The Rangers had better make the most of their rematch with Florida today, because life is about to get tougher for them. Completing the month of November with a fifth straight game against the worst teams in the conference, having gone 3-1 in the preceding four, the Rangers start December with a trio against teams in the top ten in the league and will face teams in the top half of the league standings in twelve of their next fifteen games, which includes a three-game west coast road trip. They then embark on a five-game trip at the conclusion of the fifteen-game stretch. Of course, this might not be such a bad thing -- they are currently 6-2-1 against the top fifteen in the league, and just 6-4-1 against teams in the bottom fifteen that are not located in Florida (5-0 against Tampa and Florida).
Nikolai Zherdev remains a key for the Rangers -- since the season openers in Prague (in which he didn't score in the Rangers' two wins), only once have the Rangers won a game without benefit from at least a point or a shootout goal by Zherdev, and only once have they lost when he registered a point. Special teams are a make it or break it factor too -- only once this season have the Rangers won in regulation time without benefit of a power play goal. They are 5-4-2 when failing to score on the power play (four of those wins in shootouts) and are 12-3-0 when scoring power play goals. They are likewise 13-2-1 when holding opponents scoreless on the power play, 4-5-1 when allowing PPGs (two of those wins by shootout). They have allowed more than one power play goal in a game only once all season.
At Blueshirt Bulletin+ today, we look at the effect Dmitri Kalinin has on his defense partners, and it's not a pretty picture, at least not statistically, especially for the beleaguered Michal Rozsival. Also at BB+ are today's links and all reader comments. Click here to read BB+ if you subscribe to Blueshirt Bulletin and have registered for BB+ access. If you need instructions on how to access BB+, write to us at Blueshirt@mindspring.com. If you are not a subscriber, E-mail us or click here to learn how to subscribe to the magazine and get quick access to BB+.
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