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Rangers look to avenge Sunday loss & create more space between two teams

March 16, 2023, 9:23 PM ET [280 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers look to build off their solid performance Tuesday against the Caps tonight against the Penguins. Pittsburgh outplayed and defeated New York 3-2 in overtime on Sunday. The two sides meet tonight and again Saturday at MSG. The Blueshirts are now eight points ahead of the Penguins with both teams having 15 games remaining. Victories in each game by New York would pretty much cement their hold on third place in the division and possibly narrow the game with first and second place.



Tonight's lines will be the same as Tuesday and should remain in place at least for a while, especially if the improvements we saw the other night continue. The puck possession and speed through the neutral zone were greatly improved from recent games. As said in my prior blog, I could see coach Gerard Gallant tweaking combinations late in games if the team is protecting a narrow lead, besides having the fourth line on the ice. Few in the top-nine play a strong defensive game, which is why I propose that suggestion.

On the blue line, Ryan Lindgren will miss his ninth straight game. The criticism recently of the defense is warranted, though part of the issue is the forward's poor own zone coverage and failure to pick up the trailer. Adam Fox has struggled since the All-Star break and not all is due to Lindgren being sidelined. Braden Schneider's growth has flatlined a bit as well, which is mildly concerning, but he is just a second year player who took further leaps and bounds last year than originally expected. As such, some leeway needs to be given here.

Igor Shesterkin will be between the pipes again. The same should be the case Saturday with Jaroslav Halak facing Nashville on Sunday. After tonight, 14 contests remain. With three remaining back to backs, Halak should play in one of all three of those contests. Once a playoff spot is locked up and positioning determining, I could see Igor rested a game or two down the stretch to keep him fresh for the hopeful long post season run.

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