Rangers Roundup: Shesterkin starts, lineup changes possible, Kreider talks trust, and more

ny rangers
Mar 10, 2020; Dallas, Texas, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) and defenseman Ryan Lindgren (55) and Dallas Stars left wing Roope Hintz (24) and defenseman Miro Heiskanen (4) and right wing Corey Perry (10) fight for the puck during the third period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Things started well on this four-game toad trip for the New York Rangers.

A 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets had them feeling pretty confident going into their next game against the Minnesota Wild. Sadly, it all went downhill from there.

A 5-2 loss in Minnesota was a mix of some poor goaltending by Alexandar Georgiev and not a single power play chance for. The Rangers tried to put that behind them, but what came next was an absolute stinker.

On Thursday, Igor Shesterkin was pulled for only the second time in his career during a 6-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues. Shesterkin allowed four goals on 13 shots but when Gerard Gallant saw how those goals were occurring, he lifted him.

“You get frustrated and you hope you wake your guys up,” Gallant said. “It didn’t really, but they should be embarrassed a little bit. The way this guy plays for them all year and then they come out tonight and play like that. … After a game in Minnesota that we weren’t too good in.”

Gerard Gallant taks lineup changes

Today at practice, Gallant started tinkering with his defense as Libor Hajek was skating with Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren appeared to be the odd man out.

“We might do something short term but we are far from changing up our d-pairs,” Gallant explained. “I don’t like the way we played lately but I still like our group.”

It’s possible Lindgren is still feeling the after effects from taking a slapshot to his knee in Winnipeg. If so, giving him a game off makes some sense. However, if he’s fully healthy it would be a bad move in my estimation to scratch him.

Of course, it won’t matter who plays if the Rangers don’t come to battle.

“We’ve got to play better and hard. We have to compete more for pucks and win more one-on-one battles,” Gallant stressed.

“We’ve given up too many chances and haven’t created enough,” he continued. “Dallas is a playoff bubble team and they’re playing desperate hockey and I would like to see that from my team.”

Greg McKegg also returned to practice and will likely return to the lineup.

Igor Shesterkin has been confirmed as the starter. He’s 1-0-1, with a .915 SV%, and a 2.47 GAA in two career games against the Stars.

Chris Kreider talks trust

new york rangers
Mar 5, 2019; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop (30) and defenseman Miro Heiskanen (4) defend against New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) during the first period at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Defense is not just played by the two guys called defensemen. No, it is a five-man game and everyone has a job to play in all three zones.

The Rangers best two-way forward, and a potential Selke Trophy candidate (best defensive forward) Mika Zibanejad said as much after practice.

“When something’s not going for you, I think we try to do a little bit too much,” Zibanejad said. “Guys were everywhere (defensively), myself included. You’re trying to do everyone else’s job and you can’t have that.”

Mika’s line-mate, friend, and fellow veteran leader Chris Kreider echoed those sentiments.

“I complete agree with what Mika said,” Kreider affirmed. “I got caught in the last couple of games trying to do more things than the one thing I need to do at the time and trust the guys behind me are going to make the right play.”

“That’s when we’re good,” Kreider continued. “We have to commit to the job in front of us and it starts with me. It starts with all our veteran guys.”

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