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Rangers face Flames at home with new power play unit combinations

February 12, 2024, 5:52 PM ET [254 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
A pair of teams riding four-game win streaks meet tonight at MSG. New York, off a 4-3 overtime win in Chicago on Friday, should be well-rested. Calgary, hot after trading Elias Lindholm with Jonathan Huberdeau finding his game, have gotten back into the fringes of Wild Card contention in the West. Igor Shesterkin makes his second straight start. I expect Jonathan Quick to be in net vs. Montreal with Shesterkin facing the Islanders in the Stadium Series game.

The Rangers called up Adam Edstrom and Matt Rempe on Saturday, sending down Jake Leschyshyn. Based on yesterday's practice and today's open skate, Edstrom is replacing Tyler Pitlick on the fourth line with Rempe also dressing as an extra. This is in line with how it looked yesterday as well, with coach Peter Laviolette wanting to look at Rempe in practice.

New York is in evaluation mode, especially for the bottom-trio. The same, though, should be true on the first and third lines depending on how the current 14 are deployed. It's pretty clear the first line could use an uplift at right wing, and if that turns out to be Kaapo Kakko again, then the third line may need some support as well.

Edstrom, who just returned from his own injury Saturday, and Rempe, each have played well at Hartford. Both are deserving of a promotion. Whether that means either or both remain in the lineup is to be seen but they bring a different look and dynamic to the roster. Edstrom gets the first chance to build off his solid debut late last year while Rempe, who recently moved to center but has normally played wing, has to wait his turn.

The struggling power play saw a material change in Sunday's practice. Given the top unit's recent failings, a shake up was expected and needed. Blake Wheeler and Jonny Brodzinski moved onto the "top" unit with Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck sliding down to the "second" unit. Time and success will tell if these combinations remain together.

There is no question the units have gone stagnant and success recently has been fleeting. Brodzinski in the bumper spot for Trocheck due to his willingness to shoot makes some sense. Not sure I understand why Wheeler is getting a chance, though he does have a hard shot, so the goal may be to generate more rebounds, and he still has a knack to set up his teammates, opening up lanes and chances.

How the PP TOI will be split up remains to be seen. Will Lavy go with each group getting a minute each? If one group gets hot, will he ride the hot hand? How long he tries these new units also is unknown.

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