After defeating the Arizona Coyotes and having a few days off, the Blueshirts are in Seattle to begin a four-game road trip on the west coast (10:00 P.M. ET, MSG).

RangersNHL RankingsKraken
13thNHL Standing Rank12th

Previous Game

               The Rangers are coming off a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. The game started off about as poorly as it could as the Coyotes dominated played and did everything but score. Arizona outshot the Rangers 17-4 in the first period. The Rangers had a better second period and started to find their legs which eventually led to a two-goal breakout. Barclay Goodrow opened the scoring on an Arizona turnover and Adam Fox recorded the game winning goal less than 90 seconds later. Chris Kreider and Ryan Carpenter would record third period goals.

               Igor Shesterkin showed why he was the Vezina winning goaltender last season as he had one of his best games of the season. Shesterkin kept the Rangers in the game like he often did last year and he was the first star of Sunday’s game. The Russian netminder recorded 31 saves on 32 shots to improve to 8-2-2 on the season.

Rangers vs Kraken

               The Blueshirts will now begin a four-game western conference road trip in the western United States. First, the Rangers will take on the Seattle Kraken for just the third time in franchise history. The Blueshirts won both meetings in Seattle’s inaugural season last year and will now play for the third time on Thursday night. In the first meeting in Seattle, the Kraken were all over the Blueshirts but ultimately, they were defeated 3-1. Shesterkin made 31 saves on that night too as the Rangers were outshot 32-18.

               One of the biggest problems for the Blueshirts this season has been their ability to score goals. Over the last three games, the Rangers have managed 13 goals and that is without an empty net goal. Head coach Gerard Gallant will be hoping that this will continue going forward and that they can finally get going this season.

               Adam Fox is currently red hot as he has a six-game point streak including ten points in that span. Chris Kreider has got his scoring shoes on lately as he has goals in three of the past four games. Vitaly Kravtsov has been ill and he missed the pass two games. Although he is healthy, based on practice reports from the Rangers off days that Kravtsov will be a healthy scratch in Seattle. Zac Jones hasn’t played since November 8th against the Islanders and he is slated to be a healthy scratch for his fourth straight game in favor of Libor Hajek.

               Shesterkin is figured to be back in the pipes on Thursday night. The 26-year-old has all eight of the Rangers wins this season and he is expected to start three of the four games on the road trip.

               Seattle enters Thursday’s game on a hot streak as they look to make the postseason for the first time in franchise history. Despite losing their last two games by a goal each, the Kraken are 5-1-1 in their last seven games including victories over the Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames, and Nashville Predators. The Kraken defeated the Predators 5-1 whereas the Blueshirts were defeated 2-1 in Nashville this past Saturday.

               Leading the Kraken in points is former Avalanche Andre Burakovsky. Burakovsky was a member of the Avalanche’s Stanley Cup winning team last season but ultimately was a victim to the salary cap. The 27-year-old currently has 14 points in 16 games including seven power-play points. While the Kraken don’t have anyone with the point total Artemi Panarin has for the Rangers, the Kraken have more depth with eleven players with at least eight points. The Blueshirts currently only have seven players with at least eight points. Seattle may not have any superstars but they have a team with a lot of solid players.

               One area of concern for the Kraken this season was goaltending. Phillipp Grubauer was coming off a very down year and it they were hoping for a bounce back season out of him. Instead, Grubauer has spent much of the season injured and is week-to-week. Backup netminder Chris Driedger suffered a torn-ACL on May 29th in Canada’s IHF World Championship game against Finland. With Driedger expected to miss at least three months of the season – the Kraken signed Martin Jones this past offseason and he has done a fantastic job in Seattle. Jones had been poor the past four seasons with a .900 save percentage or worse. This year with a better team in front of him, Jones has recorded a very respectable .909 save percentage and he has provided a spark for the Kraken. Jones has started in 12 of the Kraken’s 15 games this season.

                “Obviously, with Grubi (Grubauer) unavailable over the last couple of weeks here it’s been a really important stretch for him, said Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol. “But most importantly, it’s just a continuation of Jones’ work from early on in training camp. His consistency has been good and I’ve said it a couple of times, he brings a good calm presence.”

What to Watch

               The Kraken’s penalty kill ranks just 23rd on the season. With the Rangers offense starting to heat up – can the power-play manage to score a goal or two? The Blueshirts power-play has been heating up and a game against the Kraken may just give it a chance to continue to get hotter.

Projected lines

Projected Lineup










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