New York Rangers Pregame: Igor Shesterkin in net; Kravtsov back at practice will not play; and more

rangers devils pregame
Mar 10, 2020; Dallas, Texas, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) in action during the game between the Rangers and the Stars at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are ready to get back into game action tonight against the NJ Devils. Head coach Gerard Gallant spoke on several topics after the morning skate and provided the following key updates:

  • Igor Shesterkin will play the full game tonight
  • Alexandar Georgiev will start Saturday vs. the Islanders
  • Vitali Kravtsov returned to practice
  • Julien Gauthier will play on the third line with Chytil and Goodrow

Pre-Game Rangers vs Devils

Shesterkin gets the nod tonight as the Rangers ramp up to opening night next week. The 25 year-old goalie made 35 appearances last season, winning 16 of those games. He was tied for 7th in the NHL in SV% (.916), and 11th in GAA (2.62) for all goalies having played at least 25 games. When you use that same minimum games played among rookies, Shesterkin was the top backstop in SV% and ranked second in GAA to only Dallas Stars netminder Jake Oettinger (2.36).

Tonight’s lineup looks as follows:

  • L1: Lafrenière- Zibanejad – Kreider
  • L2: Panarin – Strome – Kakko
  • L3: Goodrow – Chytil – Gauthier
  • L4: Blais – Rooney – Reaves
  • D1: Lindgren – Fox
  • D2: Miller – Trouba
  • D3: Tinordi – Lundkvist

Vitali Kravtsov back at practice

vitali kravtsov
Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov and other Rangers prospects practice at the Rangers training facility in Greenburgh Sept. 5, 2019. Rangers Prospects Practice

The 9th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft returned to practice today and looked fine. He will not be playing tonight but should get a chance on Saturday. When Gallant was asked if Kravtsov would have enough time to make the team, he provided the following insights.

“It’s not just from training camp,” Gallant said about the decision if he’ll make the lineup. “He’s been here for awhile and the organization knows him real well.”

Kravtsov had a rocky start in 2019 and didn’t make the team out of camp. He decided to use his European out clause to go back to the KHL where he was eventually brought back. In 2020, he started with Traktor due to the pandemic and recorded 16 goals, 24 points in 49 games. He had a +8 rating to go along with 12 penalty minutes. However, what really stood out was his defensive play and his play without the puck.

In limited action on Broadway, he showed that same ability at the NHL level. At the time, one Rangers executive told me that Kravtsov’s “hockey sense is elite” and it’s obvious his stock grew since his name was brought up in trade talks.

The 21 year-old winger scored two goals and four points in the 20 games he played for the Rangers, mostly on the third and fourth lines.

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