With the all-star break set to begin, the Rangers will host the Vegas Golden Knights as they look to go into the break on a high note (7:00 P.M. on MSG)

RangersNHL RankingsGolden Knights
11thNHL Standing Rank8th
16th GF/PG15th
5th  GA/PG12th

Previous Game

The Rangers are coming off a 3-2 overtime defeat to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Rangers were up 2-1 late in the third, when the Maple Leafs made a late push an ended up tying the game. In overtime, it took Mitch Marner just under 20 seconds to make a move to the front of the net and beat Igor Shesterkin. The Blueshirts had a chance to extend their lead to 3-1 early in the third, but Chris Kreider who led the league in power-play goals last season, missed an open net on a redirection. Kreider’s night would get worse as he was caught sleeping on defense which led to the Leafs tying the game. While Kreider had a night he will want to forget, so did the rest of the top-six as they were mostly shutdown. The best chances by the Rangers were mostly created by ‘The Kid Line’ which ended up being responsible for both goals. Filip Chytil recorded both goals including right off the faceoff to catch Ilya Samsonov off guard.

Rangers vs Knights

               The Blueshirts will return home to play their final game before the all-star game against the Vegas Golden Knights. This game will mark the beginning of a four-game homestand against all western conference oppositions. The Blueshirts won’t resume play until February 6th which is two days after the all-star game. Shesterkin will represent the Rangers along with Adam Fox and Artemi Panarin.

The Blueshirts will start the game the same way they finished the game in Toronto. Jimmy Vesey will join Panarin and Mika Zibanejad on the top line, while Kreider will start with Vincent Trocheck and Barclay Goodrow. ‘The Kid Line’ will stay intact as will the fourth line which means Vitaly Kravtsov will be a healthy scratch for the second straight game.

               Ben Harpur was awarded with a two-year contract at under 800k per season due to his play on the third pair. Harpur started the season with Hartford, but he has won the job as of late by beating out Libor Hajek and Zac Jones.

               “Being safe, playing smart, playing hard,” said head coach Gerard Gallant on how Harpur won the job. “Not flashy at all, as we all know, but he’s just doing a good job there. I think our team has played really well since he’s been in the lineup….”

               The Golden Knights enter this game with a few key injuries. Robin Lehner and Nolan Patrick haven’t played a game for them this season and neither is expected to play until next season. Zach Whitecloud is currently month-to-month with a lower-body injury. But perhaps worse of all is that Mark Stone is currently week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Stone, the captain of the Golden Knights, played in just 37 game last season and has only played in over 60 games just one time in his five seasons with the Knights. Stone is currently second on his team in points behind Chandler Stephenson.

               However, the Golden Knights will get a big boost to their lineup as Shea Theodore will return after missing the past 20 games. The Knights have struggled without Theodore as they went just 9-9-2.

               Vegas has two games prior to the break starting tonight and ending tomorrow on Long Island. With the Knights playing a back-to-back, Adin Hill is expected to start with starting netminder Logan Thompson expected to start on Thursday. Hill is 10-4-1 with a .905 save percentage.

               The dangerous guy for the Knights is Jack Eichel. Eichel is finally healthy after a scary neck issue a couple years ago and he is once again playing at an elite level. Eichel has 34 points in 36 games as he looks to lead the Knights back to the playoffs after missing last season.

               One thing to keep an eye on as the Rangers head into the all-star break is their power-play. The power-play has struggled this season and they currently have just two goals on their last 22 attempts during the past eight games. There are not many opportunities in the season to make big changes, but with a nine-day break upcoming, now would be the time to do so if it struggles again on Friday night. The Rangers first unit has four-righties and potentially replacing Trocheck with a guy like Chytil or Kakko could give them more of a balance. Gallant has yet to make a change to the top unit as he believes the talent will eventually come through. The other option is to give the second unit more time.

Projected Lineup










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