advertisement | advertise on newsday

                         OK, you vote on the fourth line for next game against the Flyers:Voros, Brashear, Byers?

               Here's my thoughts after a quick nap:
 
               The sand in the hourglass is beginning to slide
faster.
                 After Saturday's tilt with the Canadiens here, the Rangers have 10 games remaining before the Winter Olympics break---and 11 before the annual trade deadline. The urgency players agree, is there.
                And all but five of the final 30 games of the regular season (Phoenix, Colorado, Los Angeles on the road, Nashville and St. Louis at home) are against Eastern Conference teams.
                  So the hunt for the Rangers fifth consecutive playoff berth since the lockout will be decided against familiar foes, like Montreal.
                 In the wake of a 2-0 lockdown by the Flyers, the Rangers will face a team that surely must be thinking payback for a 6-2 loss at the Garden last Sunday that included two fights and 46 minutes in penalties in the second period.
                 But as in the previous matchup, the Canadiens will be facing the Blueshirts in the second game of a back-to-back, having played Friday night in New Jersey. The Rangers cannot let many such chances slip away.
                 “After two games when we score 14 goals, we’re right back where we were going into St. Louis (after back-to-back shutouts),” said Vinny Prospal.  “It just shouldn’t happen. We’re a successful team when we can cycle the puck, but 5 on 5, we just couldn’t do it.”           
                Meanwhile, the debate rages among fans over the Rangers’ response---or non-response---to the Dan Carcillo-Marian Gaborik fight. Dan Girardi said after the game that it was a split-second decision, that he probably should have jumped in and taken the game misconduct for being the third man in, and would the next time. In his post-game remarks, Tortorella said the matter had been addressed.
                   With that matter in the rear-view mirror, and assuming the team now will deal with Carcillo and other goons appropriately, the Rangers (24-20-7) need to answer quickly---with smarts, muscle and goals.
                “We had a lot of turnovers,” said Tortorella, who kept the team off the ice today. “I don’t think we did a good enough job of trying to chip the puck behind them and try to forecheck. They beat us to pucks. When they pressured, they sustained it. When we had the opportunities, we were late. ” 
 
*** 
                Henrik Lundqvist, who has played ten straight games allowing two or fewer goals, will be back in net at Bell Centre, where he has allowed 14 goals in his last three starts. The Rangers lost 5-4 in overtime on the third goal of Mike Cammalleri’s hat trick on Oct. 24, 6-2 last Dec. 4 and won 4-3 in a shootout last March 17. Carey Price is expected to be in goal for the Canadiens.