New York Rangers take on Panthers seeking to extend winning streak

NHL: New York Rangers at Florida Panthers
Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, the New York Rangers will aim for their third win in a row when they visit the Sunshine State to take on the Florida Panthers. New York is coming off of a great win against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday in which they scored five unanswered goals on their way to a 5-1 win over their Metropolitan division rival.

This is the start of yet another back-to-back for the Blueshirts. It is their sixth of the season already. In the first half of back-to-backs, the Rangers are 3-2-0. They are a perfect 5-0-0 in the second half. It will be the first of three meetings between these two teams. The Rangers went a perfect 3-0-0 against the Panthers last season. In their last five meetings, they are 4-1-0.

The Florida Panthers are on a two-game win streak of their own and will look to make it three against the Rangers. They currently sit second in the Atlantic division and are only four points back of the Boston Bruins, making this game an important one for the club.

A great sign for the Rangers was seeing Jacob Trouba on the ice for practice on Thursday. Trouba left Wednesday night’s game with an upper body injury and did not return.

“He feels good. He had a good practice, no restrictions for him,” Peter Laviolette revealed. “That’s a heavy piece of our lineup, a big piece of our lineup. To have him back participating in full today was good.”

Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:

New York Rangers (24-8-1) @ Florida Panthers (20-12-2)
Date/Time: December 29, 2023 @ 7:00 PM ET
Arena: Amerant Bank Arena
TV: MSG2
Radio: ESPN 1050 AM

Note: Subject to change, updated for each game

New York Rangers projected lineup

new york rangers adam fox
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, the Rangers recalled Adam Edstrom from the Hartford Wolf Pack, likely a precautionary measure with two games in Florida on the slate. Igor Shesterkin and Jonathan Quick will also likely split the back-to-back. Assuming Trouba will play, here are the projected line combinations and pairings:

Kreider- Zibanejad – Wheeler
Panarin – Trocheck – Lafreniere
Cuylle – Bonino – Brodzinski
Vesey – Goodrow – Pitlick

Lindgren – Fox
Miller – Trouba
Gustafsson – Schneider

Shesterkin
Quick

Note: The Rangers will hold a morning skate at 11:30 AM ET at Amerant Bank Arena. Check back in for updates.

New York Rangers vs Florida Panthers

In their second to last game of 2023, New York will continue to rely on their top line of Kreider-Zibanejad-Wheeler, who are all riding point streaks. Mika Zibanejad has been one of the best players in the NHL in his recent stretch. He is currently on an eight-game point streak (7G-8A). Chris Kreider finds himself on a four-game point streak (1G-6A), while Blake Wheeler also has points in four straight (1G-4A).

Getting this consistent scoring from the Rangers top line has turned them into an offensive power house. Their second line of Panarin-Trocheck-Lafreniere has remained solid as well. Alexis Lafreniere seems to be over his scoring slump as he now has two goals in his last four games. His goal on Wednesday night was his 10th of the season as his impressive campaign rolls on.

The Rangers will hit the road once again, where they have been very successful. In away games this season, the Rangers are 12-4-1, giving them 25 points, while ranking second in wins, points, power play percentage (30.2%), and ranking first in penalty kill percentage (90.9%).

The Rangers will also look for their powerplay to remain red-hot against the Panthers. The Blueshirts have now scored power play goals in eight straight games. This is the longest such streak since October 5-22, 2009. Should they tally a power play goal against the Panthers, it will be their longest streak since March 12-29, 2006. The Rangers power play is first in the league with a percentage of 31.1%.

Florida will not be a pushover. They are a top-10 team in the NHL and have won three of their last five match ups. Sam Reinhard leads the way offensively with 42 points, while Aleksander Barkov is close behind with 35. On defense, Oliver Ekman-Larsson is having a resurgence with 16 points. In goal, expect Sergei Bobrovsky to get the start. He has gotten the majority of the starts for Florida, earning a record of 16-9-1 with a save percentage of .911% and a GAA of 2.48.

“I think it’s a good challenge for our group to get out and play teams that I feel are still really strong in the Eastern Conference, strong in the league,” Laviolette explained.

As 2023 begins to wind down, the Rangers will look to start this Florida back-to-back with a win, extending their streak to three games. Florida will be looking to earn a three-game win streak as well. It is set up to be a great contest when the puck drops at Amerant Bank Arena.

Dane Walsh is a life-long fan of the New York Rangers. Growing up in the tri-state area, Dane has... More about Dane Walsh