Blueshirts enter gauntlet – Metro US

Blueshirts enter gauntlet

The Rangers have been winners some nights, losers other. One thing they’ve remained through it all is survivors.

“You still have to play the way you feel you can be successful. You will have some ebbs and flows through (the season),” coach John Tortorella said before last Wednesday’s 2-1 overtime win over Carolina. “Good teams get out of it.”

The win against Carolina, in which they were able to skate and pepper Cam Ward for 35 shots, seemed to rejuvenate a team that had lost two straight. The Rangers are now winners of three straight after back-to-back wins in Dallas and St. Louis over the weekend.

They proved they could whether a storm. Next up — proving they belong among the league’s elite. The Rangers host Original Six rival Montreal tonight, NHL-best Vancouver on Thursday and Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia on Sunday, along with a visit to Montreal Saturday night.

The Blueshirts enter the game with a new face on the bench. They acquired Wojetk Wolski in a trade with Phoenix for Michal Rozsival yesterday. Wolski totaled 16 points in 36 games. The extra offense could be helpful against Montreal, which has won two straight.

The Canadiens’ 49 points are eighth most in the East. Montreal has won
its last two, including an improbable 3-2 overtime comeback against
Boston Saturday night. Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta scored in the final
two minutes of regulation and Max Pacioretty’s wrist shot with 1:17 left
in overtime won the game.

“It’s going to be hard,” Tortorella said when asked to handicap the East. “It’s going to be a fight. I’m trying to stress … to re-establish who we are more consistently, especially our starts. The games are going to be tougher.

“The second half is a grittier game. Things don’t come as easy. We need to get a jump on the mindset of how we have to approach this.”

Healthy bodies would help the task. The Rangers lost Alex Frolov for the remainder of the season after suffering a torn ACL and meniscus and a sprained MCL in his right knee Saturday night in St. Louis. Frolov played in every game this season. He scored seven goals, added nine assists and was plus-four. Kris Newbury was called up from AHL Connecticut. Newbury scored 35 points (five goals, 30 assists) and totaled 87 PIMS for the Whale.