A new season of pain, frustration, anger, and high blood pressure New York Rangers hockey, begins tonight when the Blueshirts head up to Buffalo to take on the Sabres at HSBC Arena (7pm). This will probably be one of only a few game previews this season, because I do not like writing them; there are just too many sites out there that preview every game and the information becomes redundant. I will, however, attempt to write a recap of every game this season.
Anyway, to tonight’s game, the Rangers will be sitting Matt Gilroy on defense and the pairings will be Staal-Rozsival, Del Zotto-Girardi, and Sauer-Eminger. I still think the Rangers are going to make a move shortly for an experienced defenseman, because Gilroy struggled all of last season and wasn’t so amazing in the preseason. Meanwhile, with Eminger, I just don’t feel comfortable with him playing defense on a regular basis. Hopefully we will see some more offense out of Rozsival, who has a great shot when he decides to actually use it.
Tonight’s forward lines will be Frolov-Christensen-Gaborik, Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan, Avery-Stepan-Fedotenko, and Boogaard-Boyle-Prust. It will be interesting to see if Christensen can nail down the job as the team’s top line center, because he goes through stretches of good-looking hockey, before going invisible for an equal amount of time. The line to really watch here will be the third line. Stepan and Fedotenko played great together during the preseason, and it looks like Avery may be back on his game, something that was missing for most of last season.
As for the fourth line, the Rangers finally have some size and physicality. Prust will probably fight more regularly than Boogaard, simply because no one wants to fight the “Boogie Man”, but I would love to see him destroy Patrick Kaleta tonight (wouldn’t we all?). But even if he does not drop the gloves, as long as he does his job policing the rink and stopping people from running Lundqvist or going after Gaborik, he will be worth it.
The goaltending matchup for tonight will be Lundqvist versus Ryan Miller, who was outstanding last year, both in the regular season and Olympics. It is also worth to note Sabres rookie Tyler Ennis, who I think will have a solid breakout season this year, and will be an excellent fantasy hockey sleeper.
Here’s to another season of New York Rangers hockey in 2010/11!
For in-game updates and news throughout the season, please follow me on Twitter: @gregcaggiano