Originally posted on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 5/23/12

It's been a rough series for the New York Rangers so far in these Eastern Conference Finals. They may currently be neck-and-neck with their opponent, the New Jersey Devils, in terms of games won (two), but they've been far from that in terms of play. Game 1 was the only match of the four played thus far that the team's effort could have been deemed satisfactory, and the following three were just plain disaster. The Devils have been the better attacking team, the better skating team and have been much more mistake-free on defense than their counterparts. All things considered, this could very well be do or die for the Broadway Blueshirts tonight at Madison Square Garden. 

The Rangers haven't exactly done themselves a favor in this series by consistently coming out with a horrible first twenty minutes. For three straight games now, possibly even four, they've come out and been pinned in their own zone right from the get-go, eliminating any chance of grabbing some early momentum to carry with them throughout the game. If the Rangers want any shot at winning two of the remaining three games in this series, their starts must improve and improve beginning tonight. 

As head coach John Tortorella has repeatedly stated, this all begins with puck possession - something that's been hard to come by for these tired Rangers. New Jersey has dominated in this category, especially when establishing a forecheck, making it difficult for the Rangers to get pucks below the hashmarks where they are most productive. This has been the root of all problems for New York, since being trapped in their own zone leads to additional turnovers and penalties as they continue to beat themselves. 

The bottom line is that the Rangers need to be quicker in all areas of the ice if they want to even the playing field in this game and the ones to follow. However, that is a very daunting task when the club is clearly suffering from fatigue and lacking leg speed that made them so successful earlier in the year. 

But this is where the return of certain players from injury could make a difference, and this is why Brandon Dubinsky is a potential player to watch tonight.

That's right, Brandon Dubinsky skated with the team in practice earlier this morning in place of John Mitchell for what looks like a swap being made by the coach for tonight's tilt. Dubinsky has not played since last month when he was injured in Game 7 of the quarterfinals against the Ottawa Senators, so although he's been recovering from an ankle injury, he's had plenty of time to rest up and will hopefully provide fresh legs in the lineup. 

Not to mention that Brandon Prust will also be coming back after a few days of rest, as he was suspended for an elbow in Game 3. Getting only two rested players to suit up may not seem like a lot, but it is at this time of the year, and very well could be the difference in this series for the Rangers. 

Let's hope so because as previously mentioned, this may be the Rangers' last chance to save their season if the ice continues to tilt in favor of the Devils. 

As for the actual lines, I would personally suggest switching Brian Boyle down to the fourth line and placing Dubinsky on line three. Whether that will happen or not we will find out in warm-ups. 

Stu Bickel will also drop back to defense with Steve Eminger a healthy scratch. 

New York Rangers (Expected) Lineup

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Warriors players, officials perplexed by Durant’s offseason

Magic Johnson subpoenaed in Draymond Green civil case

Report: Carmelo optimistic that trade to Rockets coming soon

Sixers plan to start Ben Simmons at point guard with no restrictions

LSU’s Guice posts, then deletes, picture of him with new car

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Two players die after Saturday’s college football action

Brady breaks Peyton Manning’s player-of-the-week record

Joe Thomas: Elliott, young players need to ‘learn how to lose’

Bryce Harper reportedly ‘likely’ to return by October

Can we officially hate the Green Bay Packers yet?

Jay-Z reportedly turned down Super Bowl halftime show

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

College football 2017 Week 4 predictions

10 teams that can unseat the Warriors for the 2018 NBA championship

NFL Referee Hotline: Mike McCarthy is sick of these calls

The 'Kevin Durant has mad (Twitter) handles' quiz

Baseball's most underwhelming teams of 2017

The 'Remember the tight ends' quiz

Ranking the best college football fan bases

Getaway Day: Time runs short as postseason nears

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House sticks it to sports

The 'Not so elementary, my dear Watson' quiz

September chill hits Astros, Dodgers at worst time

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

10 teams that can unseat the Warriors for the 2018 NBA championship

College football 2017 Week 4 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline: Mike McCarthy is sick of these calls

Baseball's most underwhelming teams of 2017

The 'Kevin Durant has mad (Twitter) handles' quiz

Ranking the best college football fan bases

The 'Remember the tight ends' quiz

Getaway Day: Time runs short as postseason nears

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House sticks it to sports

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker