The New York Rangers (11-10-5) suffered an unexpected loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Dec. 3 and will play the St. Louis Blues (11-13-0) this evening. Both teams have each lost five of their last six games and are looking to return to winning consistently before they fall further back in their respective divisions.
The Rangers have struggled to hold onto leads during games, while the Blues have been hindered by their penalty-kill (PK). Here’s our gameday preview.
New York Rangers Projected Lines
Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Jimmy Vesey
Artemi Panarin – Vincent Trocheck – Vitali Kravtsov
Alexis Lafreniere – Barclay Goodrow – Kaapo Kakko
Sammy Blais – Jonny Brodzinski – Julien Gauthier
Ryan Lindgren – Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller – Braden Schneider
Libor Hajek – Jacob Trouba
Igor Shesterkin – Jaroslav Halak
Rangers Seeking Answers to Their Bad Play, Chytil Out With Lower-Body Injury
The Rangers found themselves in a 3-0 deficit against the Blackhawks before they tallied their first goal. However, head coach Gerard Gallant thought they had a better effort in their last game compared to the overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 2, “I thought we played faster and played harder, but same result. So we’ve got to make some adjustments, but we definitely played harder than we did the other night,” (from, ‘Rangers remain optimistic they can ‘flip the narrative’ as adversity mounts,’ New York Post, 12/5/22).
Their captain, Trouba, emphasized they need to play with more emotion and energy going forward, “It’s a results league. You need to win hockey games. It’s an emotional game. You’ve got to play with some emotion, some energy. It’s not just going to happen. You’ve got to go make it happen and will it to happen. I think we could use a little bit more of that.”
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Chytil suffered a lower-body injury during the loss to the Senators and missed the contest against the Blackhawks. He will remain out for tonight’s game against the Blues due to his ailment. Brodzinski, who was sent back down to the Hartford Wolf Pack on Dec. 4, has been recalled by the Rangers and centered the fourth line during today’s morning skate.
St. Louis Blues Projected Lines
Brayden Schenn – Ryan O’Reilly – Jordan Kyrou
Pavel Buchnevich – Robert Thomas – Vladimir Tarasenko
Brandon Saad – Ivan Barbashev – Josh Leivo
Nathan Walker – Noel Acciari – Tyler Pitlick
Nick Leddy – Colton Parayko
Torey Krug – Justin Faulk
Calle Rosen – Niko Mikkola
Jordan Binnington – Thomas Greiss
Parayko Encourages Blues to Play Simple Following Loss to Penguins
The Blues are coming off a 6-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 3, in which they found themselves trailing 4-1 after Jason Zucker’s goal early in the second period. Parayko mentioned the club needs to do the simple things better, “just puck play, getting pucks in deep, working hard. Just things like that. … Sometimes, the more you’re simple, the better things can be. And I think sometimes we just got to get back to simplicity and working hard, working for each other, and I think good things will happen. We know what it takes in here, which is the good thing. It’s definitely not too late. But at the same time, we’ve got to make sure we get on the right track sooner than later,” (from, ‘Blues notebook: Colton Parayko says team needs to keep it simple, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12/4/22).
Unlike last year, the Blues have not done well on the PK this season as they rank 31st in the NHL with a 66.7 PK%. Zibanejad and Panarin, whom each has 13 power-play points (PPP), have a good chance to capitalize tonight on the man advantage should the Rangers have plenty of opportunities tonight on the man advantage.
Players To Watch
New York Rangers – Adam Fox
Fox has the opportunity to generate plenty of chances, particularly on the PP, against the Blues. The former Norris Trophy-winning defenseman will aim to jumpstart an inconsistent Rangers team with his offensive skills and add to his 21 assists this evening.
St. Louis Blues – Pavel Buchnevich
The former Ranger excelled last year with the Blues with 30 goals and 46 assists last year and is doing well this season with eight goals and 11 assists in 19 games played. Buchnevich is a player the Rangers need to account for tonight, as he is capable of being a difference-maker for his current club.
Tonight’s game has a 7 PM ET start time and will be broadcast on the NHL Network.