Rangers tweak lineups ahead of visit to Montreal

Field Level Media
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Mar 2, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers right wing Patrick Kane (88) warms up before the game at Madison Square Garden.
Mar 2, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers right wing Patrick Kane (88) warms up before the game at Madison Square Garden.
Image: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

A hectic few weeks highlighted by Patrick Kane being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks left few opportunities for the New York Rangers to get in some practice time.

When the Rangers reconvened after two days off for Kane's first practices with his new team, they unveiled some adjustments to their power-play alignment.


The Rangers get their first chance at seeing how the new configuration works Thursday night when they visit the Montreal Canadiens.

New York is 2-5-1 in its past eight games and dropped Kane's first two contests after making several roster moves to create enough cap space for the 34-year-old. So far, Kane has taken six shots on goal in about 41 minutes through his first two games, a 5-3 home loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday and a 4-2 road loss to the league-leading Boston Bruins two days later.


In Kane's debut the Rangers held a one-goal lead into the third period and Saturday they allowed two goals in a span of 3:44 late in the third. After falling at Boston, the Rangers took two days off before reconvening Tuesday and Wednesday for some much-needed practice time.

The Rangers practiced after playing their past three games with only five defensemen due to injury and salary cap reasons. New York also practiced with normal lines after playing the previous two games with 11 forwards.

New York was short-handed because K'Andre Miller finished his three-game suspension for spitting on Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty on Feb. 26. The Rangers may also get defenseman Ryan Lindgren back from missing four games with an upper-body injury sustained on a hit by Washington's T.J. Oshie on Feb. 25.

Whoever is in the lineup, the Rangers will likely unveil some new power-play combinations. One unit will feature Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Vladimir Tarasenko, Flip Chytil and Jacob Trouba. Kane will join a unit with Artemi Panarin, Vincent Trocheck, Alexis Lafreniere and Adam Fox.


"We were hoping it was going to go real smooth the first two games," New York coach Gerard Gallant told reporters at practice. "It didn't, so we'll try to adjust a little bit."

During the past eight games, New York's power play is 5-for-27 (18.5 percent). Before their slump, the Rangers were 8-0-1 and their man advantage was 7-for-20 (35 percent).


Montreal heads into Thursday on a four-game losing streak (0-3-1), with each loss being decided by one goal. The Canadiens took a 4-3 shootout loss to the visiting Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday when it squandered a two-goal lead and allowed the tying goal with under four minutes left in regulation but also left coach Martin St. Louis encouraged by their showing after playing eight of the previous nine on the road.

"It was an exciting game, I didn't even play and I'm tired," St. Louis said. "It shows where we are as a group. We're able to play with anyone."


Alex Belzile and Mike Hoffman scored in the first period before Michael Pezzetta tallied early in the second. Montreal also went 0-for-4 on the power play and is 2-for-23 on the man advantage over its past nine contests.

Montreal's upcoming performances may also impact the playoff races. Of its remaining 17 games, 15 are against teams with winning records. The Canadiens already earned a 2-1 win at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 15 after taking a 4-1 home loss to the Rangers on Jan. 5.


Unlike the January meetings with the Rangers, 10 players will likely remain sidelined for Thursday, including Kirby Dach and Cole Caufield who both scored in the previous meeting.

--Field Level Media