The Rangers return to the east coast to take on the Philadelphia Flyers for the conclusion of their five-game road trip (7:00 P.M. EST, MSG+).
|3rd||NHL Standing Rank||26th|
The Rangers defeated the San Jose Sharks by a score of 3-0. The Blueshirts got a shorthanded goal from Chris Kreider and the first career goal from Braden Schneider in his first career game. Kreider would later tally an empty-net goal for his 23rd of the season.
Igor Shesterkin recorded his third shutout of the season making 37 saves. This was Shesterkin’s first game back since being activated from the COVID protocol. Shesterkin is expected to make the start in Philadelphia.
The Blueshirts will get some reinforcements as Julien Gauthier and Ryan Reaves have cleared the COVID protocol and will be available against Philadelphia. In addition, Dryden Hunt is practicing as his return inches closer. The Rangers have had a lot of different line combinations over the past month and they have adapted well and have hung in there. The returns of Gauthier and Reaves will bring some normalcy back to the lineup.
Head coach Gerard Gallant and assistant coach Mike Kelly have also cleared the protocol. Gallant missed the previous two games behind the bench. Kris Knoblauch, the head in Hartford, served as the interim head coach as he went 1-1-0. Knoblauch has returned to Hartford to resume his head coaching duties for the Rangers minor league team.
The Flyers enter this game on a down note. Philadelphia is currently on a winless streak of six games (0-4-2) and they have yet to win in 2022. They fired their head coach, Alain Vigneault earlier in the season and have since been coached by Mike Yeo who has served as the interim head coach. The Flyers made a lot of moves entering the season including the additions of Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen. Both defenders were brought in to help stabilize a shaky defensive core, however, both will be unavailable on Saturday night. Ellis is currently dealing with a lower-body injury and is out indefinitely while Ristolainen has just cleared the COVID protocol but isn’t quite ready yet.
The news gets worse for Philadelphia as Sean Couturier is still out with injury and he won’t play a role in Saturday’s game. Leading the Flyers in points is Claude Giroux who has 29 points on the season. Giroux has been selected to represent the Flyers for the seventh all-star game of his career this season.
Key to the Game
The Blueshirts need to come out and take care of business. They’ll be the favorites entering the game in a hostile environment. The best thing they can do is score early and take the crowd out of the game.