The New York Rangers have a horrible record on March 15. They’ve played 42 times and won only 11 games, so beware the Ides of March. Maybe they need to beware the “first game back after a road trip” letdown.
The Rangers take on a slumping Anaheim Ducks team that is barely clinging to playoff contention. Though they are only four points out of the last wild card spot, they have played more games than any team in the Western Conference and they have won only once in their last six games and have gone 4-10 since the All-Star break. .
It looks like the Ducks are ready to throw in the towel under new GM, former Ranger Pat Verbeek. The Ducks just traded pending UFA defenseman Josh Manson to Colorado for top defense prospect Drew Helleson and a 2023 second round draft pick. The Avalanche didn’t wait to enter the trade deadline waters, picking up the veteran Mason days after they lost Samuel Girard for a month.
Alexandar Georgiev will be in net for the Rangers. You have to wonder if the Rangers are showcasing him as they attempt to make a trade. He does have a lifetime 3-0 record against Anaheim, allowing only four goals for a 1.40 goals against average and .932 save percentage, outstanding numbers.
Trade bait for the Blueshirts
Ranger fans should pay close attention to the play of right winger Rickard Rakell and defenseman Hampus Lindholm, both heading to unrestricted free agencies and potential trade targets. Rakell has 16 goals and 28 points this season while Lindholm has five goals and 22 points and is one of the few Ducks not on the negative side in plus/minus. .
Rakell did not play on Sunday versus the Islanders and is considered day-to-day with an unspecified upper body injury. Conspiracy theorists believe he is being held out of action so he won’t get injured before the trade deadline (see Andrew Copp).
Other pending free agents on the team include tough forward Nicolas Deslauriers who leds the Ducks in penalty minutes and center Sam Carrick.
The last time they played
The Rangers beat the Ducks 4-1 in the second game of a five-game road trip in January. What’s notable is that the Blueshirts allowed the Ducks only 14 shots on goal including only three in the third period. It was a come-from-behind win for the Blueshirts as they had fallen behind 1-0 in the second period.
Three third period goals won the game for the Rangers and they came from, sit down, Jarred Tinordi and two by Ryan Lindgren. Alexandar Georgiev was in net for New York with backup Anthony Stolarz in goal for Anaheim.
Projected starting lineups
It looks like Ryan Reaves will be back in the lineup as the Rangers return to the traditional lineup of 12 forwards and six defensemen. They have won the last two games they used the 11/7 lineup.
As for the walkiing wounded, Coach Gallant said that he doesn’t expect to see Kaapo Kakko or Kevin Rooney on the ice until next week at the earliest.
NEW YORK RANGERS
20 Kreider– 93 Zibanejad –13 Lafrenière
10 Panarin– 16 Strome – 29 Hunt
21 Goodrow– 72 Chytil – 76 Brodzinski
15 Gauthier – 14 McKegg – 75 Reaves
55 Lindgren– 23 Fox
79 Miller – 8 Trouba
12 Nemeth – 45 Schneider
12 Sonny Milano – 46 Trevor Zegras – 28 Vinni Lettieri
44 Max Comtois – 14 Adam Henrique – 19 Troy Terry
38 Derek Grant – 21 Isac Lundestrom – 55 Danny O’Regan
20 Nicolas Deslauriers -39 Sam Carrick – 53 Buddy Robinson
4 Cam Fowler – 92 Andrej Sustr
47 Hampus Lindholm – 34 Jamie Drysdale
86 Simon Benoit – 22 Kevin Shattenkirk
36 John Gibson
41 Anthony Stolarz
Ex-Rangers on the Ducks include Kevin Shattenkirk and Vinni Lettieri along with Danny O’Regan who spent the 2019-20 season in Hartford, but never made it to the Garden.
How to watch and the live conversation
Gametime is 7pm and you can watch locally on the MSG Network and nationally on ESPN+. The radio call with be on ESPN 98.7FM.
The Blue Line Station live conversation is active and you can talk about the game with your fellow Ranger fans. If the last game was any indication, it should be another wild ride. And yes, we know that VInni Lettieri is in the lineup and that means he will come through with a big game against his former teammates.