With the Rangers magic number at 11, a win against the lowly –overall lowly, but lately good– Thrashers, and it comes down to 9. Ilya Kovalchuk has been absolutely on fire, with 32 points in his last 18 games, so shutting him down, or at least containing him, is a must tonight. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen had been playing very well before blowing up and allowing 6 goals in each of his past two games. A fast start against a struggling goaltender is the best way to deliver a knockout blow.
Our Blueshirts, coming off a snoozer (but well played snoozer), will look to expand on that Tuesday win with Steve Valliquette in net tonight. There are no new lineup changes tonight, as Rozsival is still out and Voros will be the healthy scratch. Michael Sauer will play in his second career NHL game after a very successful debut on Tuesday.
I’m not saying yes to a live blog of the game, but I’m not saying no either. We will see how the game progresses, and how the NCAA games tonight go. I’ll have the Ranger game on TV with the NCAA games on Picture-In-Picture.
Other games of note tonight:
- Montreal hosts Tampa: Montreal tries to solidy their playoff position while closing the gap on the 7 seed Rangers.
- Florida at Philly: If Florida loses, and the Rangers win, the magic number dips to 7.
It’s a 7pm start tonight on MSG. Enjoy. More later, maybe.
Update 7:00pm: After watching the replay of Gomez’s goal from last night, all I have to say is wow, what a rip. I haven’t seen him shoot like that since he was a Devil.
Update 7:05pm: I added a counter for the magic number, it’s on the right. This way you won’t have to search through posts to find it.
Update 7:08pm: There are about 7 people in the stands in Atlanta.
Update 7:13pm: I forgot I have a fantasy baseball draft tonight at 8, so I’ll be live blogging the first period only. Sorry.
Update 7:15pm: I don’t know if I agree with the call on Kovalchuk. The refs really aren’t letting anything go tonight. But hey, the Rangers get a two-man advantage in a bit. And as I write this, Hainsey puts it into the crowd. This will be a very long 5-on-3.
Update 7:17pm: I lied, too many men on the ice for the Rangers. Figures. Way to kill momentum.
Update 7:18pm: That’s above the crossbar. No goal.
Update 7:27pm: Almost seven minutes into the game, and only two have been played at 5-on-5.
Update 7:37pm: Staal just gets better and better each day. Two solid plays there.
Update 7:44pm: Avery never touched Lehtonen. Wow.
Update 7:48pm: Wow. when Zherdev is on, he is on. What patience behind the net, what a good pass to Mara, what a play getting the loose puck, and what a shot. Zherdev from Dubinsky and Sjostrom. 1-0 Rangers.
Update 7:50pm: 1-0 Rangers end of 1. Great goal by Zherdev. Great play by Vally in net. I have my draft now. Enjoy the game.