March 25, 2021

Rangers need to stand up and stand out in crucial game against Flyers

Feb 14, 2020; Columbus, Ohio, USA; New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) takes a shot on goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The 9-0 dismantling of the Flyers is a distant memory as far as tonight’s game is concerned. If anything it poses more fuel to Philadelphia’s fire or worse, give the Rangers a false sense of confidence. For this group to even say they are a playoff contender this is a must win.

Rangers: 14-13-4 (32 pts)
Flyers: 15-12-4 (34 pts)

(7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG 2)

Rangers vs Flyers: Time to show the East they are really in it

These next two games against Philadelphia presents an opportunity for the Blueshirts to leapfrog into sole possession of 5th place in the standings. If the Rangers can win these games, there’s a chance they could even work themselves into tie with the Bruins for the last playoff spot.

Boston is scheduled to return from a COVID hiatus against the Islanders tonight, followed by a game against the Sabres on Saturday. It’s unlikely Boston would lose to Buffalo, but eventually the Sabres have to win a game. New York is four points away from the B’s and the only way to have a chance to tie is by sweeping the Flyers.

Igor Shesterkin is back; other player notes

The Rangers will have their #1 goalie back for tonight’s pivotal matchup against the Flyers. It will be his first game since he went down with a groin strain on March 5th. This season, Shesterkin is tied for 9th in the league with a .921 SV%. His GAA of 2.31 is good for 12th and among rookies goalies his SV% is tied for second. His record is 6-7-1.

igor shesterkin
Mar 10, 2020; Dallas, Texas, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) in action during the game between the Rangers and the Stars at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Alexandar Georgiev will be the backup as Keith Kinkaid is on the taxi squad. If Kinkaid is indeed brought back into action he will need to clear waivers. His strong play may be just enough incentive for someone to put in a claim.

On offense, Artemi Panarin is close to reclaiming his spot as the team’s point leader with 28 points in 20 games, just one point behind Pavel Buchnevich. The Breadman has been on fire since returning from a leave of absence. In six games after rejoining the club he has 3 goals and 10 points.

Vitali Kravtsov will not play tonight. No word on when he will debut yet.

Pre-Game Notes:

  • All-Time vs Flyers: 134-123-37-10 (70-52-23-6 at home; 64-71-14-4 on the road)
  • Mika Zibanejad was selected as the NHL’s Third Star of the Week for the week ending on Mar. 21. He has recorded nine points (four goals, five assists) and a plus-seven rating over the last four games, as well as 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in the last six games.
  • The Rangers have won each of the last two games and three of the last four games (3-1-0 record). The Blueshirts have earned a point in five of the last six games (4-1-1 record) and have outscored their opponents, 26-11, in the six contests. 
  • The Rangers have outscored their opponent on special teams in 12 games in 2020-21 and have posted a 9-2-1 record in those 12 contests.

UPCOMING MILESTONES

  • Mika Zibanejad – 2 games away from 300 with the Rangers
  • Ryan Lindgren – 4 games away from 100 in his NHL career/with the Rangers
  • Phillip Di Giuseppe – 7 games away from 200 in his NHL career
  • Alexandar Georgiev – 9 appearances away from 100 in his NHL career/with the Rangers; 10 wins away from 50 in his NHL career/with the Rangers
  • Kaapo Kakko – 10 games away from 100 in his NHL career/with the Rangers

Notes courtesy of the NYR

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