Playoff bound Rangers host Blue Jackets
The New York Rangers are heading to playoffs after losses by the Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres on Monday.
Tonight, they host the Columbus Blue Jackets with an eye on moving up in the Metropolitan Division. After the New Jersey Devils lost to the New York Islanders yesterday, the Blueshirts remain four points behind them for second place.
If the Rangers can secure a win against the Jackets, the matchup versus the Devils on Thursday in Jersey will be a big one.
Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:
New York Rangers (43-20-10) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (23-42-7)
Date/Time: March 28, 2023 at 7:00 PM ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden
Radio: ESPN 98.7
Rangers clinch, host Jackets
The Rangers have 96 points on the season with 9 games remaining on the schedule. If the team wants to at least have home-ice in the first round, they’ll have to overcome the Devils.
New York is currently red-hot, going 8-1-1 in their last 10 games while averaging 3.7 goals per game.
The Rangers schedule is road heavy with only four games remaining at the Garden, including this matchup versus Columbus. They are 22-8-6 on the road this season, which is good for sixth best in the league.
On home-ice, the team has had less success going 21-12-4 but should be able to improve on those numbers against the lowly Jackets, who sit tied for dead last in the NHL.
“Go out and play hard,” Gerard Gallant said Monday. “You have to get mentally ready to play. We’re in third place right now with a couple of big games coming up.”
Igor Shesterkin should be back in net after Jaroslav Halak played the last game in Florida. The Rangers number one netminder is 2-1-0 lifetime versus Columbus with a GAA of 1.73, and a .948 save percentage.
One player who is unlikely to suit up is defenseman Ryan Lindgren. He missed 11 games with a shoulder injury and tweaked it last week in a game against the Hurricanes and has missed the last two.
The 25 year-old defender did practice yesterday, but will be cautious with his injury.
“It felt pretty good to be out there skating with the guys,” Lindgren explained. “We’ll talk to the medical staff and take it day by day. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. We’re pretty secure where we are at (in the standings) and you don’t want to deal with this in the playoffs.”