With the trade deadline less than a week away, the Rangers are in Chicago to take on the Blackhawks in an original-six matchup (8:00 P.M. ET, NBCSN).

Rangers Ranks Blackhawks
30-24-4 Record 26-25-8
8th GF/PG 19th  
18th   GA/PG 20th
6th PP% 31st
18th PK% 12th

               With the trade deadline near, rumors are ramped across the league but especially with the New York Rangers. The Rangers are currently a team on the outside looking in who still have a chance at the playoffs if they go on a winning streak. In a similar situation, the Blackhawks still have a chance at the playoffs with games in hand on the wild card teams in the Western Conference. While both teams need to win games to keep their hopes alive, both teams are expected to be sellers with key pieces possibly available.

               Both teams are doing their best to block out the noise and continue to try and winning games. The Blueshirts made their first move prior to the deadline by moving defender Joey Keane to Carolina for forward Julien Gauthier. Both players are having great years in the American Hockey League and each team traded surplus. The Hurricanes have too many wingers for Gauthier to crack the lineup and the Rangers have too many defensemen for Keane to get his chance any time soon. Gauthier will report directly to the Rangers and will join the team in Chicago. There is a chance the 22-year-old could make his Rangers debut on Wednesday night. If not Wednesday, his next chance will be Friday in a revenge game against Carolina. Gauthier is a former first round pick in 2016.

The Rangers saw their four-game win streak snapped on Sunday against the Bruins. The Blueshirts only goal came from Mika Zibanejad on the powerplay in the third period.

“We put ourselves in a position to have a chance to win the game, so disappointing more than anything – I don’t think deflating,” said head coach David Quinn. “Just got to move past it and get ready for Chicago.”

The Rangers are bringing a secret weapon to Chicago which they hope will put them over the top. Wednesday night will start their Mom’s trip where player’s moms will join the team for the two-game road trip.

“You never play bad with the mothers,” said Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo. “You go on the Dads Trip and you have a bad game, he’s staring you down as you get off the ice. Moms will say, ‘Nice game.’ They think it’s the greatest thing in the world no matter what happens.”

“It’s always fun to have family around,” Quinn said. “You can feel a little bit more energy from our players, and it’s fun for the organization to do this for parents who have obviously done a lot for their children.”

“When Ryan (Strome) was born, my husband was singing the ‘Hockey Night in Canada’ theme song, out loud,” said Mrs. Strome. “Ryan came home wrapped in an NHL blanket. So maybe there were some signs.”

While Mrs. Strome will be cheering her heart out for Ryan, she will also be cheering for her middle son Dylan Strome who plays for the Blackhawks. Strome currently has 31 points in 47 games for Chicago.

The Blackhawks are coming off a 3-2 defeat to the Winnipeg Jets. Leading the Blackhawks in scoring with 74 is the always dangerous Patrick Kane. Despite the Blackhawks have the worst ranked powerplay in the league, Kane has recorded 19 points with the man-advantage.

Chicago has struggled with injuries especially on the backend. Calvin De Haan and Brent Seabrook were both shutdown in late December for the rest of the season.

One interesting matchup to follow will be Chicago forward Kirby Dach vs Rangers forward Kaapo Kakko. Kakko was selected second overall in the 2019 draft, while Dach was the next name announced. Both players are having identical seasons with eight goals and eleven assists each.

Artemi Panarin will make his return to Chicago. Panarin played two seasons for the Blackhawks and won the Calder Trophy as a member of the Blackhawks in 2016. After the following season, the Blackhawks traded Panarin to Columbus. This will be Panarin’s first time taking on Chicago as a member of the Blueshirts. Panarin has recorded four points in four games against his former team.

The Rangers will likely turn to Igor Shesterkin if he is healthy. If Shesterkin can’t go, expect Alex Georgiev to make his fourth straight appearance. The Blackhawks will likely lean on Robin Lehner. With Crawford suffering defeat against the Jets and Lehner’s knowledge of the Rangers, starting Lehner will give the Blackhawks a better chance of success.

Projected Lineup



Di Giuseppe-Chytil-Kakko