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From my point of view this game was lost from the moment it was put on the schedule. I just had very low expectations for this game because of the tour de force of obstacles they had to overcome. The Rangers have 3 rookies playing their first season in the lineup. The Rangers were opening on the road against the defending Stanley Cup Champions with a roster more or less exactly the same to what won last year. The Rangers completely overhauled their lineup from top to bottom with new players all over the place. You just had to expect that the Penguins would win, so when they did, it really didn’t surprise me.

To me this game is all about looking for positives, and fixing the negatives. The negatives were plentiful, but most of them can be attributed to the factors listed earlier. As this team gels you can expect most of those issues to go away. One thing that wasn’t a result of a lack of chemistry, or nerves, was the Rangers being very soft on the puck, and winning very few of the board battles that they engaged in when in their own zone. They looked passive, and unsure of what to do at times. When they should have closed a man off, they retreated, then they should have taken the body, they went for the poke check. They looked a little frazzled out there. But the biggest culprit of all was Michal Rozsival who had just an awful game from start to finish and has yet to have a single halfway decent game since the preseason began till this opening game. I have been a pretty vocal supporter of Rozsival, but you can’t continue to play like this and expect to get the fans back on your side. On the flip side aside from a couple of misplays, I thought Wade Redden was once again very good out there and was definitely the best defenseman out there for us, as Marc Staal had a very uneven game, pinching at poor times, and very sloppy with his passing.

In the offensive end, a few things stuck out. I absolutely love the Higgins-Drury-Callahan trio. Those 3 play such similar games, that they tend to buzz around like annoying little gnats getting in everyones way, and causing havok up and down the lineup. I have a feeling this trio will be together for the bulk of this season. On the flip side I was not really happy with the play of the Prospal-Dubinsky-Gaborik line. Now don’t get me wrong, I thought Dubinsky and Gaborik both played superb games, but it seemed like Prospal was sort of a non factor (the glorious scoring chance he failed on not withstanding). He played a responsible game, but he wasnt really all that involved. All he really did was occupy space and play a smart game. From my top line players, I need more. I need him ot get more involved, to make things happen. Really I think his place is on the left wing of Artem Anisimov, let Artie learn to play a strong 2-way game from a pro like Prospal, and let them feed of each other playing a nice 3rd line 2-way game. To me the perfect fit to cap off that top line would be Sean Avery on the left side. Sean has the grit, and speed to play in that position, and he will cause a lot of people to focus on him, leaving Gaborik there to do his thing.

In the end, this one more or less played out like I anticipated. I also anticipate the Rangers coming roaring back against the Sens tomorrow night. A BIG win would not surprise me whatsoever.


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