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Panthers host Rangers at 5 to close 3-game roadie

 

                     Did ya know that last month was the chilliest December on record for Fort Lauderdale, Naples, Miami, Palm Beach...? Heard that on the radio driving through some eerie wisps of ground fog on Alligator Alley just before 2 a.m. this morning en route here from Tampa.

                   Anyway, metrological oddities aside, the Rangers hit Sunrise (the city), this afternoon to close a three-game stretch away from the Garden in which they are 1-0-1 follow the 2-1 OT loss to the Lightning. Coach John Tortorella said he hopes his charges weren't satisfied with the point last night, and they shouldn't be.  

                  If they score a few goals tonight, the Rangers (with 47 points) would clear the 120 mark and put themselves in the Top 4 with Philly, Pitt and Atlanta in the East.  Tomas Vokoun is a quality stopper, though. Expect Martin Biron to be between the pipes for the Blueshirts and Michael Del Zotto to dress after sitting four games. Surely could use a burst of offense from the rested DZ. 

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                 Winter Classic. Only saw highlights, but how could it have lived up to the relentless hype in the rain and at night?  One network TV source told me yesterday that Detroit and Philly are in the hopper to play host to the game next season, but assessment of teams and TV markets by NBC---not thrilled with the weather and the time change---continues. Personally, I was looking forward more to HBO's 24/7, which delivered the goods.

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                  Remember to follow me here and on twitter.com/stevezipay for news and commentary, pre-game  (Tortorella will take questions at 3 ), during and post.....

 

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