New York Rangers look to take down Kings without Gerard Gallant
While the New York Rangers welcomed back their leading point scorer the past two seasons, Artemi Panarin, they will not have head coach Gerard Gallant behind the bench.
Gallant was placed on COVID protocol on Sunday. The same day they announced Panarin had cleared after missing four games. New York went 3-1 in his absence.
The Rangers have won four of their past five heading into Monday’s road game against the Los Angeles Kings. They will now have AHL Wolf Pack bench boss Kris Knoblauch at the helm to keep the points coming.
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Rangers getting offense from unexpected sources
Ryan Lindgren produced the first-multi goal game of his NHL career when he scored twice in a 4-1 win at the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night, doubling his goal total on the season.
Jarred Tinordi scored the go-ahead goal in the win over Anaheim, his first of the season and just the second goal in 108 NHL games.
“I guess it’s a little extra special when guys who don’t score often, do a good job defensively and may not get so much credit on offense, they get to score,” said Mika Zibanejad, who scored the other goal for the Rangers on Saturday. “That’s fun, especially when they’re important goals.”
The Rangers can move past the Carolina Hurricanes and into first place in the Metropolitan Division by earning at least a point against the Kings.
Rangers unexpected challenges
Despite having Panarin back, the Rangers will likely need to continue relying on some of their younger and less experienced players, especially up front.
Ryan Reaves and Julien Gauthier are also in COVID-19 protocol, and Dryden Hunt sustained an upper-body injury in the opener of the five-game road trip on Thursday against the Vegas Golden Knights and was placed on injured reserve.
Lindgren said the Rangers just need to maintain the course they established in Anaheim.
“I think we play our best when we play simple, cycle the puck, go low to high and get pucks to the net,” Lindgren said. “That’s winning hockey for us.”
Alexis Lafrenière may possibly switch to the right wing, but nothing is set with regards to that Additionally, the Wolf Pack line of Morgan Barron, Tim Gettinger, and Jonny Brodzinski did a good jog in Anaheim. That line will likely be broken up to accommodate the return of Panarin.
Kings heating up
The Kings are feeling confident as well after beating the Detroit Red Wings 4-0 on Saturday night in Los Angeles for their third win in the past four games.
“We’re building a good thing right now,” said Phillip Danault, who has four points for Los Angeles in the past three games (two goals, two assists). “We’ve just got to bring it every game.”
The Kings came out blazing against the Red Wings, taking 27 shots on goal in the first period to tie the franchise record for the most in a period.
Kings coach Todd McLellan didn’t give the team the day off after its one-sided win against Detroit. Instead, he hoped to clean up some of the smaller mistakes that Los Angeles won’t get away with against the Rangers.
“(Sunday) is another test in practice,” McLellan said on Saturday night. “Won’t be long, but there will be some things we’ll need against a good Rangers team.”
Kings forward Dustin Brown will be looking for the 700th point of his NHL career, and Adrian Kempe is one goal shy of his career high of 16 set in the 2017-18 season.
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–Field Level Media contributed to this article