With the end of the season not going how the Rangers had hope, the Rangers will host the Washington Capitals as their playoff push came to an end (7:00 P.M. ET, MSG2).

RangersEast Division Ranks /8Capitals
5thEast Ranking2nd

               The Rangers needed to win both games against the Islanders to put themselves one point back of the final playoff spot but instead they were defeated in both and outscored 8-0. The only way for the Rangers to get in the playoffs now would be to win every single game and for Boston to lose every single game in regulation. In other words, the Rangers need eight games to play out exactly in their favor which is as improbable as the sky turning green.

               With that said, the Rangers still have four games left which should be used to observe the pieces they currently have. As much good of a season Colin Blackwell has had, there is no reason he should be getting any more than bottom-six minutes. Ryan Strome has struggled as of late and he too should see fewer minutes. Even the Blueshirts best forward Pavel Buchnevich should be seeing fewer minutes for these final four games. The reason being that the Rangers should give a real shot to the young guns and see what they bring to the table including Morgan Barron and Vitaly Kravtsov who have had very limited opportunities. The Rangers know what they have in guys like Blackwell, Strome, and Buchnevich, and now is the time to give the kids top-six ice time no matter what happens. Why not see what a line of say Artemi Panarin with Barron and Kravtsov can do? Why not take a look at what Mika Zibanejad’s line could look like with Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko? It’s a perfect time to see what the kids can do in a small sample size.

               Jacob Trouba and Ryan Lindgren are currently out with injuries and for their safety, they should not see the ice for the remainder of the season. The Blueshirts know what they bring to the table and their health should be a top priority. It serves them no purpose to rush them back for a meaningless game. This time should be used to evaluate some of the rookie defensemen including Zac Jones and Tarmo Reunanen. Like the young forwards, give them a lot of ice time, and let’s see what they can do. This includes both the power play and the penalty kill.

               Head coach David Quinn is going to mix up the lines as the season comes to an end. All of the kids will be getting plenty of ice as Kravtsov, Kakko, and Lafreniere will all be in the top nine. The only kid not in the top nine will be Barron who will remain on the fourth line for his second career game. Quinn is expected to look at a bunch of different combinations in preparation for next season.

               “With as many young players as we have, I think you’re always looking for different combinations because there’s just so much uncertainty,” Quinn said.

               Washington could be without a bunch of key players as they enter Monday night’s game. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilya Samsonov are both healthy scratches due to disciplinary reasons. Alex Ovechkin and John Carlsson are both game-time decisions. And T.J. Oshie is out due to a personal matter. Craig Anderson will backup Vitek Vanecek for Monday night’s game. Washington is currently two points behind Pittsburgh for the top spot in the East and their lineup could look depleted. Washington will need everyone they can as the Rangers have had the Capitals number winning four of six games this season.

               Igor Shesterkin will get the start for the Rangers. Shesterkin sat out in the last game as Alex Georgiev made the start against the Islanders. Georgiev’s luck was no better than Shesterkin’s as he suffered the same fate of a 4-0 defeat.

Projected Lineup