New York Rangers Gameday Preview: Ottawa Senators – 11/30/22

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.

Filip Chytil New York Rangers
Filip Chytil, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

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

Forwards

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

Defense

Ryan Lindgren – Adam Fox

K’Andre Miller – Braden Schneider

Zac Jones – Jacob Trouba

Goaltenders

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).


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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

Forwards

Brady Tkachuk – Tim Stutzle – Claude Giroux

Alex DeBrincat – Shane Pinto – Drake Batherson

Tyler Motte – Derick Brassard – Mathieu Joseph

Parker Kelly – Mark Kastelic – Austin Watson

Defense

Thomas Chabot – Artem Zub

Jake Sanderson – Travis Hamonic

Erik Brannstrom – Nick Holden

Goaltenders

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.”

Related: Senators Have All the Tools to Still Make a Playoff Run

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.

*Rangers lines from @vzmercogliano on Twitter. Senators lines from @SunGarrioch on Twitter.


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