Time To Become Road Warriors

After playing 15 of their first 23 games this season at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers will face a heavy dose of road games in the near future. The Blueshirts open up a four-game road trip in Washington Sunday afternoon, and will play five of their next six games away from home ice. Eight of the ir remaining 11 games this month will be played on the road.

The players are looking forward to the challenge, however. The Rangers will face the Capitals, Sabres, Jets, and Penguins on the upcoming four-game trip.

"Now it's time to become road warriors," defenseman Ryan McDonagh said after practice on Saturday, before the team boarded a flight to the nation's capital. "We have had a lot of success on the road ever since I have been here, in part, because of the style of hockey we play and the fact that we don't change our style whether we are at home or on the road. You face a lot of adversity on the road and we seem to handle that really well."

Last year the Rangers recorded 53 of a possible 82 points in away games, a franchise record. And in John Tortorella's first three full seasons as head coach of the Blueshirts the team has won 20, 24, and 24 road contests, an oustanding run of consistency away from The Garden.

"We are comfortable on the road," stated team captain Ryan Callahan. "When you have success on the road, it builds. And we have had success, for sure. I think anytime you get on the road for an extended period of time, and get some wins, it's a great thing to build on. It's fun to play on the road. We keep everything simple, which is the easiest way to put some wins together."

The Blueshirts are 3-4-1 on the road so far this season, with their most recent game away from The Garden one of their best---Thursday's 2-1 overtime victory over the Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum. The Rangers have earned points in three of their last four road contests, going 2-1-1 in that span.

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Dan Girardi was the only healthy Blueshirt who did not practice on Saturday at the MSG Training Center. He was taking a "maintenence day". Marc Staal and Arron Asham are both injured and were not on the ice.

The only minor changes on the ice were that Brian Boyle skated on the fourth line after being a healthy scratch for friday's 3-2 loss to the Senators, and Stu Bickel shifting from the forward position back to defense.

When asked about Boyle after practice, head coach John Tortorella said, "He just hasn't played well enough to be  a part of this. Everything needs to be better in his game."

Boyle has appeared in 19 games, recorded just one point---an assist---and has totaled just 17 shots on goal.

Are you excited about the Rangers upcoming road trip, or are you nervous about it? Share your comments below.