New York Rangers are in the desert for a matinee against the Arizona Coyotes

Oct 16, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Arizona Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller (9) and center Nick
Oct 16, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Arizona Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller (9) and center Nick / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

A big win in Denver has the New York Rangers feeling good. With the playoffs clinched and the magic number to win the east down to just 11 points, the Rangers will be looking to assert themselves against one of the bottom feeders in league with the Arizona Coyotes providing the opposition. Needs to be another two points tonight, and the Rangers will move into pole position to win the Eastern Conference and have home ice through to the finals, should they progress that far.

After Ryan Lindgren made his victorious return in Colorado, the Rangers blueline got some much needed reinforcements. We're still waiting to see if either of Erik Gustafsson or Jacob Trouba are able to return to the lineup in the coming days as both are dealing with their own ailments. If the Rangers are able to continue to succeed in their absence, they can build their lead at the top of the NHL standings.

When the Rangers take to the ice today, they will be doing so in a unique situation. Mullett Arena is a college arena with a capacity of 4,600 people. It's incredibly small by NHL standards. This unique factor needs to be something the Rangers ignore. Already prone to slow starts, letting the situation overwhelm the team early could put the Blueshirts in a hole. It's better for all of us if the Rangers start early, and put the foot on the throat of the desert dogs.

Projected Lineups

New York Rangers

Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Jack Roslovic
Artemi Panarin - Vincent Trocheck - Alexis Lafreniere
Jonny Brodzinski - Alexander Wennberg - Kaapo Kakko
Will Cuylle - Barclay Goodrow - Jimmy Vesey
Ryan Lindgren - Adam Fox
K'Andre Miller - Braden Schneider
Zac Jones - Chad Ruhwedel
Igor Shesterkin
Jonathan Quick

Arizona Coyotes

Clayton Keller - Nick Bjugstad - Nick Schmaltz
Lawson Crouse - Logan Cooley - Dylan Guenther
Matias Maccelli - Jack McBain - Josh Doan
Liam O'Brien - Alex Kerfoot - Michael Carcone
J.J. Moser - Sean Durzi
Juuso Valimaki - Michael Kesselring
Travis Dermott - Josh Brown
Karel Vejmelka
Connor Ingram

Puck Drop

Today's game will start at a weird time as it is a 6 p.m. puck drop Eastern. It's a matinee from the desert. Anything less than two points tonight will not be good enough, especially with the upcoming difficulty in the schedule for the Rangers. This is a team they should beat and a team they need to overcome. It doesn't have to be pretty, it just has to result in two points in the standings.