Rangers vs Devils rematch on tap with Igor Shesterkin back in goal; Artemi Panarin misses practice but expected to play
The New York Rangers will continue to ride their number goaltender tonight in the rematch at the Garden. Igor Shesterkin is coming off a 3-0 shutout of the Devils as the Blueshirts look to narrow the gap for fourth place with the Boston Bruins. Currently the team is 4 points out of a playoff spot with the Bruins facing the Islanders in Boston.
Rangers: 20-16-6 (46 pts)
Devils: 14-21-6 (34 pts)
Rangers vs Devils: Practice news and notes
Artemi Panarin who was seen nursing his back on the bench with a heating pad in the last game did not practice today. The team called it a maintenance day with David Quinn saying he should be “good to go tonight.”
A pleasant surprise occurred when Zac Jones took his first full practice with the team today. He will officially wear the #6, a number he wore with Team USA. It’s been quite a journey for the Rangers 3rd round draft choice in 2019. “Being drafted was a great experience. I spoke to the Rangers once and didn’t think they were going to pick me,” Jones told us an interview back in October. “I was at the draft with my parents, my advisor and my high school coach. It was awesome. I initially didn’t want to go but I am happy I changed my mind.”
Now he’s won a National Championship with UMASS, was named to the All-Tournament team, and signed his ELC with the Blueshirts. All that remains is playing his first NHL game which should be on tap before this season concludes.
Tonight’s Key Rangers Players
- Igor Shesterkin has been hot. In earning his first NHL shutout last game he stopped 27 shots, some of which were high danger. In his last 11 appearances he has a 7-2-2 record to go with a sizzling .930 SV% and 2.27 GAA.
- Artemi Panarin even with a sore back is the most dangerous player in the game. He’s coming off his 100th game as a NYR where he recoded a goal and passed Mark Messier’s record point total for any Blueshirt in their first 100 games. Per NYR Stats & Info, Panarin averaged 1.38 points per game last season and is on pace to become the second player in franchise history to average at least 1.30 points per game in two different seasons (Messier – 1991-92 and 1995-96) and the first to do so in back-to-back seasons.
- Adam Fox now leads the NHL in scoring for defensemen (39 points). I could probably stop there but he continues to shine and must be a top candidate to win the Norris Trophy.
Rangers Pre Game Notes
- All-Time vs Devils*: 123-96-27-10 (67-35-20-4 at home; 56-61-7-6 on the road) *Note: All-time record includes games against the Kansas City Scouts from 1974-75 – 1975-76 and the Colorado Rockies from 1976-77 – 1981-82
- The Rangers have tallied three or more goals in nine of the last 13 games and in 12 of the last 17 games. The Blueshirts rank eighth in the NHL in goals per game this season (3.21).
- The Blueshirts are the only NHL team that has five players who have tallied 33 or more points this season (Panarin, Fox, Strome, Buchnevich, Zibanejad). The Rangers are one of two NHL teams that have six players who have recorded 12 or more goals this season (Colorado).
- The Rangers were 2-for-2 (3:19) and recorded a shorthanded goal on Apr. 13 at New Jersey.
- The Blueshirts have not allowed a power play goal in 25 of their last 35 games (90-for-103; 87.4%), including 19 of the last 28 games (68-for-80; 85.0%).
Notes courtesy NYR
The NHL Trade Deadline’s What If trades are coming in. Read more here.