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Rangers-Lightning Preview

November 27, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments

Itll soon be the day after Thanksgiving which means plenty of puck all day, including the Devils in Beantown with a noon start and the Islanders hosting the Pens at 2 while Buffalo visits Philly in between. As for the Blueshirts, theyll be where they were over the turkey, stuffing, string bean caserole, yams and cranberry sauce- down in southern Florida getting ready to face the Lightning at St. Pete Times Forum with faceoff at 7:30.

Theyll be coming in off a 2-1 skill competition win over Florida off the stick of new hero P.A. Parenteau, who bailed out our overrated goalie after he permitted a Dominic Moore beach ball that handed the Panthers a free point in a game the Rangers controlled on Turkey Eve. I saw exactly none of it because I was out with friends. But did get a text from Dad that Parenteau won it and was pleased because even if Chris Drury returned and setup Gabbys league-leading 19th on the PP, PA deserves to stay. He has good offensive instincts and at least warrants third line status. When Brandon Dubinsky returns, they can scratch Donald Brashear, whos just cashing a paycheck. When Aaron Voros and even Matt Gilroy are standing up for mates while Brash only fights at inopportune moments, somethings wrong. Huggy Bear is useless. Ales Kotalik sat out banged up. When he returns, sit Brash. If they send down Parenteau, thatll be sad.

The Rangers should have some momentum from a positive emotional win in which they overcame being one defenseman down with Wade Redden missing almost the entire game due to an early hit. Tinmans status isnt known and the club finally recalled Bobby Sanguinetti. So, the Jersey kid could see his first action much later tonight. In his second pro season with the Wolf Pack, the former 06 No.1 pick is over a point-a-game with six goals and 16 assists for 22 points in 21 games. Perhaps the 21 year-old Trenton native is ready. Even if Redden is alright, its worth finding out. Give him an extra day to recoup and see what Sangs can do. While many might joke about how Reds aint worth his pay, he has put out a solid effort in Year 2. Its Michal Rozsival who must be replaced. Id much rather have a blueline that includes Sangs, Gilroy and hotshot MDZ. But wed probably sacrifice the season. A Dolan no no.

The Bolts have been better this season. Especially thanks to Steven Stamkos (15 G) making Barry Melrose eat crow. The super soph is a lock for 40 and eventually should blossom into a 50-goalscorer. Theres also Martin St. Louis and Vinny C. Vinny Prospal should feel right at home playing his former teammates. Hes been brilliant for us teaming with The Big Ticket and you just know he wants to have a huge night after being bought out. After a brutal start, Alex Tanguays finally heating up (4-6-10 in last 9 GP). Antero Niittymakis been stellar in net, emerging over Mike Smith as the No.1 goalie. He actually has outplayed Henrik Lundqvist so far. Ryan Malone has also been a constant for the Bolts. Good thing they didnt trade him. As a fantasy owner, Im not complaining!

Tampa has kind of a no-name revamped D thats done a decent job with 2009 No.2 overally pick Victor Hedman along with Swedish countryman Mattias Ohlund helping out along with Matt Walker. Andrej Meszaros logs big minutes and possesses a booming shot. Remarkably, David Hale plays and Kurtis Foster is actually healthy as is the underrated Lukas Krajicek. Good thing they have more depth because Paul Ranger has been away for two months due to a personal matter.
Roommate Foster sums it up best:

In the long run, were hockey players, but were human beings. As cliche as that sounds, we want the best for each other whether it is on the ice or off. If you need to deal with stuff off the ice, were there with him and behind him. Hopefully, he comes back sooner rather than later because he can really help our team.

Hopefully, hell be back soon. Who are we kidding? Hes just holding out until he fulfills his destiny and becomes a Ranger! ;-) So, is it the D? Well, hardly as they get outshot daily. Its something like 13 of the last 14. Niitty is standing on his head. How else to explain a 2.19 GAA and .930 save percentage? Is that cause hes mad the Flyers dumped him for Crazy Ray Emery? Who else cant wait for the Brian Boucher Era II in Philly?

Expect a competitive game. Especially with both clubs at 25 points with Tampa playing two less at this still early juncture. Its advisable that the Rangers get it cause the next two are a home-and-home with the irksome Pens, who they visit the next day and then host Monday.

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