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Game 26: NYR-LV, Looking for three in a row against the Golden Knights

December 2, 2019, 4:31 PM ET [136 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers return home after a pair of games on the road to face the Golden Knights tonight at MSG. New York is aiming to extend their win streak to three games while Las Vegas is 4-5-1 in their last 10 contests. Malcolm Subban will be between the pipes with Marc-Andre Fleury still sidelined following the passing of his father.

David Quinn tweaked the lines Saturday. After Zib first returned, we had the KZB line reunited along with Panarin-Chyil-Strome. Quinn’s chances Saturday lengthened the lineup. Tonight, Jesper Fast – on his birthday – is a game-time decision, after missing the morning skate. He did miss some time in the game against the Devils, and if he is sidelined, Boo Nieves will replace him.


As Larry Brooks wrote, “I’d be surprised if Kreider and Chytil remain on the third line very long. You could create a top six of Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Pavel Buchnevich and Artemi Panarin-Chytil-Kaapo Kakko with the third unit consisting of either Brendan Lemieux-Brett Howden-Ryan Strome or Lemieux-Strome-Jesper Fast with Howden as the fourth-line center.” I would like to see KZB line stick together with Panarin-Chyil-Strome getting a chance, as they looked like a trio that could be dangerous. But if going Panarin-Chytil-Kakko, elevating Kakko to the top-six to stay, seems to be a likely future direction. Strome can play the wing, but having him as the third line center with Lemieux and Fast on the wings work for me, as I view Howden as a fourth line center. The issue with that deployment is that Howden won’t have a chance to develop as he would on the third line due to a reduction in minutes when Quinn mainly goes with three lines.

Brooks wrote about the power play, which I noted in my recap to the weekend’s games.

“I’m surprised the Rangers stayed with their four right-handed shooting first power-play unit (Panarin, Zibanejad, Strome, Adam Fox or Tony DeAngelo with the lefty-shooting Kreider) while Kakko remained with the second group. The Blueshirts still, and critically, must work out whether Panarin or Zibanejad owns that prime piece of left-circle real estate where each has thrived with lethal one-timers. Before Zibanejad was injured on Oct. 27, the Blueshirts had No. 93 in the bumper position in the middle while Panarin manned up in the left circle. That is where Panarin operated while Zibanejad was sidelined for 13 games. But since Zibanejad returned three games ago, he has primarily lined up in the left circle while Panarin has been on the right. The right circle, by the way, is where the left-handed Kakko is always primed for a one-timer while establishing chemistry with Panarin, as well.

Kakko should be moved up to the first unit with Strome moved down. Put Kakko at the right circle, so as Brooks, noted he can use the one-time. Zib lived at the left dot last year but Panarin is excellent there, so you can alternate the two, resulting in additional challenges for the defense. Both can thrive there and create for their teammates.

For those who live in NY, see below:

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