After one of the most embarrassing losses in recent memory, the Blueshirts will look to bounce back against the Florida Panthers (7:00 P.M. ET, MSG2).
Thursday night, the Rangers entered Tampa Bay on a four-game point streak and were feeling good about themselves. After seven minutes of play in the first period, the Blueshirts found themselves down 4-0. The night wouldn’t get any easier as they allowed another five goals. Simply put, this game was a disaster for the Rangers that they would like to forget. The final score was 9-3 in favor of Tampa Bay. The Rangers allowed a season-high five powerplay goals. Chris Kreider scored near the end of the first period and Filip Chytil added two goals in the third period. Artemi Panarin registered an assist to extend his point streak to ten games.
Prior to the game, Kaapo Kakko was ruled out due to the flu. The injury news didn’t get better as Jacob Trouba left and did not return with an upper-body injury. Head coach David Quinn said after the game that he was walking around with no sign of anything wrong and that he could play against Florida. Alex Georgiev and Henrik Lundqvist each saw time in the game and neither faired too well.
“Frustration kicks in and we’ve just got to do a better job controlling ourselves with our frustration level… We have shown this tendency in the short season so far – when things don’t go well, we don’t make them better,” Quinn said.
“It can’t be the same two or three guys going out and trying to hit and trying to fight and trying to get the group going,” said Kreider. “Everyone’s got to collectively be taking that extra step… You don’t have to run a guy over, but just shoot hips and make contact.”
The Blueshirts will look to burn that out of their memory and have a bounce-back performance against the Florida Panthers. The Panthers were victorious in the first meeting last Sunday 6-5 in a shootout. This time around the Rangers will see Florida’s ten-million-dollar free agent signing Sergei Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky is off to a rough start to the season with a 6-4-4 record with a 3.57 goals against average and an .880 save percentage. Continuing to be red hot is Aleksander Barkov who has a seven-game point streak and leads the team in points.
Tonight’s game will be Quinn’s 100th game as an NHL head coach. Quinn will become the 21st head coach to coach 100 games in the history of the New York Rangers franchise.
The good news for the Blueshirts is they have bounced back very well after suffering defeat. They have earned a victory in each of their last four games following a defeat. After missing Thursday’s game against the Lightning, Kakko is expected to return to the lineup. Lundqvist will get the nod for the Rangers as announced by Quinn prior to the start of Thursday’s game. Lundqvist and the defense will hope to not allow this game to get into a shootout like they on Sunday against Florida. If Trouba is unavailable, expect Smith to drop back on defense and Michael Haley to remain in the lineup.