New York Rangers look to work out issues versus Canadiens

NHL: New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

A hectic few weeks highlighted by Patrick Kane being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks left few opportunities for the New York Rangers to get in some practice time.

When the Rangers reconvened after two days off for Kane’s first practices with his new team, they unveiled some adjustments to their power-play alignment.

“It’s definitely nice to get out there and practice. I haven’t even had a morning skate with the team yet,” Kane said. “My last practice in Chicago was two weeks ago. You need to get back into it… Happy to be here. Just trying to find my way to fit in.”

The Rangers get their first chance at seeing how the new configuration works Thursday night when they visit the Montreal Canadiens.

Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:

New York Rangers (35-19-9) vs. Montreal Canadiens (26-33-5)
Date/Time: March 9, 2023 at 7:00 PM ET
Arena: Bell Centre
Radio: ESPN 1050

New York Rangers back at it vs Montreal

Artturi Lehkonen Rangers
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

New York is 2-5-1 in its past eight games and dropped Kane’s first two contests after making several roster moves to create enough cap space for the 34-year-old. So far, Kane has taken six shots on goal in about 41 minutes through his first two games, a 5-3 home loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday and a 4-2 road loss to the league-leading Boston Bruins two days later.

In Kane’s debut the Rangers held a one-goal lead into the third period and Saturday they allowed two goals in a span of 3:44 late in the third. After falling at Boston, the Rangers took two days off before reconvening Tuesday and Wednesday for some much-needed practice time.

The Rangers practiced after playing their past three games with only five defensemen due to injury and salary cap reasons. New York also practiced with normal lines after playing the previous two games with 11 forwards.

New York was short-handed because K’Andre Miller finished his three-game suspension for spitting on Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty on Feb. 26. The Rangers may also get defenseman Ryan Lindgren back from missing four games with an upper-body injury sustained on a hit by Washington’s T.J. Oshie on Feb. 25.

Whoever is in the lineup, the Rangers will likely unveil some new power-play combinations. One unit will feature Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Vladimir Tarasenko, Flip Chytil and Jacob Trouba. Kane will join a unit with Artemi Panarin, Vincent Trocheck, Alexis Lafreniere and Adam Fox.

“We were hoping it was going to go real smooth the first two games,” New York coach Gerard Gallant told reporters at practice. “It didn’t, so we’ll try to adjust a little bit.”

During the past eight games, New York’s power play is 5-for-27 (18.5 percent). Before their slump, the Rangers were 8-0-1 and their man advantage was 7-for-20 (35 percent).

Montreal heads into Thursday on a four-game losing streak (0-3-1), with each loss being decided by one goal.

Rangers notes

Igor Shesterkin is expected to be in between the pipes for the Blueshirts. His career record against the Habs is 2-1-0, with a GAA of 1.69 and a .948 save percentage.

Injured forward Tyler Motte skated on Wednesday with the team but is still considered day-to-day. He has a chance to play tonight, but if he can’t go Jonny Brodzinski will be on the fourth line.

Ryan Lindgren also skated with the team yesterday, but was in a non-contact jersey. He’s less likely to play and remains day-to-day.

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–Field Level Media

–Forever Blueshirts contributed to this article

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