Donnie Pucks: Opening Nightmare

The Rangers lost to the Maple Leafs on opening night at the Garden, 4-3 in OT. However, that is far from telling the story of how tough this night was for the Blueshirts.

The list on injuries reads worse then the box score.

  • Chris Drury: broken finger, out six weeks

  • Marian Gaborik: separated shoulder, out two to three weeks

  • Vinny Prospal: yet to play this season, will have knee surgery Tuesday, out indefinitely.

How can a team that was borderline to make the playoffs in full health make it now? The better question is, who will be able to surpass expectations and carry this team through the first month of the season?

Alex Frolov: He was brought here to be a secondary scorer to Gaborik. He now has to be the best. He's had two 30-goal seasons in his career. Now he needs a third.

Brandon Dubinsky: He tallied 20 goals last season in just 69 games. This season expectations are greater. He's off to a great start with three goals in three games.

Ryan Callahan: Last year, he came within one goal of back-to-back 20-goal seasons. His work ethic is among the best on the team. He also needs to reach the 30 goal mark.

By the way, I spoke to Adam Graves on Friday before the game. He expected both Dubinsky and Callahan to have big seasons.

Everyone will have to do a little extra for sure. These three, however, will be the ones to carry the load until the team gets healthy.

Teams don't make the playoffs in October and November, but they sure can dig a hole way to deep to climb out of.

Character to me is not a question with this team -- scoring is. These next few week will tell how big a question that is.