For the first time in franchise history, the Rangers will host the Seattle Kraken at Madison Square Garden (1:00 P.M. EST, MSG).
|6th||NHL Standing Rank||29th|
On Henrik Lundqvist night, the Rangers were defeated 3-2 by the Minnesota Wild. Emotions were high as Madison Square Garden (MSG) was rocking following a beautiful ceremony and banner raising. For the second straight game, the Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead. However, for the second straight game, the Blueshirts were unable to maintain the lead and ultimately ended up suffering a second straight defeat.
“It seems like we start off well some nights, and then we go to sleep a little bit in a 2nd or vice versa,” said defenseman Ryan Lindgren. “It’s key in this league to play a full 60 (minutes)….”
The Rangers almost found magic late as they appeared to find the game-tying goal with under two seconds remaining in the game. However, the goal was ruled off and after further review, the call on the ice of goaltender interference on Ryan Strome stood.
“It’s a tough call,” said Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant. “We would love that goal to count, but if you look at a video, it’s a 50-50 call.”
The Rangers will look to snap their two-game losing skid against the Seattle Kraken. Adam Fox missed his first game of the season after being placed on the injured reserve list (IR) and will miss Sunday afternoon’s game. Fox won’t play again for the Rangers until after the all-star break. Rookie defenseman Braden Schneider moved onto the team’s top pairing with Lindgren, while Zac Jones was inserted to play with Libor Hajek. With Fox out of the lineup and Patrik Nemeth presumably still out due to personal reasons.
Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko have both not played in over a week. Kakko was placed on the IR but is now eligible to return to the lineup. However, Gallant told the media on Sunday morning that Kakko won’t return until after the all-star break like Fox. Chytil has been dealing with a lower-body injury and is inching closer to returning. The Czech native is close to returning and is feeling better but won’t play against the Kraken on Sunday. Gallant wouldn’t rule Chytil out for their next game.
Barclay Goodrow has been playing with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome the past few games and he has stepped up with players out of the lineup. Goodrow has a three-game goal-scoring streak which he will hope that he can improve to four-in-a-row.
Igor Shesterkin will get the starting nod for the Rangers. Shesterkin saw his seven-game win streak snapped on Friday night. Expect the Russian netminder to start the final two games leading up to the all-star break. Shesterkin was lights out in the first meeting between being the two sides and was the difference-maker in the game.
Seattle enters Sunday’s game coming off a 2-1 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Despite having a poor season, the Kraken has been playing much better as of late and have been winners in four of their last six games; including a win against the Florida Panthers.
The Kraken will be without forwards Brandon Tanev and Jaden Schwartz. Tanev suffered a season-ending injury in December, while Schwartz underwent hand surgery and has been out of the lineup since late December. The former St. Louis Blues’ winger won’t be available for Seattle’s first trip to MSG. Defenseman Carson Soucy is currently week-to-week and won’t play until after the all-star break.
While Seattle is dealing with some injuries to key players, they will have some players the Blueshirts didn’t see in their first meeting. Jared McCann and Marcus Johansson were both out of the lineup on Halloween when the Rangers were in Seattle. McCann leads the Kraken with 26 points while Johansson has chipped in for 14.
Key to the Game
The key to the game is doing what the Rangers haven’t been able to do over the past two games. Play a complete game. As Lindgren said, the Blueshirts haven’t been able to play a full 60 minutes and they have dropped four points after seeing two multi-goal leads slip away.