The Rangers look to extend their road winning streak to nine games in their former House of Horrors, the Bell Centre. Coach David Quinn and the team have pointed to their November 23, 6-5 comeback win from a 4-0 deficit on the road in Montreal as the main turning point in their season. Alexandar Georgiev will be between the pipes for a second straight contest for New York, who take on the Flyers tomorrow night in Philly.
Quinn after Wednesday’s practice:
Even Quinn admitted to scoreboard watching, basically saying he always watches the NHL, but is now watching with increased earnest. I think the same can be said for all of us. While we are hockey fans - specifically fans of the Blueshirts - the recent run has invigorated all of us to pay even closer attention to the daily action on the ice and standings. The term “meaningful games” is sometimes just thrown around, but in this case, it’s accurate, as the team will be playing meaningful games in at least March and hopefully April as well as possibly beyond.
The good news portion of Wednesday’s practice was the appearance of Pavel Buchnevich. Buch, injured in the car accident Sunday night, is on the road trip with the team. It’s uncertain if he will suit up, as he is still dealing with bumps and bruises, but it’s a major positive that he was on the ice and about to join the team at practice.
If Buch doesn’t go, which is my expectation at least for tonight and probably tomorrow as well, the lineup will likely be the same as against the Islanders. Filip Chytil should remain o n the first line with Zib and Kreider. One tweak I would make is placing Julien Gauthier, returning to where he grew up, on the third line centered by Brett Howden with Kaapo Kakko on the wing. Move Phil Di Giuseppe to play with Greg McKegg, who is centering the fourth line. Brendan Smith will once again be paired with Jacob Trouba.
Starting Georgiev isn’t a shock, as Lundqvist has struggled in Montreal. If Hank doesn’t go tomorrow, then an even clearer message as to his future is being sent. I would start him in Philly, unless Georgiev is so brilliant tonight that you roll with the hot hand.
Elliotte Friedman’s 31 thoughts
has two interrelated Rangers’ points, centering in Chris Kreider. One the signing and the other the downstream impact. Both are what we have discussed in the blog and comments and in line with our belief.
At all-star, one individual speculated that six years at $6.75-million AAV would keep Chris Kreider in Manhattan. He was almost bang-on, with seven years and $6.5 being the final numbers. A few potential pursuers indicated afterward they always believed that would be the eventual outcome, although it was in doubt as late as Sunday afternoon. I heard there was one particular team that engaged, but the two sides could not agree on parameters. Educated guess is Colorado, but they weren’t willing to go where the Rangers needed them to go.
Moving Skjei allows the Rangers freedom to take care of internal business, like Anthony DeAngelo and Ryan Strome.