Originally posted on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 2/16/12

The New York Rangers have stayed relatively consistent through the month of January and the first half of February, but it's been quite a while since they've been able to string together five straight wins. In fact, the last time they accomplished such a feat, the Blueshirts managed to collect five victories in a row stretching from December 30 to January 10. This may sound crazy, but it's about time the Rangers are finding themselves in this position once again. New York has worked to gain a eight-point lead on the second place Boston Bruins, and they will look to continue that with yet another two points tonight. 

The opponent, however, will be one that is unfamiliar to the Rangers this season. The Chicago Blackhawks will be visiting Madison Square Garden for the one and only time this evening, and are coming in slumping majorly having lost six straight games. So, essentially, it's the battle of the streaks tonight with the Rangers going for their fifth straight and win and the Hawks their seventh straight loss. Of course, seven losses is not an accomplishment Chicago will be proud of and you have to expect them to be extremely eager to put and end to this once and for all.

Playing the first place team in the Eastern Conference while under the bright lights of MSG are ideal conditions for the Hawks to break the slump since it will be a tremendous confidence-booster if they do. The Rangers must be prepared for a very hungry hockey team tonight, because I am afraid of what will happen if they get off to another one of their slow starts. The Hawks are going to plan to get on the board early to take the life out of the building, so the Rangers will need to match that early intensity. 

And not only have the Blackhawks lost six straight, but they are also 1-8-1 in their last ten games. Everything is going wrong for this team right now as they've dropped to sixth overall in the West - just three points ahead of the ninth place Calgary Flames. Several of their star players, including Patrick Kane, have not produced as they normally do, and that's heavily affected the team this season. It's been one big slump and the past few weeks have been the peak, or the rock bottom depending on how you look at it. 

Meanwhile, the Rangers have won eight of their last ten games and have recorded points in nine of those games. Still, though, head coach John Tortorella feels as if the team has not been on the top of their game, which is scary in a way. This Hawks team is one that the Rangers should be able to dominate tonight, but nothing is guaranteed. As I said, Chicago will be hungry so this is not an automatic win. However, if the Rangers can pick up an early lead in the first period and continue to capitalize on powerplay chances, it will be smooth sailing to another two points in the standings. 

Watch out for Marian Gaborik in this game because he's been all over the place in the team's last two games. He hasn't scored a goal in either, but he's been a dominant force out there with the puck. I have a feeling he will take advantage of a vulnerable opponent in the Hawks tonight and have a big game. When Gabby is on, he's on. 

Also, captain Ryan Callahan has six goals in his last four games, four of which were scored on the powerplay. He's been red hot. 

Marty Biron in goal tonight for the Rangers.

New York Rangers Lineup






Del Zotto-Stralman



Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Bill Belichick: Brandon Weeden 'can make all the throws'

Chip Kelly: Eagles coaching staff to blame for slow start

Tom Brady: I don't care about Greg Hardy's personal feelings

Report: Odell Beckham Jr. fined for punching Bills safety

Tannehill admits to beefing with practice squad players

Arian Foster to have increased workload against Colts


Rob Gronkowski will go off if Sean Lee can’t play

Roddy White backs off criticism of role in Falcons offense

David Blatt: Kevin Love to fully practice for first time Saturday

Woodson: Manning interception 'has eluded me for 18 years'

Johnny Manziel's grandfather's lake house burns down

Report: CC Sabathia already at Connecticut rehab facility

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 Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NFL through Week 4: What do we know?

NFL extends international series through 2025

5 players who can win the NHL MVP this season

Warriors take next step in effort to build San Francisco arena

Greg Hardy: Ready to come out ‘guns blazing’ post-suspension

Report: CC Sabathia already at Connecticut rehab facility

NHL hockey is back and that’s awesome

Jake Arrieta's sweet ... sinker?

10 matchups to watch during NFL Week 5

Top 10 storylines for Week 6 of the college football season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker