By Brian Monzo
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Coming off a win against the the Islanders, the Rangers now have six home games ahead in 12 nights. Their victory over the Isles stopped a three-game regulation losing streak, their first of the season.
Every team struggles, including the best in the league. Even with the injuries to Ryan Callahan and Michael Del Zotto, they played the kind of game against the Islanders that led to success throughout the season. They fought along the boards, got timely goal scoring and when it mattered, Henrik Lundqvist made the big save.
When the Rangers and Hurricanes face off tonight, New York will be the better team. A second straight win will elevate their confidence back to where it needs to be. As the Rangers attempt to pull away from their recent struggles, a loss to the Hurricanes, who are 13th in the East, would put the team right back into a funk.
And how will their newly formed line of Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards and Carl Hagelin continue to perform? Against the Islanders, they controlled the puck whenever they were on the ice. Hagelin could have scored six goals. It was the best Richards has looked all season, as well.
Scoring three goals with the advantage Sunday could have perhaps been a wake-up call for the Rangers’ otherwise awful power play. If that game wasn’t an example of how important a good power play is, I don’t know what is.
For the first time all season, we are seeing a struggling Lundqvist. The King still has crazy numbers, but it’s clear that he is fighting it a little and the puck is more hitting him than he is stopping it. The competitor that he is, I would expect him to fight his way out of the slump and get back to his dominant ways.
As we approach the final 14 games, it would be a good time for Brandon Dubinsky to turn his game around. He has been playing better, but needs to score a few goals to get his game going in the playoffs.
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