This is the end. The final game on this most injurious road trip is upon the Anaheim Ducks. They come off a win against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night, which means that no matter what happens tonight, the team had a successful record on the road trip. The cost for this success has been approximately one healthy player per game. Bugger.
The New York Rangers just came off a big win against the Carolina Hurricanes. It is one in which Derek Stepan scored his first, second, and third of the season. (He’s a pretty good player, see.)
The last time the Blue Shirts and Patos met up, a severe (non-goalie fight) beating was laid down. The Ducks came out ahead 6-0, which made the Rags very sad, I’m sure. In case you weren’t aware though, the Rangers played like 50 years on the road because MSG had been in the process of renovation – and as we know, extended road trips are tough.
In other words, our club caught their club at the right moment, and they pounced. This game should be a much tougher affair, as New York is finally back home and playing a bit better overall.
Keys to the Game: The aforementioned Stepan is a good player. With his first three goals scored in his last game, he could be a hot player the Ducks need to watch. Brad Richards has also been playing some good hockey to start the year. Or at least, he hasn’t been playing bad enough for everyone to complain about him. I don’t watch the Rags at all, so I have no idea.
My key for this game is to complete it without costing us another man. I don’t think I’m being selfish here. I mean, sure, I want to see Emerson Etem and Devante Smith-Pelly both score back-to-back natural hat tricks, but that’s not asking for too much now is it. I want to see the team play a smart game, one that results in a win, and one that results in every member on the roster finishing the game.
What Can We Learn From this Game: Is it possible to decline power plays? If not, is it possible to sit a man on the bench, opening up the game for a 4-on-4? These are things I want to learn, and I want to learn them tonight, in this game, and at the expense of ever having to watch this power play ever again.
Since Boudreau reunited the oafiest line of oafs ever oafed – Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Dustin Penner – I want to see them play together again. And again. This is a line that shouldn’t have any success in the fast-paced offense Gabby has the team playing, but then again mere words cannot properly qualify the amazement of this line. Good things happen when they play together thus far in the season, and I want to see it again against the Rangers.
Fearless Prediction: There won’t be a goalie fight in this game. Perry will run a goalie, however, and then look at the referee like a man who for all the evidence to the contrary was pushed into the crease.
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