Pregame Analysis

Rangers Hope to Play Spoiler in Home Season Finale

In the final game of the season at Madison Square Garden, the Blueshirts host the Columbus Blue Jackets where they hope to play the role of spoiler (7:00 P.M. ET, MSG+).

The Rangers may be out of the playoffs, but Friday night’s opponents are still in the thick of it for the final playoff spot. The Blue Jackets are tied with the Montreal Canadiens at 94 points with a game in hand. This game will be a good test for the young Rangers against a team with everything to play for.

“How this season ends, you’re going to carry through the summer,” said head coach David Quinn. “So let’s take advantage of our opportunity tomorrow night.”

The Blue Jackets were an active team during the trade deadline. In separate trades, the Blue Jackets acquired Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel from the Ottawa Senators. They also partnered with the Rangers to acquire Adam McQuaid. With a win tonight, the Blue Jackets will clinch the final wildcard spot.

“We’re definitely excited for this challenge,” said Brady Skjei. “It’d be good to play spoiler for those teams and we definitely will put our best foot forward. Guys are fighting for lasting impressions on coaching and management and for next year’s training camp. So everyone in this locker room should put their best foot forward and have a good effort.”

One Ranger looking to make a lasting impression on the season is 21-year-old Ryan Lindgren. Lindgren was recalled from Hartford on Thursday, and he will get his second stint with the club this season. The Minnesota native played three games with the Blueshirts prior to the all-star break.

“Two games left, so for myself a good opportunity to play well and show what I got,” Lindgren said. “It’s obviously very exciting and should be a fun two games.”

Lindgren will look to limit the scoring chances of Columbus’s Artemi Panarin. Panarin leads the Blue Jackets in points (84) and both of his career hat tricks have come at Madison Square Garden.

Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start for Columbus. Bobrovsky has been red hot prior to Tuesday’s defeat at the Bruins. Bobrovsky had won five straight games including three shutouts in that span. Bobrovsky has a league leading nine shutouts.

Alex Georgiev will likely make his final start of the season. Georgiev has had a wonderful season when playing on home ice. Georgiev holds a 7-3-2 record with a 2.25 goals against average and a .929 save percentage this season.

Filip Chytil, who missed Wednesday’s game against the Senators, is still listed as day-to-day. Chytil has not been ruled out for either of the remaining two games.

In other news, Glen Sather has stepped down as team president. The Blueshirts have begun an immediate search to find a new one. According to Sportsnet, Mark Messier, Steve Yzerman and John Davidson are on the list of possible replacements.

Projected Lineup

Kreider-Zibanejad-Buchnevich

Namestnikov-Howden-Strome

Vesey-Nieves-Lemieux

Smith-Andersson-Lettieri

Skjei-Shattenkirk

Staal-DeAngelo

Lindgren-Pionk

Georgiev

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