Rangers Look to Spoil Pens 2012 Debut. By Mike Ferruzzi
Rangers Pre-Game Report -Friday January 6th 2012
New York Rangers (25-9-4) at Pittsburgh Penguins
Consol Energy Center. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Our heroes from Broadway travel to Western Pennsylvania tonight to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins for game 2 of the 6 part series of divisional play. The last meeting saw the boys in blue close out November with a 4-3 win over the flightless birds who did have Sidney Crosby back in the line, a luxury the Pens won’t have for this tilt.
Pittsburgh, coming off a 5 day rest will try to take advantage of some weary Ranger legs after last night’s OT win against the Panthers, but John Tortorella has his men conditioned and performing well in back to back games so I expect a great matchup.
Unlike the bunch of loudmouth trash talkers from the other side of Pennsylvania that were exposed by HBO camera’s, this Pennsylvania team is filled with guys who have recently won something and conduct themselves accordingly. They won’t try to win this game with their mouths; they will try and win it with their heads…and sticks. Pittsburgh has done an excellent job of remaining highly competitive with the best player in the world out of their lineup. They do it with skill, effort and preparation. Dan Bylsma always has his team ready for a big game.
The Rangers will return the throne to their king tonight after giving him a night off against Florida. Lundqvist is putting together another brilliant season worthy of Vezina consideration with a GAA below 2.00 and a .937 save percentage. Marc Staal will continue to find his legs on the backend playing in his 3rd game of the season. It will be a good test of his progress to see how he feels after back to back games. With him healthy and in form, the Blueshirts actually have another level of stinginess they can achieve.
I’ll be interested to see if Tortorella goes with Wojtek Wolski tonight to rest Ruslan Fedetenko, whose game has slipped a bit of late, and get Wolski’s legs going after a long absence. Tortorella has done a masterful job of managing his lineup and motivating his troops this season and is beginning to get some Jack Adams buzz. I wonder how his willingness to spout off in front of the cameras may effect that happening though. One thing I’m sure is Torts won’t care. He’s locked in on winning and 2 points out of every contest will be the only way his players can satisfy him from here on out, off nights be damned!
Hockey This Week
Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeFerruzzi