Rangers look to climb over .500 at The Rock in afternoon match against Devils

Rangers vs Devils: The Blueshirts had their usual troubles against the quick Hudson River Rivals in the first period last game. Then David Quinn shook the team by benching Mika Zibanejad and they responded with a thorough 6-1 win. A victory today would put the Rangers over .500 for the first time this season.

The elation felt in the game was tempered with the injury to Igor Shesterkin. However, late yesterday it was determined that he would be just day-to-day with a mild a groin strain.

Rangers: 9-9-3 (21 pts)
Devils: 7-10-2 (16 pts)

(1:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG Network)

Rangers vs Devils: Alexandar Georgiev starts, Kaapo Kakko back

With Igor Shesterkin out, Alexandar Georgiev will be the team’s unquestioned #1 goalie for the foreseeable future. His career numbers against the Devils are rock solid with a 2.69 GAA and a .912 SV%. Georgiev’s 2-2 record also comes with a shutout at The Rock on 11/30/19.

The Rangers offense will get a boost with Kaapo Kakko making his return after a bout with COVID-19. The 20 year-old Finn noted that he had symptoms but it wasn’t too bad. Kakko comes into the game with just two goals and three points in 14 games this season, but he was playing his best hockey before coming down with COVID.

INJURIES (53 Man-Games Lost to Injury)

  • Jacob Trouba (upper-body; 4-6 weeks from time of injury on Feb. 16) – has missed seven games
  • Igor Shesterkin (mild groin strain; day-to-day)

Alexis Lafrenière now living up to the billing

rangers vs devils
Mar 4, 2021; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) and left wing Alexis Lafreniere (13) celebrate the Rangers win over the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the bottom line for #1 overall pick, Alexis Lafrenière – he’s everything we thought he’d be. While only recording one goal in his firs 15 NHL games, the 19 year-old rookie now has six points in his last six games.

The reason? Lafrenière admitted he wasn’t in game shape after basically not playing a single hockey game in over 9 months due to the pandemic. Now he’s skating with confidence and it shows.

For David Quinn, when Artemi Panarin comes back he will have a tough decision on where to slot his young phenom in the lineup. Obviously moving Chris Kreider to the third line isn’t an option as he’s the hottest goal scorer in the NHL right now with nine goals in his last six games.

Pre Game Notes

  • All-Time vs Devils*: 121-96-27-10 (67-35-20-4 at home; 54-61-7-6 on the road) *Note: All-time record includes games against the Kansas City Scouts from 1974-75 – 1975-76 and the Colorado Rockies from 1976-77 – 1981-82
  • Chris Kreider vs NJ: 33 GP, 13-12-25 – Kreider has recorded a point in each of his last four games against New Jersey (five goals, two assists), and he registered a hat trick in his last game against the Devils on Mar. 4, 2021 at New Jersey.
  • Ryan Strome vs NJ: 27 GP, 9-9-18 – Strome has registered 10 points (four goals, six assists) in the last 10 games against New Jersey, as well as 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in his last 15 games against the Devils. He has tallied more goals against New Jersey than against any other opponent in his NHL career.
  • Pavel Buchnevich vs NJ: 15 GP, 2-11-13 – Buchnevich enters the contest with a five-game point streak against the Devils (two goals, five assists), and he has tallied a point in eight of his last 10 games against New Jersey (two goals, nine assists over the span).
  • The Rangers were 4-for-4 (8:00) on Mar. 4 at New Jersey.
  • The Blueshirts have not allowed a power play goal in 12 of their last 14 games (46-for-49; 93.9%), including six of the last seven games (24-for-26; 92.3%) and each of the last four games (9-for-9).

Notes courtesy of the NYR

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