Rangers Practice Buzz: Kaapo Kakko; Ryan Strome update; keeping Panarin with Zibanejad and Kreider

Rangers practice news and notes.

By Forever Blueshirts
panarin zibanejad
Apr 6, 2021; New York, New York, USA; (L-R) Artemi Panarin #10 and Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers celebrate their 8-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden on April 06, 2021 in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers held practice today in Nashville as they prepare to take on the Predators. Prior to the team taking the ice, they announced that Ryan Strome and Kaapo Kakko would not be taking part in the session.

Practice lines indicated that the defense would remain the same but with some tweaks to the forwards. Artemi Panarin will stay with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. Filip Chytil will get Alexis Lafrenière on his left and Sammy Blais to his right.

Meanwhile, Kevin Rooney centers Dryden Hunt and Barclay Goodrow. The 4th line may remain the same with Julien Gauthier and Ryan Reaves on the wings. It’s possible, Morgan Barron could replace Greg McKegg.

New York Rangers Injury News

Head coach Gerard Gallant was asked about Ryan Strome’s availability, to which there was no real update.

“It’s still the same,” he said. “COVID protocols, that’s all we can say.”

kaapo kakko
May 3, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Kaapo Kakko #24 of the New York Rangers celebrates his goal at 4:35 of the second period against the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

On Kaapo Kakko, who was injured late in the first period at Montreal, the news was more promising.

“When he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go.” he said. “I think it’s going to be close. I think it’s day-to-day and I think it’s really close. Hopefully, early next week.”

Kakko, 20, is on IR which means he must be out 7 days. That has him on target for when the Blueshirts return home to face the Calgary Flames on Monday 10/25.

The big young forward has remained with the team on the road trip which is also a good sign.

Rangers likely to keep Panarin with Zibanejad

Gallant made a key move in the third period of their 2-1 OT win over the Toronto Maple Leafs by putting Panarin with Zibanejad. The duo would score the game-winner in the extra session with the Breadman converting on Mika’s face-off win.

“They played well the other night, so we will see about [Nashville] but it’s a possibility for sure,” the coach said. “They’re talented players, when we get a full lineup I like that lineup (on separate lines).”

The head coach obviously stressed that he made the move in Toronto because the team didn’t have much going on. Today’s practice lines indicate they will play together against the Preds, but don’ get used to it.

“Sometimes you’ll put them together, and sometimes when people come back you’ll mix your lines up again,” Gallant explained.

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