Rangers Gameday Preview: Los Angeles Kings – 11/22/22

The New York Rangers (9-6-4) are coming off another close win as they defeated the San Jose Sharks, 2-1, on Nov. 19. Core players Igor Shesterkin and Adam Fox made the difference for them during their last game, and both will aim to have another good game during the contest versus the Los Angeles Kings (11-8-2).

Igor Shesterkin New York Rangers
Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

With back-to-back games on the horizon for the club, look for Shesterkin to receive the start in net this evening, with Jaroslav Halak starting the Nov. 23 game versus the Anaheim Ducks. With the team coming off a victory, head coach Gerard Gallant will likely keep the same lineup intact tonight, which means Vitali Kravtsov, Ryan Reaves, and Libor Hajek will be scratched again. Here’s our gameday preview.

New York Rangers Projected Lines

Forwards

Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Jimmy Vesey

Artemi Panarin – Vincent Trocheck – Barclay Goodrow

Alexis Lafreniere – Filip Chytil – Kaapo Kakko

Sammy Blais – Ryan Carpenter – Julien Gauthier

Defense

Ryan Lindgren – Fox

K’Andre Miller – Jacob Trouba

Zac Jones – Braden Schneider

Goaltenders

Shesterkin – Halak

Shesterkin and Fox Lead Rangers To A Narrow Victory On West Coast Trip

Shesterkin dominated play against the Sharks and nearly had a shutout – he allowed a goal with 17 seconds remaining in the third period. He has played excellent during three of his last four starts for the Rangers, and his recent play is reminiscent of his Vezina Trophy-winning season last year. According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, in his last four starts, he has a .935 save percentage (SV%), a 1.73 goals-against-average (GAA), and a 3-0-1 record (from ‘Igor Shesterkin’s return to dominant form is Rangers’ best reason for optimism,’ New York Post, Nov. 20, 2022). With their lack of goal-scoring throughout November, their number-one goalie finds himself in the familiar position of being their most valuable player.

Fox contributed what turned out to be the game-winning goal in the win and has been one of the Rangers’ consistent offensive producers over the last several games. Despite being a defenseman, he is arguably one of their significant offensive players besides Panarin and Zibanejad. He is tied with Zibanejad for second on the team with 21 points and trails Panarin, who leads them with 22.

Los Angeles Kings Projected Lines

Forwards

Kevin Fiala – Anze Kopitar – Adrian Kempe

Trevor Moore – Philip Danault – Viktor Arvidsson

Carl Grundstrom – Blake Lizotte – Gabriel Vilardi/Lias Andersson

Jaret Anderson-Dolan – Rasmus Kupari – Arthur Kaliyev

Defense

Mikey Anderson – Drew Doughty

Alexander Edler – Matt Roy

Jacob Moverare – Sean Walker

Goaltenders

Jonathan Quick – Cal Petersen

McLellan Seeks Offensive Spark By Reuniting Fiala-Kopitar-Kempe Line

The Kings have scored three or fewer goals during seven of the 10 games played during November and are coming off of back-to-back games in which they tallied three goals combined. During the Nov. 19 contest versus the Seattle Kraken, head coach Todd McLellan reunited the combination of Fiala-Kopitar-Kempe on the top line. He commented on the adjustments Fiala has made this season since being acquired during the offseason, “when we brought him in, we brought him to play in that spot. We just had to settle some things down and get him fitting in and comfortable. He and I talked the other day, he said he feels way better about language, systems, structure and teammates, surroundings, so that’s a good sign.”

Related: Kings Get Desired Top-6 Forward in Kevin Fiala Trade


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McLellan mentioned the goal of putting Fiala, Kopitar, and Kempe on the first line again long term, “there’s three pieces to that puzzle, each one of them has to basically get done together. We believed from the summer, the day that we got Kevin here, that they could do it together, but we’ve got to try it again and see where it goes.” Assuming Shesterkin is in goal tonight for the Rangers, whose matchup versus the Kings is the first of back-to-back contests, McLellan may put the combination back together this evening, especially if their offensive struggles continue against last year’s Vezina Trophy-winning goalie. If the trio does not start out on the same line, the Kings’ head coach will likely put them together during the game.

Players To Watch

New York Rangers – Igor Shesterkin

Shesterkin’s significance to the Rangers has been on display again with his most recent performances. With the likelihood of him being in goal tonight, he will aim to continue his hot streak with another solid start this evening.

Los Angeles Kings – Kevin Fiala

Fiala has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 21 games during his first year with the Kings and has adjusted well throughout the season’s first quarter. Despite playing with different combinations, he has remained productive for the organization by leading them in assists and points.

Tonight’s game has a 10:30 PM ET start time and will be broadcast on MSG.

*Rangers lines from @MollieeWalkerr on Twitter. Kings lines from @DooleyLAK on Twitter.


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