The Rangers are in Boston where they’ll look to snap a two-game losing and get back to .500 (7:00 P.M. ET, MSG2).
|Rangers||East Division Ranks /8||Bruins|
The end of the six-game road trip inches closer as the Rangers will play Boston in a two-game set prior to returning back to Madison Square Garden. The road trip started with two wins in New Jersey before being canceled out by two defeats in Pittsburgh. The Blueshirts will look to close out the road-trip in strong fashion when they take on a Bruins side that has struggled as of late. Boston has only won one of the past four games and only managed more than one goal in just one of those games.
The Bruins problems go further than the recent defeats and offensive struggles. Former first-round pick Jake DeBrusk was a healthy scratch in their previous game against the Islanders. DeBrusk has been a mainstay on the Bruins second line.
Zach Senyshyn, who was drafted one pick after DeBrusk, will make his season debut on Thursday night as the Bruins look to shake up the lineup and find some more offense.
Boston is also dealing with some injuries including Brandon Carlo who is out indefinitely. Carlo was the recipient of a hit from Capitals forward Tom Wilson who was suspended seven-games for the hit. Ondrej Kase is a middle-six forward for the Bruins has just started skating but remains unavailable.
Lastly, Bruins starting goalie Tuukka Rask has a lingering injury and will not be available. With Rask out, Jaroslav Halak will get the start for the Bruins. Halak has been stellar against the Rangers throughout his career. Halak holds a record of 23-8-1 with four shutouts against the Rangers.
While the Bruins are going through a difficult time, the Rangers have great reason to have optimism. Firstly, Artemi Panarin has returned from his leave of absence and has joined the Rangers in Boston. Panarin won’t play Thursday night as he looks to regain game shape and some practice under his belt. But Panarin could be available as early as Saturday afternoon for the finale of the road trip.
“Just more skating,” said head coach David Quinn when asked when Panarin would return to the lineup. “He hasn’t been skating a lot, so I just want to make sure we put him in a position to succeed.”
“He walked into breakfast and everybody was pretty happy to see him,” said defender Jacob Trouba.
Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov has finished his season in the KHL (Russian Hockey League) and is expected to fly to New York where he will likely get a shot to make his NHL debut. The 21-year-old is expected to have a 10-to-14-day transitional quarantine period before being allowed to practice with the team. Kravtsov scored 16 goals and registered 24 points in 49 games in the regular season. Kravtsov’s addition to the lineup would provide the Rangers with some much-needed depth in the middle-six.
Igor Shesterkin is inching closer to his return from a mild-groin strain. Shesterkin won’t be available on Thursday night, but he could be ready as soon as Saturday. With Shesterkin out, Alex Georgiev will make the start for the Rangers. Georgiev struggled in his last outing after he allowed three goals on six shots.