Rangers vs Panthers -7:00 PM MSG
Tonight is the first home game after the Rangers’ longest road trip of the season in which the Rangers went 3-1. Typically, the first game back after a road trip is a let down game.
I had tickets to tonight’s game but gave them to my parents. Clearly, this is an HAV.
Tonight’s probable lineup for the Rangers (13-5), via Steve Zipay (@stevezipay):
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash
Jimmy Vesey-Mika Zibanejad- Mats Zuccarello
Michael Grabner-Kevin Hayes-JT Miller
Brandon Pirri-Josh Jooris-Jesper Fast
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Nick Holden
Brady Skjei-Kevin Klein
The big news of course is Pavel Buchnevich’s back spasms perhaps being s more serious condition. He is scheduled for an MRI tomorrow.
Also of note is Josh Jooris returning to the lineup in place is the Machine, Oscar Lindberg. Lindberg has struggled tremendously this season, and could find himself waived if and when everyone is healthy.
The lines themselves have been adjusted in the wake of the egg laid in Columbus. Grabner is reunited with Hayes and Miller, while Vesey gets a look with Zibanejad and Zuccarello. AV continues to insist upon the killer Zs playing with each other, but I’m not convinced that pair is working together.
The defense remains unchanged, so Clendening remains Prucha’d for a third straight game. I disagree with this arrangement. Skjei should be playing more often, not less.
Henrik Lundqvist starts today. I believe Raanta will start tomorrow night against Pittsburgh given AV’s traditional practice of switching goaltenders in the second game of a back to back with travel in between. Then again, against s divisional rival, he may lean more heavily on Lundqvist.
For the Panthers, (9-8-1), this is the fourth game of their current road trip. They played last night and won on the back of a brilliant performance by Roberto Luongo, who will be sitting tonight in favor of James Reimer. Star center Aleksander Barkov was hurt and missed the third period of last night’s game but seems like he will be in the lineup tonight
There are a lot of castaways for each of these teams playing for the other, most recently Dylan McIlrath, who will be a healthy scratch tonight. McIlrath is currently 8th on the Panthers’ depth chart behind Jakub Kindl. Yup, we sure missed out on a star there.
However, Keith Yandle will be in the lineup for the Panthers, as will former Rangers captain and ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr. For the Rangers, castoffs Michae Grabner (waived without ever playing a game!) and Brandon Pirri(traded for a 6yh round pick!) will look for some measure of revenge.
Don’t forget to tell everyone you know and to follow me on Twitter @rangersreport2. And don’t forget to vote for your three stars after the game!