The Boys in Blue have four days off after tonight’s game, so you know they want to go into the New Year break on a one game winning streak opposed to a four game losing streak. The Isles have lost 10 of their last 11 (yikes), but have franchise netminder Rick DiPietro back after a knee procedure cost him 27 games. He hasn’t started against the Rangers since Nov. 27th of last year. Of course I wrote all this before learning that DiPietro won’t play tonight due to a bum groin. That dude is the Carl Pavano of hockey.
Michal Rozsival is back in the lineup, and Corey Potter was shipped back to Hartford. Aaron Voros is a healthy scratch, with Petr Prucha taking his spot in the lineup. Here’s the forward lines for tonight’s game:
Korpikoski – Gomez – Naslund
Dawes – Drury – Callahan
Prucha – Dubinsky – Zherdev
Orr – Betts – Sjostrom
I’ll provide updates periodically throughout the game. Enjoy.
Update (7:10pm): I just saw this on ESPN; Claude Lemieux is making a comeback? Ugh. Oh, and the game is on Versus tonight, in case you’re staring at MSG trying to figure out what the hell is going on.
Update (7:18pm): Quality fight right there. Versus is terrible, as usual.
Update (7:23pm): Another good scrap right there. Good hit by Dawes on Okposo, Comrie stood up for the rook. Hillary Duff is going to have to take care of her boyfriend later, Dawes landed a few good ones.
Update (7:35pm): Brutal. Just brutal. Nice giveaway deep in the zone by Kalinin. Drury’s -4 in the last four periods.
Update (8:15pm): Hey look, it’s Scott Gomez. In all seriousness, that was some killer puck movement right there. Nice job using the point men, brilliant pass by Zherdev.
Update (8:33pm): This has been one physical game. Every player is finishing every check. I love it.
Update (8:36pm): Nice deflection by Okposo there. It hurt even more coming with 12 seconds left in the period.
Update (8:55pm): Ouch. Ryan Callahan just plowed Trent Hunter into the boards, but the penalty box door opened and Hunter went face first into the edge of the partition. It was a clean hit, but Hunter’s down. Both trainers and the MSG medical crew are out on the ice.
Update (8:58pm): They brought the stretcher out, but Hunter skated off under his own power. Looks like he just had the wind knocked out of him.
Update (9:00pm): Note to Tom Renney: PLAY PETR PRUCHA!!! Nice job driving to the net by Dubie, nicer job by Prucha sticking with the play. We’re tied at deuces.
Update (9:01pm): And there’s another one. Rozy from bad angle, through the wickets.
Update (9:02pm): Good grief. Blake Comeau all by his lonesome in front of the net, now we’re tied at three.
Update (9:11pm): Amazing what happens when you win a faceoff, eh Scotty? Naslund tips in Gomez’s feed out front after a faceoff win in the zone. 4-2 good guys. Wade Redden & Dmitri Kalinin are getting the Marek Malik treatment.
Update (9:23pm): Dawes just netted one, but I missed the goal and Versus hasn’t bothered to show a replay. Chants of PE-TR PRU-CHA are raining down from the heavens. And by the heavens I mean the blue seats.
Update (9:29pm): Comrie just chopped one in with 18.7 seconds left. They always have to make it unnecessarily interesting.
Update (9:32pm): Game over, Rangers win 5-4. Rangers win. THAAAAAAAA RANGERS WIN!!!