New York Rangers Look to Become First Team Through to Round to Ahead of Game Four

Apr 26, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Erik Gustafsson
Apr 26, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Erik Gustafsson / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Can the New York Rangers become the first team to punch their ticket to round two? With the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning staving off elimination last night, there is a chance for the Blueshirts to complete the sweep and be well-rested for the eventual second-round match-up, which will seemingly be with the Carolina Hurricanes. A win tonight will confirm the Blueshirts' participation in the fray and chaos of round two without needing to go further against Washington. 

The Capitals are down yet another defenseman tonight. Trevor van Riemsdyk has been ruled out after he took a big hit from Matt Rempe. He didn't return to the game after the hit, and fans of the Capitals have not appreciated Rempe's antics in this series despite the league and the referees having no problem with what Rempe did. We will see fights as retribution for this. 

As for the Rangers, the question mark tonight remains Filip Chytil. He's with the team and in Washington but hasn't played since he tried to lay a hit on Jesper Fast early in the season and started to deal with a concussion. It's still unclear if or when he'll return to the roster, but it's always good to hear positive news about a player dealing with concussions like Chytil. 

Projected Lineups

New York Rangers

Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Jack Roslovic
Artemi Panarin - Vincent Trocheck - Alexis Lafreniere
Will Cuylle - Alex Wennberg - Kaapo Kakko
Jimmy Vesey - Barclay Goodrow - Matt Rempe
Ryan Lindgren - Adam Fox
K'Andre Miller - Braden Schneider
Erik Gustafsson - Jacob Trouba
Igor Shesterkin
Jonathan Quick

Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin - Connor McMichael - T.J. Oshie
Aliaksei Protas - Dylan Strome - Tom Wilson
Max Pacioretty - Hendrix Lapierre - Sonny Milano
Beck Malenstyn - Nick Dowd - Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Martin Fehervary - John Carlson
Rasmus Sandin - Nick Jensen
Alexander Alexeyev - Dylan McIlrath
Charlie Lindgren
Darcy Kuemper

Puck Drop 

This 8 p.m. puck drop from the capital will hopefully end the series as the Rangers look to put the dagger into Washington. With defensive reinforcements coming for the Capitals, it will be difficult to kill them off tonight. Still, a win would mean the Rangers can rest up and reintegrate Filip Chytil and Blake Wheeler into the squad without risking more injuries. It's a chance for the Rangers to give themselves an advantage going into the second round, with Carolina having to play another game at least and the Islanders needing three more wins.