Rangers 1-1-1 Under Tortorella; Avery Return
After three games under new head coach John Tortorella, the Rangers are 1-1-1. They are coming off of a huge 6-1 win over the Avalanche at home during the weekend, and are looking forward to the return of enigmatic forward Sean Avery.
If the playoffs were to start today, the Rangers would be tied for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference with the Florida Panthers, both with 72 points. However the Rangers have played one more game than Florida has, and the ninth and tenth place teams are both only three points behind.
That leaves a lot of teams scrambling for the last few spots in the league and the Rangers’ chances of course largely rides on how Tortorella can manage to capture some of the club’s early season magic. To do that, he’ll need to get the team scoring like they did against Colorado, where they put up six goals. In the team’s last 22 games dating back to the second week of January, they have scored more than two goals on only six occasions.
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Avery may be able to help with that and one has to think that Avery realizes this is his last chance, and he can’t afford to screw it up. If he can reign in his wild ways and manage to be a good teammate, then his aggression and scoring can provide a great boost. The fiery Tortorella would also seem to be a good foil for Avery, as he certainly won’t give him much room to get out of control.
The Rangers are currently in the midst of a long break, not playing against until Thursday, March 5 th after the Colorado game on Saturday, February 28. It’s not the kind of break the team wanted after their first good performance in what seems like an entire season. However, it is the downtime the club could also use to work Avery back into practice after his claim from waivers.
Over the month of March, the Rangers will play 13 games. Eight of those games come against fellow Eastern Conference playoff contenders. If the club can get some scoring, as well as consistent defensive play and goaltending, they could find themselves in good position to make the playoffs and attempt to make a run. Continuing their slow streak for another week or two though can effectively and finally derail the season.
By: Jake Emen
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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