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Rangers-Islanders, not much more needs to be said

April 29, 2021, 5:59 PM ET [1642 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers meet the Islanders for the first of a home-and-home. For the Blueshirts, each game is a must win, while tonight's and Saturday's contests four point events, as the team is battling the Isles for a playoff spot. Win both and the spread is one-point with the Islanders have a game in hand

Jacob Trouba is out tonight, though he is making progress. Chris Kreider, who took a hard spill towards the end of the Buffalo game, missed practice due to a maintenance day. As such, he has to be viewed as questionable for tonight's game. In his place, Vitali Kravtsov moved up a line while PDG - and not - Julien Gauthier skated on the fourth line. Coach David Quinn views PDG as more defensively responsible than Gauthier, while Gauthier can be more of a physical presence. But this is another indication on how Quinn and likely the organization views Gauthier, who will be and could be selected by Seattle, where Ron Francis, who the GM in Carolina when Gauthier was selected, is the current GM,

Laf – Mika – Buch
Panarin – Strome – Blackwell
Kravtsov – Chytil – Kakko
PDG – Rooney – Howden

Between the pipes, Igor Shesterkin gets the nod. Quinn spoke after the morning practice why he made that decision: "You probably could make an argument either way to play either guy. I just felt with the direction Shesty’s game is going and the way he's played over the last six weeks, he's earned this opportunity.""

Not an easy call, since Quinn could have most certainly chosen Georgiev based on his history against the Islanders. Georgiev is 7-2 with a 1.70 against the Isles, Igor is 0-3-1 with a 3.75. Quinn made the call based on how Shesterkin played the last six weeks, though he could have gone with the netminder that has had the most success against this team in his career. We will know by 10pm or so if that was the right decision, but clearly one to chew on.

We saw what happened last game when Trouba was injured, the team was physically dominated. Part of that might have been attributed to losing Trouba, though that is no excuse. The Rangers need to be fully engaged from the opening faceoff and maintain that level of intensity throughout the entire contest. If that happens, then the Blueshirts will have a chance to win. If not, barring Shesterkin standing on his head, the result could be the same as last time, unless the Rangers also dominate on special teams.

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