Rangers vs Bruins preview, Igor to start & live conversation

The New York Rangers play their second afternoon game of the season and hope to improve their record to 2-0 in matinees.  They are also trying to break a losing streak in the annual NHL Thanksgiving Showdown.  For some reason, the Rangers have played in six of the eight game since they started in 2011 and all six have been on the road.

They have beaten the Flyers twice and lost once.  The other three games were in Boston and the Rangers have lost all three.  The last one, in 2019, went to overtime and  the Bruins won on a David Krejci goal.

It’s nice to get the national showcase, but it would be nice to he the hometeam just once.

The Rangers go into the game with a better record than the Bruins as the B’s have gotten off to a 10-6-0 start.  Boston is currently two points out of the wild card, but their 16 games played is the fewest in the Eastern Conference.

The Bruins were 6-5-0 on November 11 and since then they have won four of five, but against weaker competition (New Jersey, Philadelphia, Montreal and Buffalo) while they were shut out by the Flames.

The Rangers have yet to lose to a team that is currently below the in the standings and this will be a good test for the Blueshirts.  Boston is 6-2 at home, but the Rangers have an excellent 7-3-2 road record.

The Blueshirts have done well in day games with a 7-3 record over this season and last.  They haven’t fared as well on national television going 13-20-2 over the last three seasons.  The season opener was on TNT and they lost that game to the Capitals.

The Rangers practiced on Thanksgiving Day, getting ready for this match up.  It looks like the team will stay with the revamped forward lines.  Kaapo Kakko was able to contribute an assist on the fourth Ranger goal by Chris Kreider and 5v5 that trio had four scoring chances while trying six shots.  Dryden Hunt on the Strome line didn’t fare as well.  That line  had no scoring chances versus five for the Islanders and had only two shot attempts.

That said, because the teams played almost a third of the game on the power play  or killing penalties, ice time was limited for the complete lines.  The new Zibanejad line played 7:18 and the Strome line played 9:54.   Compare that to the Buffalo game when Strome/Panarin/Kakko played almost 14 minutes together.  We’ll see how much time they give the new lines to gel.

So far, no further discipline for J.G. Pageau for his high hit on Ryan Lindgren.  Coach Gerard Gallant’s description of the play was “I thought he went at him with a pretty good shoulder to the head.”  At this point, it looks like the alleged Department of Player Safety is not taking any action, especially since they already announced three fines for players from games on Wednesday, for slashing, unsportsmanlike conduct and a cross check.

Projected lineups

Igor Shesterkin will be getting the start.   Lifetime, the Bruins are another team that Shesterkin hasn’t fared well against with a 1-3 record, a .893 Sv% and 3.35 Goals Against Average (GAA).  Alexandar Georgiev  has been a little better with a 2-3-1 record, a .903 Sv% and a 3.23  GAA.

NEW YORK RANGERS

20 Kreider – 93 Zibanejad – 24 Kakko
10 Panarin – 16 Strome – 29 Hunt
13 Lafrenière– 72 Chytil– 15 Gauthier
17 Rooney –  21 Goodrow– 75 Reaves

55 Lindgren – 23 Fox
79 Miller – 8 Trouba
12 Nemeth – 27 Lundkvist

31 Shesterkin
40 Georgiev

BOSTON BRUINS

63 Brad Marchand – 37 Patrice Bergeron – 88 David Pastrnak
71 Taylor Hall – 13 Charlie Coyle – 17 Nick Foligno
74 Jake DeBrusk – 56 Erik Haula – 12 Craig Smith
81 Anton Blidh – 92 Tomas Nosek – 20 Curtis Lazar

48 Matt Grzelcyk – 73 Charlie McAvoy
28 Derek Forbort – 25 Brandon Carlo
6 Mike Reilly – 67 Jakub Zboril

1 Jeremy Swayman
35 Linus Ullmark

The Bruins are healthy with only Trent Frederic out of the lineup.  Jeremy Swayman will be getting the start. The rookie netminder is 6-3-0 this season with a 2.23 GAA and .914 Sv%, splitting duties with Linus Ullmark.

In his only start against the Rangers on May 6, he pitched a 4-0 shutout.  It was the second to last game of the season for New York and they mustered only  15 shots on Swayman. It was a depleted Rangers lineup that played without Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba, Chris Kreider, Ryan Lindgren and Pavel Buchnevich.

How to watch

Game time is 1pm and considering it is ABC’s first telecast, it will probably start a little late.   This is the first  hockey game for ABC since Game Seven of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final between Tampa and Calgary.   The radio call will be on ESPN 98.7 FM.

As usual Blue Line Station will be hosting its live in-game conversation using the comments feature below. We’ve had some issues with the comments refreshing and are working on that, so please bear with us. One workaround is to change how the comments sort from “newest” to “oldest” and back to “newest” again.

Join the conversation and share your thoughts with your fellow Ranger fans as see if the Blueshirts can break this post-Thanksgiving losing tradition.