Rangers facing Islanders in must win with Shesterkin in net, no Trouba, and possibly without Kreider

By Anthony Scultore
Mar 22, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) and left wing Chris Kreider (20) celebrate after a 5-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers vs Islanders: The Blueshirts MUST WIN tonight. They can’t rely on hoping the Bruins miraculously fall to the Sabres to stay in it. A loss tonight would realistically eliminate the Rangers from the playoffs, just not mathematically. A win tonight would certainly cut the Islanders lead to three points and that’s where they need to be.

Rangers: 26-18-6 (58 pts)
Islanders: 29-15-5 (63 pts)

(7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG Network, Radio: ESPN 1050 AM)

Rangers vs Islanders key practice notes

The Rangers could be without the services of Chris Kreider who took a hard spill at the end of the 3-1 win against the Sabres. He was held out of practice today with the team calling it a maintenance day. Meanwhile, Jacob Trouba practiced with the team in full but has been ruled out of tonight’s contest with a good chance to go in the next game.

new york rangers captain
Trouba (Getty Images)

When it comes to who will start in net, despite all the consternation by the media and fans it will be Igor Shesterkin. His record now stands at 15-11-3 with a 2.42 GAA, and a .922 SV%. Since he returned from his groin injury on March 25th he’s gone 10-2-2.

Rangers Pregame Notes

  • All-Time vs Islanders: 132-119-19-10 (74-49-11-6 at home; 58-70-8-4 on the road)
  • The Rangers have won nine of their last 11 home games (9-2-0 record), and have outscored opponents, 54-25, over the span. New York has also earned at least one point in 11 of its last 13 home games (10-2-1 record).
  • The Rangers have earned 23 regulation wins this season, which is the third-most among teams in the MassMutual NHL East Division and is tied for the 10th-most in the NHL.
  • Since Mar. 13, the Rangers are tied for second in the NHL in wins (16; 16-6-3 record), are tied for first in points (35), rank first in goal differential (plus-39; doesn’t include team goals awarded for a shootout win), rank second in goals per game (3.96) and power play efficiency (29.0%), and rank fourth in goals against per game (2.40).

Notes courtesy NYR

NHL Teams wisely using Free Agency to protect more players from Seattle Kraken

This summer there are a number of key players hitting unrestricted free agency. Usually, teams will sign said players prior to the trade deadline to not risk losing them or getting into a bidding war on the open market. That was the case with Chris Kreider and the New York Rangers last season.

Yet here we are with players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog, and Dougie Hamilton all heading towards Free Agent Frenzy. But are they really going to get there? The answer is likely no.