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Overcast 33° Good Morning

Sunday soiree: Long December continues into January


             Whenever the Rangers play the Bruins, according to coach John Tortorella, “we always put the word ‘grind’ up on the board.”

            The reminder has certainly been effective. The Blueshirts won their third of three games against the Bruins this season yesterday afternoon, as Brandon Dubinsky scored and added two assists in a 3-1 win that pushed their run to 8-1-3.




             At 22-17-6, the Rangers seem to be emerging from the pack of mediocre teams in the mid to lower half of the East and find themselves in sixth place, a point out of fifth. And four of the next five games are at MSG. 
             The Rangers will need to grind for the remainder of January, although they should have second-leading scorer Vinny Prospal (right knee surgery on Dec. 28) back in the mix this week. 
              How that affects the No. 1 line of Brandon Dubinsky (center turned left wing), Erik Christensen (from waiver wire to part of team's resurgence) and Marian Gaborik (still on pace for 50 goals despite not scoring in three of the last four games) has yet to be detemined.  
             Prospal could step back in as the top center, and Christensen could drop to a second, third or fourth line. Chris Drury could move to wing. Christensen could be on the fourth line, with Brian Boyle shifting to the outside. We'll see. Point is, Rangers have some depth at center again.
             There are 11 games in the 21 days remaining this month, including two back-to-backs, this coming weekend and the final weekend on the West Coast. First up is Tuesday's match against the Devils at the Garden, where a well-rested (no practice again today) Henrik Lundqvist will start, almost assuredly against Marty Brodeur. We'll have plenty more on that tomorrow....

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