As discussed in yesterday’s live chat----which set a record for those joining in, many thanks---at the halfway point of the season, Carolina and Montreal may be the two teams to beat for the Rangers to secure a playoff spot. Your Blueshirts (22-15-3) face each team twice in the next 30 days, beginning tonight against the Hurricanes at MSG.
Canes goaltender Cam Ward can shut anybody down and the Rangers have just four goals and one empty-netter in the last three games. The last time Eric Staal and the Canes were here, on Oct. 29, the Rangers lost 4-3.
"We've got to have better starts and I've got to put more pucks in the net," Brandon Dubinsky told me after practice yesterday, adding that he felt the Rangers' north-south style would help in the grind of the second half of the season. "I'm getting 20 minutes of ice time, with all the injuries, and have to step up."
After struggling on Broadway to start the season, the Rangers are 9-8-2 at the Garden and 7-3-1 in their last 11 home games. It’s a short stay in Manhattan. The Rangers visit Dallas on Friday and St. Louis on Saturday, stay tuned for all of our daily, up to the minute coverage and commentary on the road here, at twitter.com/stevezipay, and in the paper, of course.
The annual Blue Notes half-season grades, which always trigger some chirping and disputes, coming tomorrow. Don't expect any curves from the professor.
We’ll be back with more later….