The New York Rangers (10-9-4) and the Ottawa Senators (8-12-1) engage in the first of a home-and-home tonight at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Rangers have coughed up leads during their three-game losing streak and will aim to improve their team defense beginning this evening.
Not securing a win with a multi-goal lead is not characteristic of good clubs, and they find themselves as an average team based on their record through the first quarter of the year. Here’s our gameday preview.
New York Rangers Projected Lines
Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Jimmy Vesey
Artemi Panarin – Filip Chytil – Kaapo Kakko
Alexis Lafreniere – Vincent Trocheck/Barclay Goodrow – Vitali Kravtsov
Sammy Blais – Goodrow/Ryan Carpenter – Julien Gauthier
Ryan Lindgren – Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller – Braden Schneider
Zac Jones – Jacob Trouba
Jaroslav Halak – Shesterkin
Rangers’ Struggles Have Continued Entering Tonight’s Contest
The Rangers enter tonight’s game vs. the Senators looking to snap their losing streak in which they surrendered leads in all those contests. Against the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 26 and on Nov. 28 versus the New Jersey Devils, they allowed their opponents to come back from multi-goal deficits — the Oilers tallied four unanswered goals during the third period while the Devils scored four straight goals of their own. Shesterkin expressed frustration with his play after the most recent loss to one of their top rivals, “Every goal is [an] easy play for me. I have to stop those. If our team wants to win the game, I have to play better.” (from ‘Rangers blow another multi-goal lead in alarming loss to Devils,’ New York Post, 11/28/22).
Latest News & Highlights
According to Mollie Walker of the New York Post, the Rangers need a confidence-boosting win this evening that will ease the vibe in the locker room and act as a stepping stone toward rediscovering their identity (from ‘Rangers can’t afford loss to lowly Senators as struggles mount,’ New York Post, 11/30/22). Chytil commented regarding what they need to focus on in order to turn things around: “I think [we’re] not helping the goalies too much. Five goals [surrendered to the Devils], that’s a lot after [leading] 2-0. It’s just something we have to keep the [score] to nothing. They can’t score two goals in that short time. We just have to focus on defense, as well. That’s maybe what’s missing, but I don’t know. We will see. It’s up to us, how we want to play.”
Kravtsov has a chance of playing against the Senators after being scratched for the previous eight contests, some of which he was recovering from a tooth infection that led to a stomach illness. Despite practicing on the third line, head coach Gerard Gallant was noncommittal on whether or not he will play tonight. The defensive duo of Miller and Trouba may be split up as they have not played well together this season and Gallant put Miller with Schneider and Jones with Trouba during the Nov. 29 practice. Trocheck is a game-time decision this evening and his status will determine if Goodrow will center the third or fourth line and if Carpenter will be a healthy scratch or not.
Ottawa Senators Projected Lines
Brady Tkachuk – Tim Stutzle – Claude Giroux
Alex DeBrincat – Shane Pinto – Drake Batherson
Tyler Motte – Derick Brassard – Mathieu Joseph
Parker Kelly – Mark Kastelic – Austin Watson
Thomas Chabot – Artem Zub
Jake Sanderson – Travis Hamonic
Erik Brannstrom – Nick Holden
Cam Talbot – Anton Forsberg
Senators Prepare For Busy Schedule During December
Wayne Scanlan of SportsNet noted that after tonight’s contest vs. the Rangers, the Senators will have played their first 22 games over 49 days but will see an increase beginning this weekend. Once the calendar turns to December, they will play 16 games during the course of a month (Dec. 2-Jan. 1) with multiple back-to-back games. Head coach D.J. Smith credited the discipline of his club during close games, “I think we’ve learned a lot of lessons. Early on, we threw the puck away, shot ourselves in the foot… There’s a completely different mentality for the importance of points, and how to close games out. There’s definitely a different mindset.”
Smith mentioned the benefit of Giroux’s presence on a young roster. “He’s been an absolutely great veteran to have for these kids. He never shows negative emotion, he’s learned body language… all the things you want kids to learn when things aren’t going right.” The veteran forward is a part of a young and talented top six that includes Tkachuk, Stutzle, and another of their additions from the previous offseason in DeBrincat.
Players To Watch
New York Rangers – Vitali Kravtsov
Should the young forward re-enter the lineup tonight, will he make a good impression for Gallant to keep him active on a regular basis? Of course, he needs to avoid injuries going forward that have plagued him on more than one occasion during the early portion of the season.
Ottawa Senators – Brady Tkachuk
The Senators captain has 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 21 games this year and is one of their core offensive players. If the Rangers cannot limit his chances, they could find themselves on the losing end of a fourth consecutive game.
Tonight’s game has a 7 PM ET start time and will be broadcast on MSG.