The Blueshirts are currently 2-1-0 on their four-game western conference road trip which will conclude Saturday evening against the Ducks (4:00 P.M. ET, MSG).
The Rangers dynamic duo took control of Thursday’s game against the San Jose Sharks. Artemi Panarin registered his third career hat trick (first as a Ranger), and Mika Zibanejad contributed with two goals in a 6-3 victory. Jesper Fast recorded his fifth goal of the season from a gorgeous pass from Filip Chytil. Alex Georgiev improved his record to 9-5-1 on the season.
“We just were relentless,” said head coach David Quinn. “Once our power play delivered when it was 3-2, you could feel the momentum change on our bench.”
The Rangers defense had a fantastic game in terms of limiting shots of the opposition. The Sharks didn’t record double-digit shots in any of the three periods. In addition, the Rangers surrendered just two shots in the third period; including not allowing a single shot on a late Sharks power play with a one-goal lead. Marc Staal suffered an injury while blocking a shot and will be a game-time decision against the Ducks.
“There’s a cost to winning,” Quinn said. “It usually entails ice bags and wraps. You’ve got to pay a price to win.”
When the Rangers play the Ducks, the Blueshirts will be going for their first two-game winning streak since Thanksgiving. Since Black Friday, the Rangers have won a game followed up by a defeat. The Rangers will be hoping to break that cycle against Anaheim who has the six fewest points in the league. Depending on results throughout the league, the Rangers could find themselves just two points out of a wild-card position.
The Ducks major struggles have come on the offensive side of the game. Ryan Getzlaf leads the Ducks in scoring with 25 points. Jakob Silfverberg and Rickard Rakell have 22 and 21 points respectively, but outside of those three forwards, the Ducks don’t have another forward with more than 15 points. Anaheim is currently losers in three of the past four games and will hope to turn their fortunes around. Anaheim’s franchise goalie John Gibson will make the start for the Ducks. Gibson has struggled in his career against the Rangers. The 26-year-old has recorded just one win in seven career starts against the Rangers.
Henrik Lundqvist will return to the crease for the Rangers. Lundqvist last suffered defeat in Los Angeles and he will hope to get back on track. Brendan Lemieux will return to the lineup after missing Thursday’s game against the Sharks.
In other Rangers news, Igor Shesterkin recorded a shutout for the Hartford Wolfpack on Friday night. Shesterkin has posted a record of 11-3-3 with a 1.81 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage. The Russian born goaltender has also recorded two shutouts on the season. Fellow Russian prospect Vitali Kravtsov has been recalled from the KHL and will join the Hartford Wolfpack. Kravtsov will look to get his season back on track after struggling to open the year.