New York Rangers back to work as they face Flames at home
The New York Rangers are back at it after the All-Star Break. Beginning tonight, they start a tough schedule to close out the season with the Calgary Flames in town.
“There’s 33 games left and I we see there’s a lot of company in the standings,” Gerard Gallant said on Sunday. “Try and play well to get two points every night. That’s the goal.”
The Rangers currently sit six points behind the New Jersey Devils for second-place in the Metro with each team even at 49 games. Both squads are in action on Monday as the Devils host the Canucks.
Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:
New York Rangers (27-14-8) vs. Calgary Flames (24-17-9)
Date/Time: February 6, 2023 at 7:30 PM ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden
Radio: ESPN 98.7
New York Rangers host Calgary Flames
The New York Rangers practiced on Sunday with a fully loaded 23-man roster after recalling both Will Cuylle and Sammy Blais.
Based off of yesterday’s line rushes, Cuylle looks like he will be back on the fourth line left wing with Jake Leschyshyn after impressing in his two previous games before being returned to the Hartford Wolf Pack during the break. Vitali Kravtsov appears to be a scratch again.
The question will be if Blais is going to replace Julien Gauthier after he scored four goals in five games with the Pack during his conditioning stint.
“It was big for me to go down there during the break playing 20 minutes a night,” Blais said. “For sure more confidence now driving the puck with more ice time. Hopefully I can bring that here.”
New York is playing second contest of a four-game home stand against the Flames. They opened it up with a 4-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights as Cuylle made his Garden debut and was victorious in his first NHL fight. The stand concludes with games against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday and the Seattle Kraken on Friday.
Expected to get the start in net tonight is Igor Shesterkin, who made his first All-Star appearance over the weekend stopping 5 of 9 shots in his 10 minutes of action.
For his career versus the Flames, the 27 year-old netminder is 0-2-0 with a GAA of 5.50 and a .851 save percentage.
Update: Per Vince Mercogliano, Jaroslav Halak is the first goalie off indicating he’ll be getting the start. Per Larry Brooks, both Will Cuylle and Sammy Blais will play with Julien Gauthier scratched.
Leading the team in scoring is Artemi Panarin with 50 points in 49 games to date. He registered 3 assists at the All-Star Game but is now focused on the Rangers season.
“The sky’s the limit,” Panarin said via a translator. “There’s always something to achieve and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Things have really turned around for the Blueshirts after captain Jacob Trouba went off on the team during an embarrassing loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at the Garden. The Rangers are on a 16-4-3 run since the helmet toss on December 5.
“It’s time to get back to work,” Trouba noted. “It’s a tight race for the playoffs– we’re in the mix and we’re looking forward to a good stretch run.”
Flames fighting for the playoffs
When the Flames hit the ice, they will be a hungry and desperate hockey squad that sits outside of the playoffs.
The team beat the Kraken 5-2 before the All-Star break and are winners in three of their last four contests. They’re tied with the Colorado Avalanche at 57 points for the final wild card spot, but are have played two more games keeping them on the outs.
Elias Lindholm leads the team in scoring with 45 points in 49 games this season. Free agent acquisition Nazem Kadri paces the Flames in goals with 19.
Jacob Markstrom has struggled this year in net but is coming on strong as of late. He has a record of 13-13-5 with a GAA of 2.86 and a .893 save percentage.
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