69° Good Morning
69° Good Morning

Fearless forecast as struggling Rangers gird for Canucks


                  Greetings from Vancouver, where the Rangers will have to play a complete game to snap out of the winless column tomorrow.

                  Some fearless forecasts, based on interviews and reading between the lines from Torts' comments: Kris Newbury will play and center a fourth line, Erik Christensen will sit.

                 Wojtek Wolski will play, even if he's not 100 percent. Mike Sauer won't play, and neither will Brendan Bell.

                  Henrik Lundqvist will make his fourth straight start. Gives you the best chance to win or get a point.


Some details:

                Sauer (shoulder) will miss his second consecutive game and presumably more. Sauer practiced and said it was good to handle the puck, but wasn’t shooting.  “I don’t want to be flinging it out there. I can’t go out there one-armed. I’ve got to get it strong and I’ve got to get it healthy so there’s not another setback.”…



Derek Stepan will stay with Richards and Marian Gaborik on the top line. Torts: “He pressures the puck on the goal (against the Islanders) by Gabby, he really creates that. He makes a couple other nice plays as far as being hard on the puck. He was probably one of our most physical forwards.”…


Mats Zuccarello was sent to the AHL because Artem Ansimov is being given more power play time on the second unit, Tortorella said....


The two most recent callups, Brendan Bell and Kris Newbury, practiced. “I like the way Newbs handles himself, he’s a little bit old time,” Torts said, noting saying that the center, "who was fat" worked hard to get in shape during the summer. “He deserves the opportunity. I like his jam.”  Tortorella did not commit to Bell playing on Tuesday.



Special teams update.


                 The Rangers are 0 for 12 on the power play and their march to the penalty box is allowing too many man-advantages.

                  Watch out for the Canucks, who are 5 for 21 on the power play. And finally rejoining the club after recovering from late July hip surgery is Ryan Kesler, who had 15 goals on the power play last season.

                   So, avoid penalties. Or perish.

                   After practice at Rogers Arena, Tortorella wasn’t buying the notion that referees might be a little inconsistent early in the season, with tighter calls and a focus on physical play.

                  “Listen, we have to be a team that understands the way these games are called,” said Tortorella. “I think we know how they’re gonna call these games. We have to be more disciplined, plain and simple.”

                    The buzz here is that the Western Conference champs have been choppy from period to period in posting a 2-2-1 record, although the Rangers (0-1-2) would certainly take that mark after the games here and in Calgary on Thursday.

                  “We haven’t put in a 60-minute game,” said Ryan Callahan. And Tortorella conceded that playmaking free agent Brad Richards “needs to control (the power play) a little more.”

                  On the other hand, the Rangers have to balance a sense of aggressiveness and caution, which can be tricky.  

                  It’s not solely the inability of the defensemen making a pass to clear the zone and start a breakout, Tortorella said. “I don’t think we have taken time and space. I don’t think we’ve been hard enough away from the puck, and that’s not just the six defensemen. If we want to get into a situation where we can even try to win a game, we have to be better there.”





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