Rangers were to spend last night at a New Jersey hotel and have an optional morning skate at The Rock at 11:30. We'll report from there. For those up far too early, that means the rink, not the hotel. Room service!
Even with a regulation win against Devs, your NYR cannot climb into a tie for eighth. Bruins grabbed a point last night and are three up.
Replay of yesterday's live chat is available in previous post.
Follow me in Newark today and tonight here and at twitter.com/stevezipay
Here''s my story that appeared in this morning's Newsday. NCN. (No Click Necessary)
Stat of the day: 3-9.
Should the Rangers fail to make the playoffs for the first time since the lockout in 2004-05, one determining factor could be how poorly the Blueshirts have played beyond the 60-minute-mark.
“We’ve had 12 extra points on the board and we’ve only picked up three,” coach John Tortorella explained yesterday. “We’re 3 and 9 and those are points that come back and bite you. We’re 2-3 in the shootout and 1-6 in 4 on 4 (overtime),” including Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Sabres .
Tortorella has long lamented that the Rangers cannot complete plays with goals. These numbers indicate a further lack of finish. “In the 4 on 4 you have to have the mentality to try and win, but you can’t be sloppy about it,” he said. “We do have a pretty good goalie as far as shootouts. That’s the frustrating part in losing games 4 on 4,” he said. “Not even getting them to the shootout.”
One of the shootouts, a 1-0 loss on Jan. 12, came against the Devils, who host the Rangers in Newark tonight. The Rangers (29-28-9, 15-13-3 away) won two of the other three games and have eight goals to the Devils’ seven. The teams face off again in Newark on March 25.
The No. 1 line of Vinny Prospal, Erik Christensen and Marian Gaborik, will get “another whack”, said Tortorella, who has been quick to mix and match all season. “I thought (Gaborik) was more engaged…but they weren’t on the scoresheet. I hope they at least get some offensive chances.” An All-American line of Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury and Brandon Dubinsky skated together and Tortorella, who was pleased with the second-half performance of the trio of Sean Avery-Artem Anisimov-Olli Jokinen against Buffalo, will start with that unit also. “I thought Sean and Joks did a really good job underneath the hashmarks, forechecking, holding on to pucks,” he said.
Gaborik, the team’s leading scorer who has not skated at full strength the last two games after a suspected groin pull in the Olympics, said having Monday to rest helped. “I feel better,” he said, “Good practice today. I have to play every game starting tomorrow. There’s no easy game down the stretch. We have to put even more pucks on the net against (Martin) Brodeur.”
Gaborik even flashed a sense of humor when a reporter noted that he stayed on the ice shooting after practice ended. Near the end of practice exactly a month ago, on Feb. 9, Gaborik was practicing one-on-ones against Henrik Lundqvist when he tried to leap over the goaltender, whose skate slashed into his right thigh, a deep gash that forced him to miss a game against Nashville and limit his ice time to 4:02 against the Penguins before he left for Vancouver.
“Yeah, I was going to do breakaways,” he said, “but I didn’t, just in case.”
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