After an unexpected long break for the Blueshirts, the Rangers return home to take on the Philadelphia Flyers (7:00 P.M. ET, MSG).

RangersNHL RankingsFlyers
8thNHL Standing Rank24th

Previous Game

               The Blueshirts extended their win streak to three games after defeating the Boston Bruins in primetime on Black Friday. The Rangers won by the score of 5-2 with the game-winning goal coming from Artemi Panarin. However, it was the final minute of the game that got the NHL world talking. With the game already over, Bruins forward Brad Marchand said something to Panarin that upset the 30-year-old. With both players on the bench, Panarin took off his glove – threw it, and hit Marchand. Panarin was ejected for the final few seconds and later fined $5,000 by player safety. It is interesting to note that Marchand did this knowing he wouldn’t get another shift with the score out of hand.

               The next day, Panarin said he’s fine with the trash-talking but that it was more of a personal attack. “I don’t like that guy,” Panarin said with a smirk.

               What upset some Rangers fans was the fact that Bruins defender Charlie McAvoy didn’t receive a phone call from player safety. Also, in the final minute of the game, McAvoy blatantly stuck his leg out and went knee-on-knee with Kevin Rooney. It was a dangerous player that was totally avoidable but McAvoy did just about everything he did to make sure there was contact with Rooney. Head of player safety George Parros apparently didn’t see it that way.  


               The Rangers were supposed to play on Sunday evening against the New York Islanders, but the game was postponed due to more positive COVID-19 tests with the Islanders. In addition, their AHL team got shut down due to COVID-19 and they are not allowed to call up anyone. So, with the game postponed, the Rangers haven’t played since last Friday and should be well rested for a key divisional game.

               But like the Islanders, the Rangers minor league team in Hartford was also shut down due to another COVID-19 outbreak. This is more significant for the Blueshirts as they won’t be able to call anyone up from Hartford, should a player or two enter the COVID protocol or be unavailable due to injury. Greg McKegg is currently the only Rangers player in the COVID protocol.

               The Blueshirts went 4-3-1 against the Flyers last season. However, they had two enormous victories by the scores of 9-0 and 8-3. But since those two games, the Flyers have won two of the last three meetings. Mika Zibanejad loved playing the Flyers last season. He recorded 15 points in the final five meetings against the Flyers including two natural hat tricks.

               Igor Shesterkin is expected to get the nod for the Rangers. Shesterkin had a strong outing in Boston recording 34 saves for his 11th win of the season. Shesterkin holds a record of 11-3-2 with a 2.22 goals against average and a .933 save percentage.


               The Flyers enter this game struggling badly. Philadelphia is currently on a six-game losing streak after starting the season 8-4-2. They made some interesting moves in the offseason that raised a couple of eyebrows. One of the big moves they made was trading Jakub Voracek to the Blue Jackets for Cam Atkinson. Atkinson has eleven points in 20 games with his new team. In addition, they acquired Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen from Nashville and Buffalo to help and improve their defensive core. Ellis is currently out of the lineup due to injury.

               Two ex-Ranger centers Kevin Hayes and Derick Brassard are also battling injury concerns. Hayes has been suffering an abdominal injury since the offseason and has undergone two surgeries. He was a full-participant in practice on Tuesday which gives him a chance to play against his former team. However, head coach Alain Vigneualt could opt to hold the 29-year-old out for the game as the Rangers are one of the NHL’s top-hitting teams. The Blueshirts are fifth overall in hits per 60 minutes. Hayes already reaggravated his injury once on November 16th.

               Brassard, on the other hand, doesn’t look like he has a chance to take on his former team. The 34-year-old center has had a wonderful start to the season with the Flyers. However, he is dealing with a hip issue and felt some discomfort during practice on Tuesday. With Philadelphia having a five-game stretch in the course of a week starting on Sunday, The Flyers will want him to be available as they face a very busy part of the season. His status isn’t looking as positive at Hayes’ for Wednesday night.

What to watch

               As the Rangers continue their charge for the top spot in the metro, look for Zibanejad to try to continue his strong play against the Flyers. Zibanejad recorded a boatload of points against Philadelphia last season. With a Blueshirts win tonight, the Rangers would be tied for second in the metro division with the Carolina Hurricanes and would only trail the Capitals by two points with two games in hand. Look for Zibanejad to lead the way.

Projected Lineup










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