Lafreniere must seize opportunity with Panarin out; Shesterkin to start for Rangers against Bruins

Rangers vs Bruins: The Blueshirts played the best team in the East Division tough last game but fell short in OT. Tonight they will have some more adversity thrown their way with Artemi Panarin out of action.

Rangers: 4-5-3 (11 pts)
Bruins: 9-1-2 (20 pts)

The Rangers skated this morning and Alexis Lafreniere was moved up to replace Artemi Panarin on the second line with Ryan Strome and Kaapo Kakko.

(7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG+, Radio: ESPN 1050 AM)

New York Rangers vs Bruins: Igor Shesterkin gets the call

Igor Shesterkin is your starter for tonight’s game against the Big Bad Bruins. He will look to take his 3-3-1 record with a .916 SV% and 2.31 GAA into the Garden and come out on the right side of the win column.

The 25 year-old net minder is starting to get going as he’s won three of his last four starts (3-1) with a .939 SV% and a 1.74 GAA. He has a 13-5-1 record in 20 NHL games. Per NHL Stats and Information, Shesterkin’s 13 wins are tied with Lorne Chabot for the most by a Rangers goaltender within his first 20 career NHL appearances.

Alexis Lafreniere with a huge opportunity due to Artemi Panarin injury

Artemi Panarin is day-today with a lower-body injury. “We don’t think it’s anything serious or long term,” David Quinn said. “It was just unfortunate he won’t be able to go.”

rangers sabres
Panarin still believes (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Rangers leading scorer’s replacement is none other than #1 pick, Alexis Lafreniere. “We all really feel that Laffy continues to improve and we want to put him in a position where he’s going to have the success that he’s capable of having,” Quinn responded to the move.

This is a huge opportunity for Lafreniere, but he needs to be more assertive offensively. Currently he’s playing a very sound defensive game which is why the coaching staff is willing to play him. But for an offensive star like Alexis, safe is death.

It’s time the kid grabbed control of the puck and took a few extra risks to make a difference on the scoreboard.

Pre Game Notes

  • All-Time vs Boston: 259-293-97-4 (149-124-55-1 at home; 110-169-42-3 on the road)
  • Brendan Lemieux – 6 GP, 0-2-2 – Lemieux tied single-game career-highs with two assists and two points on Feb. 10, 2021 vs. Boston.
  • Julien Gauthier – 1 GP, 1-0-1 – Gauthier registered his first career NHL goal, as well as his first goal as a Ranger, on Feb. 10, 2021 vs. Boston.
  • Each of the Rangers’ last 10 games, and 10 of the team’s 12 games this season, have been decided by two or fewer goals, and seven of those contests have been decided by one goal.
  • Adam Fox has logged at least 24:52 of ice time in nine of the last 10 games, including 26:00 or more of ice time in three of the last four games, and he has led the Rangers in ice time in eight of the last 10 contests
  • The Blueshirts have either outscored their opponent on special teams or have tied their opponent in special teams scoring in eight of 12 games in 2020-21.

INJURIES (23 Man-Games Lost to Injury)

  • Filip Chytil (upper-body; 4-6 weeks from time of injury on Jan. 24) – has missed seven games
  • Jack Johnson (lower-body; day-to-day) – has missed six games
  • Colin Blackwell (upper-body) – has missed four games RETURNS TONIGHT
  • Brendan Smith (upper-body) – has missed three games

Pre Game Notes courtesy NYR

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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