Rangers Host Struggling Blackhawks
After another blown lead, the Blueshirts are back in action where they take on a Blackhawks team that is struggling mightily (7:30 P.M. ET, MSG).
|15th||NHL Standing Rank||31st|
The Rangers concluded a home-and-home that ended in an overtime defeat to the Ottawa Senators. New York ended up with three points out of a possible four against the Senators but ultimately, they were left with a sour taste in their mouths. With under a minute to go and up by the score of 2-1, Jacob Trouba’s clearing attempt was stopped on the line by Ottawa defenseman Thomas Chabot. Chabot’s wrister would be deflected by Brady Tkachuk and would beat Igor Shesterkin with under a minute to play. The Rangers two goals were scored by Vitaly Kravtsov and Mika Zibanejad.
In overtime, Zibanejad would see his breakaway stopped by Senators netminder Cam Talbot whereas Tkachuk would score his second of the game on a breakaway of his own. Shesterkin made 34 saves in a losing effort. Ultimately, the Rangers lost a vital point due to failing to close out a game.
Rangers vs Blackhawks
The Rangers will look to put Friday night’s game behind them as they take on the Chicago Blackhawks. Prior to the game, the Rangers made a couple of roster moves by sending Zac Jones to the AHL and calling up Ben Harpur. This move is likely just to save some salary cap dollars in games in which Jones isn’t playing. It is believed that the Blueshirts liked how Libor Hajek has played and want to give him an opportunity. The other roster move the Blueshirts made was calling up Jonny Brodzinski. It sounds like one Rangers forward is banged up and won’t be available for Saturday night’s game. Expect Brodzinski to join the lineup if the injured forward can’t play.
Jaroslav Halak is expected to be in goal for the Rangers. Halak won his last start in Ottawa in his most impressive showing as a member of the Rangers. It is possible that Gallant could start Shesterkin in back-to-back games like he did during the past Western Conference road trip. However, given how well Halak played against Ottawa, that would be unlikely.
The good news for the Rangers is they will look to bounce back against a struggling Blackhawks team. Chicago has lost eight straight games and ten of their last eleven. However, the Rangers can’t take them lightly as they recently fell victim to the Anaheim Ducks who currently sit last place in the league. The Blackhawks still have some dangerous weapons including Patrick Kane. Kane, who has been rumored in trade talks, has 17 points in 22 games. The three-time Stanley Cup winner has just three goals on the season. Kane is on a line with fellow three-time Stanley Cup winner Jonathan Toews. Toews isn’t the player he once was but is having a respectable season. The Blackhawks captain has 13 points in 22 games including eight goals.
Chicago currently rosters three ex-Rangers including Jack Johnson and Jarred Tinordi on defense. The duo mostly served as depth defenders and played often on the bottom defensive pair. Tinordi has been out of the lineup since November 25th with a hip injury. They also have Colin Blackwell who the Rangers lost in the expansion draft to Seattle. Blackwell had a career year with the Rangers by scoring 22 points including 12 goals. Blackwell currently has just 3 assists this season.
The Rangers power-play continued to be ice cold on Friday night as they went 0-2. Over the past seven games, the Blueshirts have just one power-play goal on 19 attempts. Chicago currently has the 24th ranked penalty kill and they are the 12th most penalized team per game. The Rangers power-play will be looking to break the drought against a vulnerable Blackhawks team.
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