Rangers Roundup: Georgiev to face Canes, Knoblauch on Jones – Lundkvist, and more

The New York Rangers held a well attended optional morning skate as they get set to face the Carolina Hurricanes. This will be a battle between not only the top two teams in the Metro Division but in the NHL’s overall standings as well.

The Blueshirts are constantly reminded about being the new kids on the contenders block. However, whenever asked the response to a man is basically the same.

“There’s some real good teams (at the top of the Metro Division,” Gallant said. “It’s about the two points at the end of the night. I don’t care who we are playing. [The Hurricanes] are trying to catch us. We’re fortunate where we are at, and they’re the team looking up. If you can beat them it’s a four point game. But I still want to the two points against Arizona on Saturday.”

Rangers will start Georgiev versus the Canes

Head coach Gerard Gallant announced Alexandar Georgiev will get the nod in goal tonight.

“Georgie is playing tonight — and don’t ask why,” he said with a laugh.

Georgiev is 1-1-0, in his career against the Hurricanes with an .880 SV%, and a 5.07 GAA. It certainly would be justified to question the choice. Although, Georgiev could be chomping at the bit to get a little bit of revenge against a former teammate.

Early last season, in a 5-4 OT loss to the Penguins the threesome of Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and DeAngelo were pinned in the zone during a a long shift. All three could barely skate by the time Sidney Crosby scored.

However, prior to the goal, Georgiev and DeAngelo had a miscommunication behind the net leading to a failed clearing of the puck. It was later learned that DeAngelo made a remark to Georgiev in the locker room which caused a scuffle between the players that needed to be broken up.

DeAngelo was then waived and exiled. New York eventually bought out his contract and the Hurricanes signed him to a one-year show me deal this summer.

While Georgiev may have some extra motivation, one thing is for certain, he and the Rangers need to be ready for the Canes speed.

“I think they play the fastest game in the league,” Gallant said. “They roll out four lines and they all play the same. Like I said the other day, if they’re not the best team in the league, they’re right there.”

Knoblauch on Jones and Lundkvist

Nils Lundkvist (Photo: John Mrakovcich / Wolf Pack)

Prior to Zac Jones being recalled to the taxi squad yesterday, he and Nils Lundkvist were being used as a pair down in Hartford.

“They are very smart hockey players. They provide both offensively and defensively,” Kris Knoblauch said of the pairing. “They make good reads. I think they really separate themselves from other players with how well they move the puck.”

The Wolf Pack head coach then expanded on the strengths of each player.

“Jones can create offensive with his passing and his mobility on the blue-line beating a guy one on one,” he said.

“We’re starting to get to know Nils. He does possess those traits Jones has, perhaps not as dynamic,” Knoblauch said of the rookie. “Nils is a threat because his shot is dangerous and we saw that on the power play when he ripped a one-timer off the crossbar.”

Lundkvist, 21, had four points (1G, 3A) in 25 games with a +4 rating prior to being sent down. He was in and out of the lineup sporadically despite having played in two of the Rangers best defensive performances. A 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at MSG on 1/2 and a 4-1 lights out clinic against the Ducks on 1/8 in Anaheim.

His time in Hartford should prove fruitful as he adjusts to the North American style of play and smaller rinks.

Note: Special thanks to the Wolf Pack’s Alex Thomas who conducted the interview and made it available.

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