Rangers, After defeating the Lightning in a shootout on New Year’s Eve, the two teams will do battle once again – this time in Madison Square Garden (12:30 P.M. EST, MSG+).

RangersNHL RankingsLightning
7thNHL Standing Rank2nd

Previous Game

               The Blueshirts ended 2021 on a high note with a 4-3 shootout win. It was a back-and-forth game that saw each team have a lead. Controversy occurred late in the third period after a TV timeout. Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant wanted Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider on the ice with Barclay Goodrow for a defensive zone faceoff. However, the officials wouldn’t allow the change and forced the Rangers to have Ryan Strome and Artemi Panarin on the ice. To say Gallant was livid would be an understatement. Gallant went so far as trying to snag a piece of paper right out of the referee’s hand. Ultimately, the Rangers head coach didn’t get his way and the Lightning scored the tying goal less than 30 seconds later.

               The Blueshirts kept battling despite suffering heartbreak at the end of the period and they forced the back-to-back defending Stanley Cup champions into a shootout. In the shootout, Tampa Bay selected Victor Hedman, Steven Stamkos, and Brayden Point to shoot. Igor Shesterkin was absolutely brilliant and didn’t allow a single goal to three of the most dangerous players on the planet. Mika Zibanejad had the lone goal in the shootout.

               Barclay Goodrow had himself a “revenge game” against his former team.  Goodrow had been a member of the Lightning when they went back-to-back and was a vital piece on Tampa Bay’s third line. The 28-year-old received his second ring from Tampa Bay prior to puck drop in the presence of his former teammates. But once the game began, the time for being friends was over and Goodrow ultimately made his former team pay the price twice.

               Goodrow spoke with the media after the game and had this to say after receiving his second ring, receiving a video tribute and a standing ovation from the crowd, and scoring two goals. “It was one of those moments where I’m just thinking to myself, ‘What is this life?’”


               The Blueshirts return home after two games in Florida. They will conclude a home-and-home set with Tampa Bay, before hosting Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers the following night. Gallant wouldn’t comment too much on the lineup other than the fact that Igor Shesterkin will get the start. One other thing fans could expect is Goodrow continuing to be utilized with Panarin and Strome. Dryden Hunt would play on the fourth line if Goodrow is deployed on the second.

               With Gallant not committing to his lineup, there is a chance that Tim Gettinger or Zac Jones could make their season debut.

               In other news, Alex Georgiev has cleared the COVID protocol and will backup Shesterkin. With Georgiev back, Keith Kinkaid was returned to the taxi squad while Adam Huska was returned to Hartford.

               Kevin Rooney and Ryan Lindgren both appear to remain in the protocol. The next opportunity both would have to play is Monday against Edmonton. Following the game against Edmonton, the Blueshirts will begin a five-game road trip including four games out west. The road trip begins in Vegas and is followed by three games against the three California teams. The finale of the road trip will end in Philadelphia.


               The Lightning could receive a big boost as rosters move suggest that starting goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy could be available. Vasilevskiy was on the COVID protocol but has since been activated to the active roster. The 27-year-old holds a record of 17-4-3 with a .928 save percentage on the season.

               In addition, defender Erik Cernak could make his return to the lineup. Cernak has been out with a lower-body injury but appears to be a game-time decision. Zach Bogosian was a surprise scratch as he is dealing with something undisclosed. He also has the chance to potentially be available for the Lightning.

What to Watch

               Oddly enough, I think it is important to keep an eye on the Blueshirts shot total for the second straight game. If Elliott starts again, it will be important to test the goaltender whose confidence may be shaken. Elliott turned the puck over twice on New Year’s Eve and ultimately the Blueshirts were able to capitalize on both turnovers. If Vasilevskiy does return to the lineup, it will be important to test a goalie who hasn’t played in nearly two weeks.

Projected Lineup









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