Preview – Rangers vs Maple Leafs 1/13/17
With the Rangers bye week finally over, the Blueshirts are back in action Friday night when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs at MSG. And while the bye week was definitely long, it was much needed for the players, both healthy and injured. The break has allowed the Rangers to get healthier, with Pavel Buchnevich, Mika Zibanejad and Rick Nash all appearing to be ready to go in this one. And with those three guys potentially back into the lineup, here are my predicted line combinations for this Eastern Conference match-up.
UPDATE: LINES AT PRACTICE TODAY
NYR lines 20-21-36: 40-13-10; 26-24-61, 89-73-19
— Steve Zipay (@stevezipay) January 13, 2017
The question with the forward group will be Jesper Fast, who was sick with the flu, and based on reports had lost some weight in the last few days. If he is unable to play, expect Marek Hrivik to stay in the lineup. In terms of the defense, with Staal still out going through concussion protocol, the defense will be what it is. We can only hope that the break got Kevin Klein some of his game back, and that the first half of the season was a four month long aberration. If he does not play well this weekend, then he should be the odd man out when Staal comes back. With the netminders, I think AV saves Henrik for the game in Montreal. Not based on anything, just a gut feeling. Either way he decides, I feel that whoever plays Friday will not play Saturday.
This is an important game for the Blueshirts. The Rangers will enter this game in the first wild card spot in the east, and will need to keep pace with the rest of the Metropolitan division. It will also be an important night for Nash and Buchnevich, who have both been out with injuries for the last little while. If those two guys can get their legs going early, and get involved in the forecheck, they should be able to get back to their expected levels in no time.
Puck drops at 7!
LETS GO RANGERS!!