Rangers new lines to be tested versus Maple Leafs
The New York Rangers will have a new face added to their lineup when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. Will Cuylle, a native of Toronto is set to make his NHL debut and give the Rangers another new line.
“It’s huge (to debut in Toronto),” Cuylle said. “All my family is there and if I could pick a spot other than MSG to make my NHL debut it would be there.”
The 20 year-old was selected by the Rangers in the second-round of the 2020 Draft and has registered 20 points in 39 games with the Wolf Pack this season. He was recently named to the AHL All Star Game.
Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:
New York Rangers (26-14-7) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (29-11-8)
Date/Time: January 25, 2023 at 7:00 PM ET
Arena: Scotiabank Arena
Radio: ESPN 98.7
New York Rangers lines to be tested
When Cuylle steps on the ice for the Rangers, he’ll be the 17th forward to do so for Gerard Gallant this season. He’ll take the place of Vitali Kravtsov on a revamped fourth line centered by Jake Leschyshyn and Julien Gauthier on the opposite wing.
“Solid kid, up and down,” Gerard Gallant explained. “Plays the game the right way. The coaches (in Hartford) said he’s done a real good job down there, so he’s earned a call. Give him an opportunity.”
The Rangers won their last game on Monday over the Florida Panthers by four goals, but afterwards Gallant wasn’t too pleased with his new line combinations.
“Honestly, I wasn’t overly happy most of the night,” Gallant said. “You win 6-2 and you’re questioning your lines again.”
Turnovers and some sloppy play in the second period in particular had him contemplating some changes, but after practice on Tuesday he opted to keep his top three lines the same.
It’s not like they didn’t perform. Here’s how they did against the Panthers at even strength:
- Panarin (2A) – Zibanejad (1G – 1A) – Kreider (0)
- Lafreniere (1G – 1A) – Chytil (1G – 1A) – Kakko (2A)
- Vesey (1G) – Trocheck (1A) – Goodrow (1A)
The new look lines seem to bring out the best offensively from the Rangers top stars as Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, and Adam Fox all registered three points. A Zibanejad goal on the power play was assisted by Panarin and Fox, who are both heading to the All-Star Game.
They’ll be joined by goalie Igor Shesterkin and he should be getting the start tonight.
The 27 year-old netminder has a career mark against the Leafs of 4-1-0, with a GAA of 1.99 and a .938 save percentage.
Maple Leafs tough at home
Toronto has been an inhospitable place for opponents this season as the Maple Leafs have mounted an 18-3-4 record at Scotiabank Arena.
The Leafs are hoping to add as many points as possible on this current five-game homestand which they opened with a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders on Monday.
William Nylander registered 4 points in that contest which only adds to how scary Toronto is offensively. On any given night, one of the Leafs superstars can beat you.
Atop their scoring charts this season, Nylander and Mitch Marner lead the way with 56 points. Auston Matthews is right behind them with 53, and captain John Tavares isn’t too far behind with 47.
In goal, Ilya Samsonov has been very solid, especially at home. He’s expected to start and is unbeaten in regulation at Scotiabank Arena (13-0-1). The 25 year-old is 15-4-2 on the year with a GAA of 2.21 and a .920 save percentage.
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