Rangers Roundup: Kravtsov injury presents opportunity for Hunt and Gauthier; Zibanejad not pleased with team’s effort; and more

julien gauthier
Oct 1, 2021; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New Jersey Devils goaltender Jonathan Bernier (45) makes a save on New York Rangers forward Julien Gauthier (15) during the first period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Vitali Kravtsov only played 5:44 before leaving with a lower body injury after one period of play. “It bothered him enough that he couldn’t play,” Gerard Gallant said after the game. “I don’t think it’s anything long term. We were hoping [Kravtsov] would be ok and play the whole game, but you’re being safe and with it being an exhibition game you’re not going to put him back out there.”

The Rangers will be evaluating the injury today, so expect to learn more on how long he may be out.

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Kravtsov injury presents opportunity

Two forwards that are battling it out for the a roster spot are Julien Gauthier and Dryden Hunt. Last night, Gauthier was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise forgettable night in NJ.

“For a bad game that a team played, I though he was pretty good,” Gallant said of Gauthier. “I thought the kid was probably one of our better players tonight.”

In 17:39 of ice time, Gauthier posted one shot on goal, was credited with one hit, and finished with a -1 rating. Hunt, who was a lot more impressive in his first game (against the Islanders) played 17:41 with an even rating. He added a shot and two hits to his stat line as well.

Both of these players are candidates for the 13th forward. If Kravtsov is going to miss the start of the regular season, it wouldn’t surprise me if they each make it out of the gate.

Zibanejad not pleased with the team effort

Zibanejad not pleased
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Mika Zibanejad scored the lone goal in a 7-1 embarrassing effort in New Jersey, and he was not pleased with the effort of his team. “I don’t care what game you play,” he said afterwards. “You play in your backyard and lose 7-1, you’re pissed.”

For the Rangers top center, he’s played in two exhibition games and experienced two losses. The combined score of each being 11-1. Zibanejad acknowledges that this is just preseason, but he wanted to make it known that the effort needs to be better.

“We are not helping each other enough,” he noted. “We’re kind of hoping that the guy with the puck finds a solution. I think the times we do support each other, we’re playing fast like we want to. We don’t do that consistently and that’s something we have to work on.”

The team is back at it tonight against Bruins. Although the lineup is not set, I wouldn’t expect to see Mika and Chris Kreider playing back-to-back. Gallant said he’s experimenting with lines this weekend, but that the final two preseason games next week would be played by most of the regulars.

I’m sure that organization is hoping to see a much better effort before the regular season begins.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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