The Rangers look to end their four-game losing streak as they host the Arizona Coyotes at MSG tonight.
Jesper Fast will skate on the top line with Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin with David Quinn saying, “he compliments them well right now, he gives them an honest effort, create a little space for them, create a little bit of defensive honesty for them. We will see how it goes.”
The rest of the lines starting tonight’s game are:
- Chris Kreider, Brett Howden, Kaapo Kakko
- Brendan Lemieux, Ryan Strome, Pavel Buchnevich
- McKegg/Haley, Lias Andersson, Brendan Smith
It’s likely that Greg McKegg will come back into the lineup, for Haley, after sitting the past two games.
The Coyotes, 4-2-1, have won three in a row, earned points in five straight and feature former Rangers Derek Stepan, Anti Raanta and Michael Grabner.
Stepan has 1 goal and 3 assists in 7 games while centering the top-line with Phil Kessel and Clayton Keller.
Grabner has 1 goal in 7 games while skating on the Coyotes fourth line.
Raanta is the backup to Darcy Kuemper and is 1-0-1 this season. Kuemper is expected to start against Alex Georgiev in net.
Tonight is slated to be the first time that Stepan will play against the Rangers with both Tony DeAngelo and Lias Andersson in the lineup.
Stepan and Raanta were traded by the Rangers to Arizona for DeAngelo and the 7th overall pick in 2017, which the Rangers used on Andersson.
Tonight is the second in a five-game homestand for the Rangers.
Adam Rotter: Tonight is about seeing which version of the Rangers show up: the Rangers from the first 35 minutes on Sunday, the Rangers from the third period or some mixture of the two? They may not be able to reproduce everything they did in the third period against Vancouver but they can definitely reproduce the mentality, battle level and effort. That, more than anything, is what they need for as close to 60 minutes as possible. The Coyotes are riding a good streak, Phil Kessel is getting going and Darcy Kuemper is having a really solid start to the season. They are a nice test for the Rangers and their new top line with Jesper Fast. Fast embodies what the Rangers need more of throughout the lineup so hopefully he can click with Panarin and Zibanejad and set the example for the rest of the lineup. One area, other than in most puck battles, where the Rangers have been losing consistently has been in special teams. The PP stopped scoring and the PK has been struggling, which then amplifies everything else going wrong. There is a lot the Rangers can improve upon to end this losing streak but it all starts with defensive structure, forechecking and winning battles.