After defeating the New Jersey Devils on Monday night in overtime, the Rangers will face one of their toughest tests of the season when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs (7:00 P.M. ET, MSG).

RangersNHL RankingsMaple Leafs
12thNHL Standing Rank2nd
19th  GF/PG12th

Previous Game

The Blueshirts were able to knock off the New Jersey Devils in overtime to extend their win streak to four-games. Things weren’t looking good as the Blueshirts found themselves down 2-0 before the first commercial break and were trailing 3-1 in the second period. But the Rangers needed just seven seconds to score two goals and tie the game before entering the third period. After a scoreless period, the two teams went to overtime where Filip Chytil was the hero for the Rangers.

“Nice pass from Artemi,” said Chytil. “I just shoot. Score a goal.”

Chris Kreider, Vincent Trocheck, and Kaapo Kakko were the other goal scorers for New York. Igor Shesterkin had a great game despite having a sub .900 save percentage. Shesterkin faced a lot of quality chances including a penalty shot from Jack Hughes and he often kept the Rangers in the game. The Russian netminder finished with 26 saves.

Rangers vs Toronto

New York will now face one of their toughest tests of the season where the welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs to Madison Square Garden. The Rangers haven’t been great on home ice this season with a record of just 6-6-4. But a victory tonight could be a real statement winning and confident building game. The Leafs are arguably the hottest team in the league as they enter the game on a 15-game point streak (12-0-3) and have won four straight games.

In addition to playing some great hockey, they also have the hottest player in the league in Mitch Marner. Marner is currently on an incredible 23-point scoring streak (11G, 21A). Patrick Kane currently has the highest point scoring streak among active players with 26. The longest point scoring streak is held by Wayne Gretzky with 51 games – a record that may never be broken given how the game has evolved from the 1980s. The Rangers and Shesterkin would love nothing more than to end the streak and more importantly end the game with two more points.

               The key to defeating the Leafs will be limiting the chances of their core four forwards in Marner, Auston Matthews, John Tavares, and William Nylander. Easier said then done. Each of those four players have at least 12 goals and all of them also have over 30 points on the season to this point. The Blueshirts have just two forwards over 30 points and one defenseman. If the Rangers can slow these guys down, they will give themselves an excellent shot at winning Thursday night’s game.

And if the game couldn’t be any tougher for the Rangers, Toronto surprisingly has the second-best goals against average in the entire league. The Leafs have allowed just 40 goals at even strength all season which is good for the second fewest in the NHL. It won’t be easy to score goals despite Toronto having an injured blue line. Toronto is without two of their best defenders in Morgan Reilly and Jake Muzzin. Muzzin isn’t expected back until sometime in February at the earliest and Reilly is currently on the Long-term injured reserved list.

               Matt Murray is slated to start in goal for Toronto. The Leafs traded a draft pick for Murray and he has put up solid numbers since becoming a Leaf. Murray is 7-1-2 with a .926 save percentage on the season.

               Shesterkin is expected to start in goal for the Rangers after having two full days of rest. The 26-year-old holds a 3-1-0 career record against Toronto.

               Two players who will need to bring their A+ games are Barclay Goodrow and Vincent Trocheck. For Goodrow, he was signed because of his defensive ability and his ability to grind out opponents. For Trocheck he was brought in to replace Ryan Strome’s production, while also being able to win faceoffs and bring a higher level of defense. To slow down the Leafs offense, the Blueshirts will need these two players.

Expect the Rangers to start the game with the way they finished the game against New Jersey. Head coach Gerard Gallant appears to be going with a hot hand approach and it seems to be working as of late. This includes Artemi Panarin being paired with Mika Zibanejad and ‘The Kid Line’ being back together.

Projected Lineup










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