Rangers must avoid letdown against Coyotes

NHL: New York Rangers at Arizona Coyotes
Allan Henry-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, the New York Rangers visit the Arizona Coyotes in a contest with all the dressings of a trap game.

After defeating Stanley Cup contenders Boston, Florida, and Colorado in their recent four-game winning streak, the Rangers could overlook the 28th ranked Coyotes. But that would be a big mistake, especially in the intimate settings of Mullett Arena, which seats only 5,000 fans.

This season, the Coyotes have a home record of 20-17-0 and are 3-1-0 on their current seven-game homestand. That includes an 8-4 win over the red-hot Nashville Predators on Thursday, handing them their first regulation loss since February 15.

One person that can help the Rangers avoid the proverbial trap game is captain Jacob Trouba, who is close to returning from a lower-body injury. He’s missed the past 11 games, but the Rangers are 9-2-0 in his absence. That’s thanks to other blue-liners thriving with more responsibility. In particular, Braden Schneider and Zac Jones have both been thrust into bigger roles with the club and succeeded.

“A lot of sitting and waiting,” Trouba told the NY Post. “A lot of those guys have taken a lot and it’s been fun for me to watch and see them kind of grow — especially ‘Schneids’. He’s really stepped up and taken advantage of the ice time and the minutes.”

Defenseman Erik Gustafsson (upper body) remains day to day and is not on the road trip.

Here’s today’s game and broadcast info:

New York Rangers (49-20-4) vs Arizona Coyotes (31-37-5)
Date/Time: March 30, 2024 @ 6:00 PM ET
Arena: Mullett Arena
TV: MSG
Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM

Note: Subject to change, updated for each game

Related: Artemi Panarin hits 100 points

New York Rangers projected lineup

NHL: New York Rangers at Arizona Coyotes
Allan Henry-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the expected lineup:

Kreider – Zibanejad – Roslovic
Panarin – Trocheck – Lafreniere
Brodzinski – Wennberg – Kakko
Cuylle – Goodrow – Vesey

Lindgren – Fox
Miller – Schneider
Jones – Ruhwedel

Quick
Shesterkin

Update: Head Coach Peter Laviolette notes Jonathan Quick will start and Jacob Trouba will return to the lineup.

New York Rangers vs Arizona Coyotes

The Rangers (102 points) currently lead the Presidents’ Trophy race, up one point over the Dallas Stars (101 points) who visit the Seattle Kraken on Saturday. A look at the Metropolitan Division standings has the second-place Carolina Hurricanes (99 points) visiting the Montreal Canadiens. Although the Habs will be missing the playoffs, they’ve won three straight, including a 2-1 regulation victory against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.

The Coyotes are solid at home, but the Blueshirts road record is excellent at 23-11-4. New York has also won four of their past five away from the Garden. Overall, the Rangers are a stunning 20-4-1 since January 27.

New York leads the regular season-series (1-0-0) defeating Arizona 2-1 in their home opener all the way back on October 16. This is not only the final meeting of the year against the Coyotes, but their last against a Western Conference opponent, where the Rangers hold a record of 20-9-2 heading into the game Saturday.

Upcoming Rangers Milestones

  • Chris Kreider is 1 goal away from 300 in his career
  • Vincent Trocheck is 3 goals away from 200 in his career
  • Adam Fox is 2 points away from 300 in his career
  • Braden Schneider is 3 games away from 200 in his career
  • Jonathan Quick is 1 win away from passing Ryan Miller (391) for most wins by an American-born goalie and sole possession of 15th all-time

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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