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Empire State Of Mind: Blues At New York Rangers Preview

Tarasenko returns to the scene of the crime

Mommy took a bus trip, now she got her bust out / Everybody ride her, just like a bus route
Mommy took a bus trip, now she got her bust out / Everybody ride her, just like a bus route
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The train keeps chugging along, next stop New York City. As good as the Blues have been playing lately, the Rangers could also make a claim for the hottest team in the league. Just 2 seasons removed from a Stanley Cup final appearance, they should present a considerable challenge to the Blues. So far, the depth of our team has been up to the challenge. They say if you make it there, you can make it anywhere.

Now you're in New York

The lights will inspire you

One of the people that the Blues will need to rely on is Vladimir Tarasenko . After starting the season on a incredible pace (9 points in 6 games), he's slowed down somewhat (4 points in the last 8). Of course, every player will have ebbs and flows to their game, but we've been spoiled a little by his scoring touch. Hopefully, his return to the bright lights and big stage of NYC will spark his scoring again.

Something that seems to be coming around again is the St Louis power play. After dealing with a 0-for-21 drought, the Blues have since score three times on 7 opportunities. That's a marked improvement, but I'd like to see the forwards join in the fun. The last goal before the cold spell was by Carl Gunnarsson and the goals since it came to life have been by Alex Pietrangelo, Colton Parayko, and Jay Bouwmeester . Ultimately, just scoring is more important that who does the scoring, but I feel like the team is still missing a beat without the participation of our forwards. The Rangers are in the top 5 in league PK percentage, killing 88% of opponent chances. That ups the difficulty quite a bit, but the team can still rise to the challenge.

Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new

Our depth seems to be shining at the moment, and that's particularly timely right now. The win over the Devils featured goals by Magnus Paajarvi and the newest Blue, Martin Havlat . It's good to see immediate returns on an investment, like in Havlat's case. Just as much, though, is the payoff in the patience that the team has used wtih Paajarvi. Hopefully, that can continue and result in even more benefit to the team.

I be spiked out, I could trip a referee
Tell by my attitude that I'm most definitely from....

The Rangers will not go away quietly. They've been on a tear too, going 8-0-2 in their last ten games. Their top two points leaders also lead in goals as well. Everyone's favorite hockey hobbit Mats Zuccarello has 7 goals and 5 assists this year, for 12 points. Rookie phenom Oscar Lindberg is right behind with 7 goals and 4 assists. In this 8-0-2 run, they've only allowed 10 goals. This is due to a solid defense and an all-World goalie like Henrik Lundqvist . Right now he is posting 1.65 GAA and .949 Save Percentage.

Further Reading:

Blueshirt Banter

The Blueshirts Blog (NY Daily News)

Blues vs Rangers coverage

GameDay Twitter Feed

Final Verse: The early starts continue, with the puck dropping at 6:00 PM St Louis time and the GDT dropping slightly beforehand. The TV broadcast is on Fox Sports MW, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120 AM. Please drop by and pay us a visit in the gameday thread. I've been out of town, so we'll need someone to fill my absence. For obvious reasons, I leave you with this: