....where it's lonely at the top---er, bottom---which is where your Rangers are headed if they perform as witnessed at MSG last night.

           But it will also be unusually empty in the RBC visitors press box in a few hours, because I'm flying solo as the rest of the regular four or five NY/NJ print guys on the circuit are either headed to or in Boston for the Winter Classic or hanging by the fireplace gripping a tall martini with olives....So check in here and at twitter.com/stevezipay for all the on-site updates, starting with the coach at about 6 p.m.

          Actually, the crack MSG Network TV and radio crew is in town and this gem dropped into my inbox from Kenny Albert. So I'll share:

           The last Ranger win on New Year's Eve was on 12/31/02 (they have only played one New Year's Eve game since then).  Ranger goal scorers in the game: Joel Bouchard and Bobby Holik. It was here in Carolina. The last 11 Ranger games on New Year's Eve have been on road. The last New Year's Eve home game? 1989 against the Penguins.

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            There was no skate today---what else can be said after the 6-0 toasting by the Flyers?---so the lineup, other than Henrik Lundqvist, is uncertain, but we'll get it to ya as soon as inhumanly possible.

           For the obvious reasons, expect a rebound tonight (can they play any worse than last night?), but whether that will be enough to get by the Canes is anybody's guess. Carolina is healthier and beat the Caps 6-3 the other night. The Canes PP is 10-for 42 in December; 23.8 percent; as opposed to 13 percent for the season before the last 12 games. They have earned points in four of the last six home games.

        More in a bit....