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Rangers dominate Bruins on Friday, can they defeat them again Sunday?

February 28, 2021, 12:11 AM ET [125 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers tallied six goals, no that is not a misprint, six goals in their 6-2 win over the Bruins on Friday, spurred on by fans in the stands for the first time this season and since March 7, 2020. Those six markers come a night after the B's allowed seven goals to the Islanders. The result of the 13 goals against means that we will like see an angry Boston team, who already go over the line a little bit, especially Brad Marchand, and probable Rangers' killer Jaroslav Halak between the pipes when these two teams play Sunday.

I am sure everyone was scratching their heads when Friday's lineup was released. Granted, the decisions worked out, But, we will see if lightning can strike twice as the lineup will be the same Sunday. That means no Kaapo Kakko, who is not ready to return from his COVID absence, no Filip Chytil, who we could see Tuesday against Buffalo or Thursday versus New Jersey, Artemi Panarin remains out with no timetable for returning while Jacob Trouba is still sidelined with his broken thumb, though he may beat the 4-6 week initial projected absence to return to the ice. In addition, Anthony Bitetto, a surprising scratch Friday for Jack Johnson with K'Andre Miller returning to the lineup after missing a game due to COVID protocols, remains out while Igor Shesterkin is not between the pipes again.

Ryan Strome has stepped up his game with Panarin out, Kreider, if we could only bottle this and have him drink it before every game, has been physical and a leader. Alexis Lafreniere is showing signs, patience for an 18-year old is a good thing. Therefore, despite the absences of three members of the top-nine, positives exist. Plus, I love that Buch, rather than celebrating, pointed to Adam Fox after his brilliant pass across the crease resulted in the easy tap-in goal. Nothing like recognizing your teammate.

Laf - Mika - Buch 
Kreider - Strome - Blackwell 
Lemieux - Rooney - Brodzinski 
PDG - Howden - Gauthier 

Lindgren - Fox 
Miller - Smith 
Johnson - Hájek 

Georgiev in net

For all those clamoring as to why Igor isn't playing Sunday, why are you surprised? Coach David Quinn said before the season that there was no specific #1 goalie. In addition, he has shown the willingness to play the hot hand. Igor has started just over 60% of the games overall, in line with early expectations while Georgiev is 2-0-2 in his last four and played well enough to warrant another start. especially off the win Friday.

Watching the replay of Friday's game, including the hit below, and reading the accounts make you realize just how far Ryan Lindgren has come and just how valuable he is. For all the rightful talk and hype about Fox, Lindgren has been the perfect pair mate, which might be the case with any blueliner. I said last year that the hope was that this would be 2020's version of Brian Leetch and Jeff Beukeboom, and a year-plus into their professional connection, this looks to be the case. The comment from Quinn below sums up Lindgren perfectly:

"This is a guy that just has willed his way to being a good NHL player in a short period of time," Quinn said. "The thing I give him a lot of credit for; he's adapted. He's kind of leaned up, he's quicker, his hands are better. Everyone talked about his toughness and his competitiveness, but I think his skating is improved, his conditioning is improved, and he's just become a real good player in a short period of time. He's a great complement to Foxy, but I think it'd be a great complement to anybody."

Mollie Walker summed up the challenge Sunday well: "Through 18 games, they’ve won consecutive games in regulation just twice. Their best performances mostly have been followed with poor efforts and lackluster results." New York is 7-8-3, a win puts them at NHL .500. With a struggling Buffalo team, who maybe without Jack Eichel again, coming in and New Jersey, currently having lost four of their last five, on the docket Thursday, if New York can stop the Jeckyl-and-Hyde routine, maybe they can get into contention for fourth in the division.

Vitali Kravtsov finished his KHL season with 16 goals, all below, thanks jimbo for the link. After his hot start, the overall numbers were mildly disappointing, but he showed signs of growth, which was the key. With the KHL playoffs starting Tuesday, we could start the chatter of bringing Kravtsov over relatively quickly. New York had him stay and play all year for Traktor and have to be happy with the strides he made. Once that season officially ends, get him back to North America. If that does not happen, then we can be slightly concerned he may stay in Russia, but that view may be a bit premature. 

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