Rangers lineup in state of flux as they take on Blues

NHL: New York Rangers at St. Louis Blues
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are back on the road to take on the St. Louis Blues, but their lineup is in a state of flux.

Although Kaapo Kakko was a full participant at practice on Wednesday, he’s still not ready to be thrusted into action. The Rangers called up Jake Leschyshyn, and it was confirmed that he would play on Thursday. However, captain Jacob Trouba has been day-to-day due to personal reasons, and may not be available. So the Blueshirts have opted to bring an insurance policy in the form of defenseman Matthew Robertson along.

Dealing with injuries and uncertainties, there will also be some new look lines. The biggest change in youngster Will Cuylle being given a huge chance to showcase his ability playing with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad.

No matter who plays for the Rangers tonight, they need to start managing the puck better, and playing tight defense to avoid losing three straight for the first time this season.

“If there’s several of those things in a game, it can hurt you coming back the other way,” Laviolette noted. “You look to get back, defend, and have your goalie make a save on a tough chance. I just feel like these are things we can review, go over, practice, and get better at.”

Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:

New York Rangers (26-11-2) vs St. Louis Blues (20-18-1)
Date/Time: January 11, 2024 @ 8:00 PM ET
Arena: Enterprise Center
TV: MSG2
Radio: ESPN 1050 AM

Note: Subject to change, updated for each game

Related: Rangers call up Matthew Robertson

New York Rangers projected lineup

Niko Mikkola Rangers
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Blueshirts lineup should remain the same with Igor Shesterkin projected to start. Forward Tyler Pitlick is week-to-week with a lower-body issue, but has begun skating on his own. If Jacob Trouba does not play, Zac Jones will likely suit up.

Kreider- Zibanejad – Cuylle
Panarin – Trocheck – Lafreniere
Vesey – Goodrow – Wheeler
Bonino – Leschyshyn – Brodzinski

Lindgren – Fox
Miller – Trouba
Gustafsson – Schneider

Shesterkin
Quick

Note: New York will hold a morning skate at 12:30 p.m. ET. Head coach Peter Laviolette will address the media soon after. Check back here for any updates.

UPDATE: Jacob Trouba will play.

New York Rangers vs St. Louis Blues

The Rangers have certainly hit a rough patch going 8-7-1 in the last 16 games. In their last two games, both losses, they simply turned the puck over too much leading to goals against. This season, when the Rangers give up 3 goals or less they are a perfect 24-0-0.

“We weren’t happy with our last performance,” defenseman Braden Schneider said Wednesday. “It’s just getting back to the small details. We made some big ouchies and they cost us. It’s limiting those big mistakes and playing that detailed game we’re capable of playing.”

While the Blues are a solid hockey team, New York has faired well against the Western Conference. Thus far, they are 12-3-1 overall, with a 5-2-1 record versus the Central Division. This is the first meeting of the season between these two clubs, in 2022-23, the Rangers went 1-0-1 versus the Blues.

The Blueshirts are 10-2-0 this year after a loss, and will look to improve that mark in St. Louis.

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