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SQF: Game 2: Rangers look to even their play-in series at one, Hank in net

August 3, 2020, 6:48 AM ET [454 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers practiced Sunday to wash away Game 1 and prepare for Game 2. The status of those questionable for Monday's contest was only mildly cleared up. Lots of questions remain, and while Game 2, by virtue of it not being an elimination contest isn't a must win, it's pretty darn close.

Game preview:

David Quinn and Brendan Smith/Jacob Trouba post-practice:

Jesper Fast is definitely out Game 2. That is the only price of concrete news we know. As we saw Saturday, not having Fast has a big impact on the lineup. Who slides into the lineup in Fast's place as well as who takes his place on the second line is not yet 100 percent set in stone.

From listening to Quinn, Kaapo Kakko, who has been strong since training camp 2.0 started and was good in Game 1, looks to be the likely candidate to move up to play with Artemiy Panarin and Ryan Strome. Sliding up to the third line in place of Kakko should be Julien Gauthier, who also played well Saturday. not yet clear is who fills in on the fourth line. If the team;s offensive is struggling, I wouldn't be shocked if Filip Chytil, who also was good in Game 1, swaps spots with Ryan Strome on the second. In addition, Mika Zibanejad and Tony DeAngelo did not practice, but both are expected to suit up Monday. 

Both Steven Fogarty and Vitali Kravtsov skated on right wing in practice Sunday. My gut says Fogarty, as he fits the fourth line profile, since he can play a defensive style but chip in slightly offensively. If Quinn was gutsy and willing to play Kravtsov on the third line, since he would be wasted on the fourth line, as he needs top-nine minutes to be effective, then he might get in. I view that as a potential option for Game 3, if New York is down two games to none. 

Igor Shesterkin, who was ruled unfit to play just before Saturday's game, is a game-time decision again tomorrow. My gut is that Henrik Lundqvist is between the pipes again. Nothing specifically tangible but just ready tone and body language, my guess is that Igor sits again with Hank in net.

New York needs a much better effort to start the game Monday. In addition, as I wrote yesterday and Quinn stated again, they need to be physical but not reckless. Take the hits to make plays but don't try for hits that leave them out of position. The pace, especially on the power play, has to be quicker and sharper. Much more urgency in all three zones, but especially offensively to take advantage of Carolina's aggressiveness on the forecheck. Make them pay for that style of play.

I will be back with lineup updates in this blog before Game 2. Get a win and even the series.  Let's Go Rangers!!!

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