One game does not make a winning streak, never mind a turning point to s season.  However, the Rangers 4-0 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers is the first step in helping erase the sour taste of the team’s lost weekend against the Boston Bruins.  The Blueshirts must take the next step and finish off the second game of Thrashers mini-series on Brian Leetch Night.

One has to wonder if the retirement festivities will provide the team a lift or an excuse to go back to their half-hearted ways.  Not even Kreskin could answer that question.  But for night, all was right in the Madison Square Garden world.

Yes, the Thrashers are struggling as much – if not more than the Rangers and entered the front end of the back-to-back games with a three game losing streak that saw the Thrashers outscored 17-5.  Included in that misery was a 10-1 thrashing (pun intended) at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres – yet another team struggling to find their way.

On the other hand, it is the same Thrashers team that one week ago visited the Joe Louis Arena and skated out of Detroit with a 5-1 win over the Red Wings – an impressive victory given the fact Detroit is 19-4-2 at home this season.

Atlanta also enjoyed a trip through the Metropolitan area at the beginning of December when they took five out of a possible six points against the local teams.  Only an overtime loss to the Devils spoiled Atlanta’s perfect march north.

Also, don’t forget that this is the same Atlanta Thrasher team that took five straight regular season games from the Rangers prior to their 4-0 loss.

The Atlanta debate aside, the Rangers played with an urgency and a purpose that has not been seen since the Rangers November roll.  They remembered that hockey is a sixty minute/three period/three zone game.  They finally heeded the coaching staff’s call to get down and dirty and the results paid off.  The Rangers showed how effective they can be offensively when they actually work the forecheck, go to the net and shoot the puck.

Of course, there were a couple of bumps along the road.  Martin Straka passes up a scoring chance in the first period for a drop pass on a mini-breakaway and Scott Gomez passed up a scoring chance in the second period.  The Blueshirts still need to carry over the idea of causing traffic in front of the net on the power play

ON THE FLY

  1. While spinning the dials of the NHL’s center Ice package, I came across an in-between interview with former Rangers defenseman Randy Moller.  It seems that Moller has made NHL history by becoming one of, if not the first, NHL player to become a play-by-play announcer.  Moller had been the radio color analyst for the Panthers until this year.  Radio play-by-play announcer Steve Goldstein replaced Dave Strader on television and Moller moved over to handle the play-by-play duties with former NHLer Bill Lindsay replacing him as color analyst.  In addition to his play-by-play duties, Moller is the Panthers’ Vice President of Broadcasting and Alumni and is the President of the Florida Panthers Alumni Association.
  2. John Dellapina of the “Daily News” has a great entry on his blog.  Dellapina lists his Top 10 Brian Leetch Moments.  It makes a great read.  You can view it at http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/rangers/.
  3. Adrian Dater of the “Denver Post” reported that the Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs had scouts at last night’s Colorado Avalanche-Nashville Predators game.  Dater points out that the two Eastern Conference teams do not play either of the Western Conference teams.
  4. Marc Stall’s brother Jared will represent the Staal Family as a member of Team White in the 2008 Home Hardware CHL-NHL Top Prospects Game.  In addition, the youngest Staal brother will represent the Eastern Conference in the OHL All-Star Game in February.
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