Following a seven game road trip to open the season which took them from Sweden to Long Island to western Canada and finally back to Manhattan, the New York Rangers had their first home game at Madison Square Garden last night. Undergoing major renovations for the next few years, Phase I of the Madison Square Garden makeover is complete and ready to host the Broadway Blueshirts for the 2011-2012 season.
While the homecoming was a disappointing 4-2 loss to fellow Original Six team the Toronto Maple Leafs, the NY Rangers are glad to be off the road and back in New York. Their next home game is tomorrow afternoon, a 3pm start versus the Ottawa Senators. Surely a bid road-weary, the Rangers hope to put the loss to Toronto behind them and get back on the winning side of the ledger.
Star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been strong in the early goings this season and sniper Marian Gaborik has been the best forward on the team. All Star defenseman Marc Staal is out with post-concussion symptoms and cannot be counted on returning to the lineup anytime soon. In his absence, Dan Girardi has stepped up his game to hold down the blueline but he cannot do it alone. If Staal is going to be out much longer, the Rangers are going to have to look to make a trade for a top 4 defenseman to take his place in the lineup.
Aside from Gaborik, newly acquired center Brad Richards has played well and team captain Ryan Callahan has been his usual physical self. Brandon Prust and Brian Boyle continue their strong play from last season and Ruslan Fedotenko has done everything the team has asked of him and performed well. The rest of the top six forwards need to pick up the scoring however if the Rangers are going to have a shot at going anywhere this season. They need their top two lines to be offensive threats and the power play must be better than last season.
With Ludqvist in goal, a healthy Gaborik and a productive Richards, this team has the potential to go places and fans at Madison Square Garden know it. Among the most passionate fans in hockey, New York Rangers fans do not let the team take a night off. The atmosphere at the revamped Garden is going to be electric as fans sense this team is ready to take the next step into the upper echelon of NHL clubs.
Be among the frenzied crowd at MSG this year and find New York Rangers tickets today.