80° Good Afternoon
80° Good Afternoon

Vampire Weekend: Bell Center and the Flyers

Both have left the Rangers bloodied.

I know it's only 9:30 or so on the morning after a terrific game with a playoff atmosphere at Madison Square Garden, underscored by a 60-minute effort from the net out, and readers want the joy to continue washing over them for a few hours. I won't spoil it...will raise some points though.

One goal. Good chances, but one goal. Cory Schneider is Luongo's heir apparent, and some could argue that he's the best backup in the league. (I'd also nominate Tuukka Rask) So....but that's 12 goals in eight games, no? Next up, Carey Price.

But we've come to expect that now from your Rangers: tight checking, one-goal games, where an error can be decisive. This edition of the Blueshirts, winning four of the last five, hangs in, 18-0-0 when leading after 40 minutes and as John Tortorella said, "the third periods have been our best." The numbers: 47 goals to 37 in the thirds.

To get back to the top. Bell Centre has not been kind. The Canadiens won 5-4 in OT and 6-0 at home last season, although Jaro Halak was in net. In the 6-0 game, Lundqvist was yanked for Matt Zaba. In 2008-09, the Habs won 6-2 and lost 4-3 in a shootout.

There is a revenge factor to consider up in Montreal, where I'll be flying shortly. The Rangers have a score to settle tomorrow with P.K. Subban, who took some liberties in the 2-1 Canadiens win at MSG on Tuesday. The Flyers, who cruise into Manhattan from Atlanta on Saturday and can rest while the battle at the Bell Centre unfolds, will be ready for Sunday.

The Flyers have won 4-1 twice in Philly this season. But the Rangers have shown they can go toe to toe with the Canucks, Hawks, Caps, Pens and Stars. And they are improved at home, now 9-4-1 in the last 14 at MSG.

So clear the decks, folks, get ready for yet another back-to-back weekend. More coming up later today....

And don't forget: for pre-game, in-game, post-game, practice reports, snotes, quotes, stats, sudden insights while travelling, music in my head, artful dodging and the usual rambles.



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