After missing the previous four games due to being in the COVID protocol, Artemi Panarin is set to return to the lineup as the Rangers take on the Los Angeles Kings (10:30 P.M. EST, MSG+).

RangersNHL RankingsKings
4th  NHL Standing Rank11th

Previous Game

               The Rangers scratched and clawed their way to a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. It wasn’t pretty as both teams were severely shorthanded, but ultimately the Blueshirts found another way to win a hockey game. Yet despite being shorthanded, the Rangers played one of their best defensive games of the season including allowing just three shots in the third period. Mika Zibanejad got the Rangers on the board to tie the game at one. Contributions came from the backend as Jarred Tinordi gave the Rangers the lead while Ryan Lindgren added insurance. Lindgren would also tack on an empty-net goal to give him his first career two-goal game.

               Lindgren was asked by the media if he remembers the last time, he scored a two-goal game. His response was “Probably not in college or AHL, so it’s been a while.”

               Jonny Brodzinski made his season debut this season alongside Tim Gettinger and Morgan Barron who were playing in their second and third game of the season respectively. The trio made up the fourth line and were very impressive. They played a complete game and brought energy to the Blueshirts bench. Barron recorded his first career NHL assist against Anaheim.


               The Blueshirts will get some major reinforcements as Artemi Panarin is set to return to the lineup. Panarin’s last game came on New Year’s Eve when the Rangers won 4-3 in the shootout. The Blueshirts have gone 3-1-0 in 2022 as they awaited the return of their highest point scorer. Panarin told the media that he had some symptoms when he first tested positive for COVID-19 but that he is now ready to go.

“I’m ready,” Panarin said. “I hope for [the] long term I don’t have any problems with conditioning.”

               Just as it appeared that the Rangers and head coach Gerard Gallant were relieved that there were no new positives, news came that the boss himself tested positive. Gallant spoke with the media an hour before finding out he tested positive. With Gallant unable to coach, the Rangers will welcome back AHL head coach Kris Knoblauch back behind the bench. Knoblauch will serve as acting head coach in Gallant’s absence.

               Last season, the Rangers’ entire coaching staff was placed in the COVID protocol and Knoblauch was called into action. In six games, Knoblauch won four of them including two demolitions of the Philadelphia Flyers.  

               The Rangers will also welcome back Patrik Nemeth who has been out of the lineup due to a personal reason. The Rangers have been rotating defenders on the bottom pair on a game-by-game basis in Nemeth’s absence. Tinordi will likely partner with Nemeth in Los Angeles. Nils Lundkvist and Libor Hajek will likely be healthy scratches.


               The Kings enter this game fourth in the Pacific Division and they find themselves level with the Sharks on points for the second wildcard spot. The strength of the Kings this season has been their ability to keep the puck out of the net. Los Angeles has been hard to break at even strength as they have allowed just 54 goals. 54 goals against at even strength puts them tied for the fourth-fewest in the NHL.

               In the offseason, the Kings signed Phillip Danault to a six-year contract worth 5.5 million per season. Danault is a very complete forward who is one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL. He also is a staple on the Kings penalty kill. Danault has 18 points on the season and has a plus-minus of a plus 10.

               Viktor Arvidsson was also brought in during the offseason and he has 19 points in 28 games.

               Leading the Kings in points is long-time King, Anze Kopitar. Kopitar has 29 points in 35 games as the season crawls closer to the halfway point. The 34-year-old was drafted eleventh overall by the Kings in 2005 and has spent his entire career in Los Angeles.

                Los Angeles has lost defender Sean Walker for the rest of the season as he is recovering from a torn ACL and MCL. Alex Edler has been on the IR since December and Christian Wolanin is currently in the protocol. This leaves the Kings short three defensemen which limit their lineup options.

               Jonathan Quick is having a bounce-back season. The two-time Stanley Cup winner has a record of 10-8-4 with a .921 save percentage. Quick has been a big reason why the Kings are not conceding goals at even strength. Last season, the 35-year-old played in less than half of the Kings games and he had a save percentage sub .900.

Key to the Game

The key to the game for the Rangers is getting the first goal. Getting the first goal will open the Kings up. Despite the Kings being one of the worst teams when scoring first, the Rangers offense hasn’t exactly been lights out and they could have some difficulty breaking down a team that is sitting back.

Projected Lineup









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