6:30 PM: Gerard Gallant was on The Michael Kay show and said some of the following (YES):
- Are you surprised how well you have done, “yes and no, to be honest with you. Coming to the team, I didn’t know the team real well, once you get here and the people tell you how strong the goaltending is and Foxy and all the top end players, they are probably better players than I thought they were last year. We’ve been fortunate to be pretty healthy for the most part, knock on wood, haven’t been hit by Covid real hard like some teams. I think a lot of things have gone well for us, but to be honest with you, I think we are taking a step and our young players are playing really well and starting to grow their game. I think everything is coming together for us. Can we be as good as the good teams? Yes, I think we are. The guys feel like that right now, we will see where it goes, but everybody feels we are a real good team.”
- What was the turning point for Georgiev, “it’s always tough on the so-called backup goalie because he wasn’t getting a whole lot playing time early in the season because Shesterkin was so good and he was dominant and then Shesterkin goes down for 2-3 weeks and Georgie gets to play back-t0-back games and 4/5 games out of six and played really well. When Benny Allaire talked to me about the goaltending, he was very confident in those guys and they’ve been outstanding. It was really tough on Georgiev early on because he was playing one game and having ten days off and then another and it’s not easy, it’s part of our game and the way it is and he responded real good to it.”
- On winning without Panarin, “We talk about our young kids all the time, Lafreniere usually played 12-13 minutes per night and now with the extra added ice time he has played very good hockey and taken a big step and he’s confident out there. Sometimes those kids don’t get as much ice time as they are used to in junior or college hockey and it takes them a little while. The last three games Laffy has been very good playing more minutes and really happy for him.”
- How much have Goodrow and Reaves meant, “it’s always good to have the toughness and character guys that they are. You don’t have to use it or need it very often, but you know it’s on your bench and other teams know it’s on our bench, also. There isn’t a whole lot of that in hockey nowadays, but both of those guys have been a big boost to our team. We go out and play a hard, physical game and that is what we want to play and those guys provide a lot of that to us.”
- Does this team need to make a move to make a run, “I’m happy with what we got right now, who knows what will happen until the trade deadline, I don’t know, that’s not my department. My job is to go out there with the players I got and make the best of it and I’m happy with our group and how we are playing and competing. I’m not saying Dru is not going to do nothing or management is not going to do nothing, I don’t know, but I like our group.”
- Would you like to see more from Chytil, “It’s another young guy. They have their ups and downs during the season and Fil is a good player, a big guy, I’d love to see him get some goals and assists for his own confidence, not necessarily for the team, but for his own confidence to get him going a little bit. We think he can be a real good player but sometimes you gotta get the ice time. It’s the same thing with Lafreniere, when they get some more time, but I’m battling developing kids and winning hockey games and winning hockey games comes first for us right now. Fil gets caught in those scenarios sometimes where he doesn’t get as much ice time as he’d like.”
- Any shot of Panarin on this road trip, “I think so, I sure hope so. It’s Covid protocol, so I don’t know when, but we fully expect him to be here sometime, we sure hope that, if he’s feeling good.”
4 PM: The Rangers announced today that Jarred Tinordi has cleared Covid Protocol and that Patrik Nemeth has been “added to non-roster status with a non-Covid issue.” (NYR)
The lines being used at practice today were (Stephenson):
- Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Kaapo Kakko
- Alexis Lafrenire, Ryan Strome, Barclay Goodrow
- Dryden Hunt, Filip Chytil, Julien Gauthier
- Kevin Rooney, Greg McKegg, Ryan Reaves
K’Andre Miller had an inconslusive test yesterday but was cleared today and is joining the team in Vegas.
The Rangers announced yesterday that Matthew Robertson was sent from the Taxi Squad to Hartford and Tarmo Reunanen was called up to the Taxi Squad.