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Even with tonights win the Rangers are precariously close to falling completely out of contention. With only 14 games left in the season the Rangers are 3 full points behind the Bruins, who have 2 games in hand. That could balloon up to 7 points in a hurry. *gulp*. With such a daunting task in front of them, give credit to the Rangers who had control of this game pretty much since minute 1. They outforechecked the Thrashers, they out scored them, they out defended them, and they out goaltended them. It’s not really all that surprising though, since the Thrashers lost Kovalchuk they look like a very poor team on paper, one would only imagine to see such results play themselves out. Give credit to the Rangers and coach Tortorella, in a very questionable move, he sent a message to his team that nobody is beyond being sat, even at this important juncture. Torts decided to sit Sean Avery for this game, and frankly it probably was the right decision. Sean hasn’t been a very good player for us for much of this season. He seems to score 3 points in a game, or do absolutely nothing. Far too often this year he has been a ghost on the ice. You don’t see him getting people pissed off, you don’t see him making player, you just see him skating around doing more or less nothing. Torts sat Avery, and the Rangers responded. It’s not so much about the message to Avery as much as it is the message to the team. What the frak up, or we are going home. Looks like the Rangers have no intention of going into that sweet night quietly.

One player who seems to stand out in a positive way almost every game, at least to me, is Artem Anisimov. I guess you have to appreciate smart, subtle play to really “get” Anisimovs game. Arty is a guy who can dangle around you, for sure, but what you have to appreciate is the way he reads the play and reacts. Kid is probably the smartest player on the Rangers right now, and he’s only what…22? That’s incredible. As his body fills out, and as he gets more confidence in his offensive game, I think this kid might become our version of Pavel Datsyuk, sans the 90+point seasons. A smart, defensively responsible player, who makes those around him much better. A guy you can count on in all situations to be a productive player. I think Arty can probably be a 30-30 guy for us while putting up Selke like performances defensively. But, no pressure.

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