Pregame Analysis

Rangers & Lundqvist Seek Third Straight Victory

               The Blueshirts are looking for a third straight win as they host the Florida Panthers (1:00 P.M. ET, MSG).

Rangers Ranks Panthers
7-6-1 Record 7-4-5
9th   GF/PG 6th  
23rd GA/PG 25th    
8th PP% 9th
18th PK% 5th

“We got it done,” said Brendan Lemieux. “Hank helped, of course.”

               “That was probably the best game he has played since I’ve been here,” said head coach David Quinn.

               It should come as no surprise that Henrik Lundqvist will make his third straight start. Lundqvist is coming off a back-to-back situation where he started and won both games. The 37-year-old made a combined 80 saves, including 45 against the Hurricanes during the second game of the back-to-back set. Lundqvist was victorious in both starts against the Panthers last season including 39 saves on 41 shots in his start against the Panthers at Madison Square Garden.

               Mika Zibanejad will miss his sixth straight game after suffering an injury against the Boston Bruins two weeks ago. In his absence, Ryan Strome has six points in five games with Zibanejad out of the lineup.

               “He takes a step forward and then it’s a step back,” Quinn said. “It really is day-to-day. I know we all want more definitive answers, but it’s day-to-day.”

               Zibanejad won’t be the only Blueshirt out of the lineup as Marc Staal underwent surgery for an infection in one of his ankles. Staal will be out for two weeks before being reevaluated. This leaves the Blueshirts with just six healthy defenders. In addition to the penalty kill, Brendan Smith could see additional work as a defender if an injury were to occur.

               “These guys have played well,” Quinn said. I thought Fox and Lindgren were really good against Carolina. Fox has obviously had a really good start; Lindgren has stepped in and played well every time he’s been out there. So, we’re confident in our D corps.”

               The Panthers are coming off a 2-1 defeat against the New York Islanders on Saturday. Sergei Bobrovsky made 34 saves in defeat. In the second leg of Florida’s back-to-back, Bobrovsky will likely be watching Sam Montembeault make his fourth start of the season. Montembeault is 1-1-1 with a 2.80 goals against average and a .905 save percentage. Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov lead the Panthers in points with 20 each.

               The Blueshirts are expected to stick with the same lineup as they did against the Carolina Hurricanes, with the exception of Brady Skjei in the lineup for Staal. With a win, Lundqvist would tie Curtis Joseph for fifth on the all-time goalie win list.

Projected Lineup

Panarin-Strome-Fast

Kreider-Chytil-Buchnevich

Lemieux-Howden-Kakko

McKegg-Andersson-Smith

Hajek-Trouba

Skjei-DeAngelo

Lindgren-Fox

Lundqvist

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