Update 9:30pm: With the regulation loss, and Buffalo/Carolina each getting at least a point, the Rangers have dropped to 7th place in the East (8th if Buffalo wins), just 2 points ahead of Carolina.
If there was ever a crucial game for the Rangers, this would be it. The Rangers sit 2 points ahead of Florida for 6th in the conference, but Florida has 2 games in hand. They also sit just 1, I’ll even spell it out for you, ONE, point out of 9th place.
They need this game, no if, ands, or buts about it. Not only do they need this win, but they need it in regulation. Buffalo (#8) faces Carolina (#9) tonight as well. Should the Rangers lose, and Buffalo wins, the Rangers drop to the #8 seed. If Carolina wins, the Rangers drop to the #7 seed. I’m not going to run all the scenarios, but I hope this illustrates the urgency behind this game.
The Panthers website is reporting that Vokoun will be a game time decision tonight. Not like that matters, Craig Anderson is a very capable backup, and has given the Rangers some problems in net.
Update 6:15pm: Now that the game gets nearer, I’ll move this up to the first post on the page, ahead of the Whitney/Kunitz trade.
None of the beat reporters have lines up, and it looks like Torts isn’t going to disclose that information until game time.
My guess is that he will be using the same lines as last night, maybe inserting Mark Bell somewhere.
Tomas Vokoun has an inner ear infection, and it looks like Craig Anderson will get the start tonight.
Update 6:35pm: Reitz/Sjostrom out, Mara/Voros in.
Update 7:10pm: They aren’t even going to review that? Well, I guess if Torts isn’t arguing, it’s no goal.
Update 7:14pm: Well, the Rangers have been generating some good chances early on, including that no goal by Dubinsky. Let’s see if they keep this up.
Update 7:17pm: What a save by Hank. Wow.
Update 7:22pm: That’s what happens when you drive to the net. Nice play by Callahan to get the puck out of the zone, nice pass by Kalinin to Gomez, nice job by Naslund to get the loose puck into the net. 1-0 Rangers. Naslund from Gomez and Kalinin.
Update 7:30pm: So that’s what Glen Sather looks like…
Update 7:36pm: Denis Potvin is in the house, on the 30th anniversary of his hit on Nilsson.
Update 7:39pm: The Rangers are getting a lot of good shots on net. Craig Anderson is standing on his head.
Update 7:43pm: Phantom call on Rozsival to end the period. 1-0, end of 1.
Update 8:03pm: Even the penalty is more aggressive under this new system. They are certainly much more fun to watch.
Update 8:04pm: Wow. Craig Anderson just made an absurd save. He is single-handedly keeping the Panthers in this game.
Update 8:20pm: The PP will take some time to get used to the adjustments. Micheletti said it best, it’s not natural yet to rotate around. It will take time.
Update 8:30pm: Lift the puck please. That’s twice.
Hit the net please. Disregard, deflected by Anderson.
Update 8:54pm: Dubinsky and Staal are the ice time leaders for forwards/defense through 2 periods. Good to know Torts trusts the sophomores.
Update 8:59pm: Nice passing play on the PP, nice save by Anderson. I think the Rangers would need a 5-on-2 to score a goal though.
Update 9:03pm: Oh come on Gomez. How do you not bury that? It was an empty net and the puck was on your stick. What the hell man?
Update 9:07pm: The Rangers are looking real tired right now.
Update 9:09pm: Ouch. Zednik just took a slap shot off the neck. This man and his neck, he’s just unlucky.
Update 9:10pm: Oh man, it was a McCabe shot too. That has to hurt.
Update 9:12pm: Crap. Booth slides it through Hank’s legs. Hank wants that one back. 1-1. Booth from Weiss and Ballard.
Update 9:16pm: Someone blew an assignment. Horton was left wide open. 2-1 Panthers. Horton from Zednik and McCabe. The Rangers need a goal, and they probably won’t get it.
Update 9:21pm: It was Gomez that blew the assignment. So he couldn’t score and blew that assignment. That’s a 2 goal swing courtesy of one player.
Update 9:22pm: And the FIRE SATHER chant rains down from the heavens (the Blue Seats).
Update 9:30pm: Another Ranger loss. This one in regulation. I’ll put the updated standings at the top of the post.