Time for David Quinn to move from observations to lineup decisions
The Rangers are winless in the preseason and have been giving up way too many goals early and often. This should not raise any alarm bells since the Blueshirts have been at it almost nonstop since they opened the preseason against NJ last Wednesday. The heavy dose of games and practices culminated in an awful loss in Philly on Saturday. The team just looked tired and Quinn confirmed it was likely more mental than physical in his post game presser.
3 Exhibition Games Left
Starting tomorrow night, the head coach and his charges have only 3 games left in the preseason. Quinn will likely dress his closest to opening night lineup possible against the Islanders on Tuesday and Flyers on Thursday. Both those games are at MSG and will be a better representation of what the Rangers will look and play like when they open at home against Winnipeg.
Artemiy Panarin should play at least one or both of those games this week. He was removed in the first game as a precaution when he felt a tweak in his groin. We should also expect to get a good look at Kaapo Kakko in both games since he only played one of the three preseason contests so far. Remember Kakko looked gassed and hurt at the end of that game. Our own Steven Voogel saw him afterwards and Kakko told him he was fine.
In goal, the decision on who is #1 was never in question so expect Lundqvist to get one full start. Considering there are 3 games remaining (Islanders in CT on Saturday), we should expect all three goalies get one full start each. At this time, it also makes sense to have Igor Shesterkin go to the AHL and get a ton of playing time to fully adjust to the game and rink sizes of North America.
Answering Some Outstanding Questions
These final three games should also answer some remaining questions about the lineup.
- Will Adam Fox pair with Marc Staal on the 2nd pair or Libor Hajek on the 3rd?
- Will Gregg McKegg force Kravtsov to start the season with the Wolf Pack?
- Who will earn the 7th spot on defense, Ryan Lindgren or Brendan Smith?
We intend on answering all these questions this week. The answers should also reveal themselves on the ice starting as soon as tomorrow.