New York Rangers must summon road warrior spirit for tough stretch ahead
When the New York Rangers finished their third period lambasting of the Carolina Hurricanes, it started them off on the right path with a tough stretch ahead.
After completing a perfect four-game home stand to improve their record at Madison Square Garden to 16-9-4, they embarked on an arduous journey that will have them playing 10 of 14 on the road.
Defeating the Hurricanes by a 6-2 score, it improved their road record to 15-5-4. New York now heads out west for three games beginning with the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday. That’ll be followed by a pit stop in Alberta for a back-to-back set against the Edmonton Oilers (Friday) and Calgary Flames (Saturday).
“Everybody’s got funky schedules this time of year,” Jacob Trouba acknowledged. “Everybody’s playing back-to-backs with travel… It is what it is.”
New York Rangers must be road warriors
At the start of play today, the Blueshirts have 70 points, good for third in the Metro Division. They’re also just three points behind the New Jersey Devils for second-place and eight points up on the fourth-place Washington Capitals.
A look at the Rangers’ upcoming schedule shows just how difficult the team has it until March 12. The breakdown has them playing 13 games in 26 days beginning on Wednesday when they face the Canucks. This includes four sets of back-to-backs with heavy travel.
|Wed. Feb 15||10:00 PM||at Vancouver|
|Fri. Feb 17||9:00 PM||at Edmonton|
|Sat. Feb 18||10:00 PM||at Calgary|
|Mon. Feb 20||7:00 PM||Winnipeg|
|Thu. Feb 23||7:00 PM||at Detroit|
|Sat. Feb 25||1:00 PM||at Washington|
|Sun. Feb 26||5:00 PM||Los Angeles|
|Wed. Mar 1||7:30 PM||at Philadelphia|
|Thu. Mar 2||7:00 PM||Ottawa|
|Sat. Mar 4||1:00 PM||at Boston|
|Thu. Mar 9||7:00 PM||Montreal|
|Sat. Mar 11||5:00 PM||at Buffalo|
|Sun. Mar 12||4:00 PM||at Pittsburgh|
The Rangers are one of the NHL’s best road teams which bodes well for what lies ahead. Of course, that has a lot to do with the play of Igor Shesterkin, who is 9-1-4 away from the Garden with a GAA of 2.19 and a .930 save percentage.
Here’s how the team stacks up on the road against the rest of the NHL.
|Points Percentage||.708 (5th)|
|Shots Against/GP||30.0 (6th)|
Rangers Trade Deadline watch
The Rangers will play 9 more games before the NHL Trade Deadline with an expectation that they will bolster their lineup further. One player that we believe has become their next target is center Nick Bjugstad of the Arizona Coyotes.
Bjugstad, 30, is a huge center at 6-6′ and 210 pounds that can bolster the team’s fourth line. He has 13 goals and 23 points in 53 games this season with an affordable cap hit of just $900,000.
The Rangers have also made Vitali Kravtsov available for a trade. Elliotte Friedman basically confirmed it on Saturday night.
“Kravtsov scratched tonight,” Friedman noted. “I think he’s been made available.”
It’s unlikely the Rangers would move him for a fourth line rental, unless the Coyotes sweetened the pot by adding a decent draft pick.
Kravtsov, 23, has six points in 28 games this season for the Rangers. The former 9th overall pick in the 2018 draft played in 20 games during the 2020-21 season and picked up four points.
Stats via NHL and Hockey-Reference
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