 minutes, skate hard, forecheck, cover your man, get shots on goal, crash rebounds and find a power play. Will the team execute that formula? Who knows? Will the coach present that game plan? Who knows? Statistically speaking, based on prior performances, this should be a low scoring game that comes down to special teams. Will this be the night the Rangers find a power play? Who knows?
The Panthers, leading contenders in the Seth Jones Sweepstakes are terrible. The Cats have had about as disappointing season as the NYR. They do have rookie standout Jonathan Huberdeau and Peter Mueller and his wonderful hair, but otherwise they are pretty light. However, the woeful club did manage to beat the Blueshirts 3-1 at Madison Square Garden in March.
Curiously, Chris Kreider was called up from Hartford to fill the “void” left by Brian Boyle’s absence. Kredier is currently tied with Boyle in goals this season with 2 despite playing 21 less games than the hulking disappointment. Boyle 2-3-5 and minus 13 on the season will be sorely un-missed.
It’s curious because, Krieder, a Torts favorite, should get a couple of early shifts before being stapled to the bench by his clueless coach. Brooks has an excellent take on it here.
All that matters tonight is getting the two points. There are 6 games left and 12 available points and the Rangers need to start putting some in the bank before it’s too late.