Rangers look to close out preseason with much needed win versus Bruins
Although the Bruins aren’t division rivals of the New York Rangers, they handed the Blueshirts their first defeat of the preseason this year at TD Garden — and with the team having lost all their other preseason games but one; the Rangers are now looking to even the score on their home ice at Madison Square Garden.
Wednesday night’s game against the Devils at the Prudential Center was played rather fast and furious, with a lot of physical play and several penalties the Blueshirts shouldn’t have taken. Goaltender Jonathan Quick gave up two in the first period as his streak of early goals against continued this preseason.
The Rangers would have quite a few chances later in the game, but in the end could only slip two past Vitek Vanacek — while Quick relented on a final total of four, three of which were scored the Devils on the power play. New Jersey clinched the game with a fifth goal scored on a Blueshirts’ empty net, dashing any remaining hopes for a comeback.
The Rangers will aim to be more prepared for the game versus the Bruins, with Igor Shesterkin planned to be in net at MSG.
In this final exhibition game at home, the Rangers will probably feature a lineup that will probably be very close to the opening night roster.
Update: Tyler Pitlick injury
Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:
New York Rangers vs. Boston Bruins
Date/Time: October 5, 2023 at 7:30 PM ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden
Note: Subject to change. Updated for each game.
Reactions to game against the Devils
The Rangers will be looking to salvage a bit of what has been a relatively unimpressive showing in the preseason this year. Looking uninspired at times, but more often confused and insufficiently aggressive in both the neutral zone and their own zone, the Blueshirts hope to show more finesse and intentionality moving forward than they have as yet under head coach Peter Laviolette.
“You almost wish you could take back four or five moments in time inside the game and do something a little bit different,” remarked Laviolette after Wednesday’s game. “But their competitiveness was better. I would have liked to have generated more. I thought defensively, minus those four or five instances, it was pretty tight but we have to work to generate a little more.”
New York went with a top heavy first line centered by Mika Zibanejad with Artemi Panarin and Kaapo Kakko on his flanks. While they did not score at even strength, they were able to shut down the speedy Devils from generating any chances.
“I thought it got better as the game went on,” Zibanejad said. “The more you play with each other, the more you can go back after games to see what we can do better.”
Laviolette said afterwards that the lines could change again for the preseason finale tomorrow, but that’s yet to be determined.
Filip Chytil and Tyler Pitlick’s status for final exhibition game
One concern arising from Wednesday night’s game is the status of Tyler Pitlick, who left the game with an upper body injury, according to the Rangers.
After the game, Laviolette said the forward is day to day, and he will be re-evaluated today.
Pitlick joins Filip Chytil, whose status is already questionable for tonight’s game against the Bruins — although Chytil has been skating on his own after suffering from an unspecified upper body injury since September 24th.
When questioned about Chytil Wednesday morning, the head coach had some positive news to share. “The reports this morning were really good,” Laviolette revealed to reporters. “He had a really good skate and workout with the coaches this morning. We’re just progressing in the right direction.”
When pressed whether or not Chytil would be ready to start the season, Laviolette was hesitant to provide a definitive answer.
“The way that the training staff works, they’ll hand him back at some point and he’ll enter into practice,” he stated. “When he does do that, we’ll look for good reps. I’m hoping that’s soon, and he makes it out of it well.”
Areas for improvement
Although the Blueshirts haven’t looked particularly good in any facet of the game this preseason, one area they need to be actively working on is special teams — as they haven’t been regularly scoring on the power play and they haven’t been sufficiently keeping the puck out of their own net on the penalty kill.
Look for attempts at improvement tonight in these two areas, as well as at puck management in the neutral zone, an integral part of the new system Laviolette brings to this team.
Two-way play for most of the forwards is area the team is working on improving as well, even as indicated by Zibanejad in his remarks post-game Wednesday night.