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I Think of Crime When I'm in a New York State of Mind: Rangers at Blackhawks Preview/Thread/Choir Practice

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Game Time: 7:30 Central
TV/Radio: CSN, WGN 720
Opposition Blogs: Blueshirt Banter
Don't Forget: Your SPG Picks

When I was a kid, I had a ton of favorite baseball players - so many that it really didn't make sense to call them "favorite" because there were just so damn many. Now, I only have a few players outside of Chicago that I actually pay attention to - and Curtis Granderson was one of those players, and now I have to despise him.. great. I hate New York. This trade obviously means absolutely nothing for today's game and even less for the actual players on either side - but it sure would be nice to see at least one New York team get its ass kicked.

Rangers fans are feeling a bit of deja vu this year - last year the Rangers won 10 of their first 13 games, then they cooled off quite a bit and ended the year 7th in the East and were knocked out in the first round by Washington. This year, the Rags won 7 of their first 8. They've lost 14 of the past 21 though and are actually tied with the Islanders for overall points.

Here's another shocker - the Rangers aren't scoring goals. They're 17th in the league in Goals/Game despite Marian Gaborik's league leading 21 goals. The problem is that once you go beyond their Marian, no one has more than 6 goals. The Blackhawks by comparison have 6 players with 7 or more (though none with a double-digit total). The Rangers haven't been an offensive dynamo team for a while though. The Ranger's plan is to play solid and conservative defensive hockey and simply let Henrik Ludqvist carry them.

That's not exactly happening this year though as Henrik is showing he's mortal. He's 19th overall with 2.64 GAA and 17th in SV% at .914. Granted - that's pretty damn good but it's not enough to overcome the Rangers offensive shortcomings the way it has been in the past. King Henrik had a 6 game stretch where he gave up 3 or more goals 5 times. He's turned things around a bit in the past two games, giving up only 3 goals in two games against the Sabres and Red Wings.

It's an Original Six game, which are always fun, so lets see what type of game the Blackhawks are looking to play. I'd hope to see Tomas Kopecky watch another game in a press box as the fourth line seemed to finally be effective for the first time in a while with him not on it - though Jordan Hendry is hardly a solution. We should also pray to see Buff play on a line with Madden again as the big man only seems to give a damn when playing with a checking center who constantly works his ass off. While we're wishing for things, lets also throw in a new HDTV, Fugazi to go on tour again and a cure for hangovers (that doesn't involve not actually drinking).

From the official site - here are tonight's lines:

VERSTEEG! - Toews - Hossa
Brouwer - Sharp - Kane
Byfuglien - Madden - Ladd
Eager - Fraser - Kopecky

Second City Hockey fully supports these lines

Lets Go Hawks.