The Rangers are back in action after a three-day hiatus and they will take on divisional foe – the Columbus Blue Jackets (7:00 P.M. ET, MSG).

RangersNHL RankingsBlue Jackets
9thNHL Standing Rank15th
22nd  PK%21st

Previous Game

               The Rangers are coming off a shocking 5-1 defeat to the Calgary Flames. It was a poor night at the office and one that is best to put behind them. No one had a standout performance for the Rangers and the game was mostly dominated by Calgary. Igor Shesterkin made 32 saves on 37 shots suffering his first regulation defeat of the season. The lone Rangers goal was from Kevin Rooney. Ryan Reaves left the game in the first period after playing just over a minute.


               Friday night, the Blueshirts will welcome back Kaapo Kakko to the lineup barring a setback. Kakko was injured in Montreal and has only played in seven periods to start the season. The Finnish native is expected to rejoin Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome to round out the second line. Kakko told the media at practice on Thursday “I’m ready to play.”

               But with Kakko entering the lineup, the Rangers will lose Reaves who has been placed on the injured reserve list and is out for at least one week. Reaves left with a lower-body injury and it appeared to be a leg injury.

               With primary scoring being a major issue for the Rangers, head coach Gerrard Gallant has decided to mix some personnel in the top nine and see if he can find something that gets the offense going. Mika Zibanejad has just one goal to start the season and he will center Chris Kreider and Barclay Goodrow. Goodrow is a very responsible two-way player and he will allow the other two forwards to create the offense. On the third line, the Rangers will reunite Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil, and Sammy Blais. The trio had an excellent road trip as they were creating a lot of chances and scoring goals.

Columbus Blue Jackets

               The Columbus Blue Jackets had a very eventful offseason. The big move they made on the ice was a coaching change in the offseason. The team and John Tortorella parted ways and Columbus decided to hire Brad Larsen as their new head coach. Larsen had been an assistant coach in Columbus for the past seven years and was given a three-year contract to be the new head coach. Larsen has Columbus off to a solid start with a record of 4-2-0.

               Prior to the offseason, the Rangers fired president John Davidson and Davidson was quickly snagged by the Blue Jackets to become their new president. There was clearly a disagreement or a trigger with Davidson and owner James Dolan that led to the separation. Davidson is a highly respected figure in the National Hockey League and it’s no surprise he went back to Columbus for his second stint with the organization. Davidson was the previous president of the Blue Jackets before leaving to join the Rangers.

               Unfortunately, the Blue Jackets and the rest of the national hockey league suffered a loss that hurt many. Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks passed away during the offseason after a fireworks accident at a Fourth of July party. Kivlenieks was just 24 years old. His NHL debut came against the Rangers which saw him pick up his first career win stopping 31 of 32 shots. Condolences go to Kivlenieks friends, family, and the entire hockey world.

What to Watch

               The thing I will be paying a close eye on this game is the return of Kakko and more specifically how many minutes he plays. Will he be effective and generate scoring chances? Will Gallant look to ease him back into the lineup after not playing a game for nearly two weeks?

NHL News

               While this has nothing to do with the upcoming Rangers game, I think it is important to briefly summarize the news surrounding former first-round pick Kyle Beach and the Chicago Blackhawks. Beach was sexually assaulted back in 2010 during the Blackhawks Stanley Cup run by video coach Brad Aldrich. The team basically did nothing and swept this under the rug. Chicago general manager Stan Bowman has since “stepped aside” as both the general manager of the Blackhawks and Team USA at the Olympics. Florida head coach John Quenneville resigned as Panthers head coach late Thursday night despite a 7-0-0 start to the season. I just want to encourage everyone to do their own research and be completely informed on the incident and watch the interview Beach did with TSN. Beach has been very brave and courageous and I hope he knows the hockey world has his back and that he is not alone.

Projected Lineup










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