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Rangers kick off "Rivalry Week" with contest against the Caps

March 14, 2023, 10:26 PM ET [265 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers kick off their own version of Rivalry Week tonight at MSG, New York takes on divisional rival Washington (with Sonny Milano out and Alex Ovechkin questionable) before a pair of games against Pittsburgh (Thursday and Saturday). These three contests are part of a five-game homestand that sees Nashville come in Sunday followed by a home-and-home with Carolina, now without Andrei Svechnikov but still an elite team. 

The lines tonight are the same that ended Sunday's contest. Coach Gerard Gallant is searching for any combinations, besides the fourth line, that works. As a result, the Kid Line, which has slumped recently, is reunited, since that is an easy default position. Kreider-Trocheck-Kane, which showed a modicum of chemistry in the loss to the Pens, get another chance to show if that performance was a fluke or sustainable. As a result, that leaves Panarin-Zibanejad-Tarasenko to try and provide a level of consistent offense.


On the blue line, the same six that have dressed recently remain in the lineup. This means Ryan Lindgren is out again today. Per the beat writers, he did off-ice conditioning instead of skating with the team this morning, which could mean he's taken a step back in his recovery from an apparent left shoulder injury. No definitive word has been provided on if he has a setback, but the migration back to off-ice workouts is not a step in the right direction.

When Lindgren was first injured, many, including myself, thought this could be a 3-4 week injury. But the hope was given Lindgren's Warrior status, he would be back sooner. Tonight is the eighth game he has missed. Long term injured reserve requires 10 games and 24 days, which for the Rangers would have been 12 games. If Lindgren missed four more games, the decision to not place him on LTIR and use that cap room to call up a player or two from Hartford to replace him and others while NY was shorthanded looks even worse. If the injury keeps Lindgren out even longer, the team's current decision to keep him active means that the organization cost themselves a chance to add someone else before the March 3 trade deadline. 

Igor Shesterkin gets to build off his recent success between the pipes, as he will be in net tonight. Look for Shesterkin to play Thursday and Saturday with Jaroslav Halak in net Sunday against Nashville. The play in net seems to be the least of our concerns right now. 

In addition, tonight's broadcast on ESPN will be a little different than usual:

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