Pregame Analysis

Rangers Begin Dad Trip in Florida

The Rangers travel to Florida after a five day break as they look to end three game skid (7:00 P.M. ET, MSG2).

Vic Hadfield night was going as everyone could have hoped. The Blueshirts had a 3-0 lead entering the third period. However, the Winnipeg Jets finally open the flood gates and tied the game late. After a scoreless overtime period, largely to the part of Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers fell in the shootout.

Jesper Fast and Marc Staal each score their second goal of the season, while Chris Kreider scored his team leading 14th goal. Ryan Strome registered his fifth point in nine games as a Ranger. Strome had just 2 points in 18 games as a member of the Edmonton Oilers this season. Lundqvist made 39 saves in a losing effort.

When asked about if the Jets first goal changed the momentum, Lundqvist said, “Momentum? Not sure what game you were watching. They owned us,” said Lundqvist. The Jets outshot the Rangers 42-19.

With no games in five days, the Blueshirts got a much needed rest and now they have an extra motivational factor. The player’s dads will join the Rangers on this two-game road trip.

“It means a lot,” said Neal Pionk. “For them to come out here and have some fun and see how we go about our day-to-day business, it’s a lot of fun for them. We’re going to have a good time.”

“I know I’ve been counting down the days,” said Brett Howden. “It’s going to be really special.” It’s a really special thing that they’re doing for us. As excited as the dads are, I think we’re just as excited too.”

Tonight, the Rangers see the Florida Panthers for the final time in the regular season. With a win, the Blueshirts would sweep the Florida Panthers, winning all three matchups.

The Panthers are playing their final game of an eight-game homestand. The Panthers are 3-2-2 on the homestand.

The Blueshirts will get a reinforcement tonight as Vladislav Namestnikov will return to the lineup after being in the concussion protocol. The Rangers will look to get the offense going against the Panthers who have allowed the fourth-most goals per game in the league.

David Quinn has elected to shakeup the lineup tonight to try to jump start the team. Kevin Hayes will play the wing with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider.

“Big-picture, long-term, he’s a center for sure, but we’re just trying different things to jumpstart the team,” said head coach David Quinn. “This is something that I know he did in college, he played wing a lot when he was in college, obviously played center a lot as a pro. The situation we’re in, just trying different matchups, different combinations.”

Cole Schneider has been recalled from Hartford. Schneider has 17 points in 25 games. Schneider has been called up for precautionary reasons, in case Namestnikov suffers a setback during warmups.

Alex Georgiev is currently in Hartford starting as Lundqvist will likely start the next two games against the Panthers and Lightning. Strome will take Hayes’s spot on the second line as he gets ready for the dad trip.

 

“It’s pretty special,” said Strome. “Anytime you get to share these moments with the people who helped you get here – the time commitment, the money, I think everybody knows what goes into playing hockey. It’s special to have them here with us.”

“I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun for the players, and it’ll be fun for me to watch it, too,” said Quinn. “It’s always fun to watch a parent enjoy their son’s success.”

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