Get ready for some late night hockey this weekend as the Rangers kick off a western weekend trip in Arizona to take on the Coyotes and old friends Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta. The Rangers are coming into the game a bit uneven to start 2018 with a thrilling OT win against the Buffalo Sabres in the Winter Classic and following that up with a really lackluster regulation loss against the Chicago Blackhawks at MSG. The Blueshirts will to try and right the ship a bit against one of the worst teams in the league in the Coyotes with some changes in the line combinations.
With no Staal, #NYR lines:— Matt Calamia (@MattCalamia) January 5, 2018
Miller - Zibanejad - Buchnevich
Grabner - Hayes - Zuccarello
Vesey - Desharnais- Nash
Carey - Nieves - Fast
Smith - Shattenkirk (Kampfer rotated)
Skjei - Lettieri
The good here? Pavel Buchnevich and Mika Zibanejad are back together after being seperated for no real reason and will play along side J.T. Miller which should be a fun trio to watch. Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello should combine for the prettiest of passes that will never, ever lead to a shot on goal.
The bad? Rick Nash is saddled with carrying Jimmy Vesey and David Desharnais around and Kevin Hayes still has Michael Grabner attached to his hip and the defense is...well...the defense.
Expect Hank to be between the pipes tonight and it will be interesting to see if AV goes with Pavelec tomorrow or if he forgets that the Rangers have two goaltenders and plays Lundqvist both games this weekend.
Update: Zuccarello is out sick tonight, so Vinni Lettieri draws back into the lineup.
With Zuccarello out, #NYR lines are:— John Giannone (@jaygeemsg) January 6, 2018
Same defense as Wednesday. Henrik Lundqvist in goal. Rangers have beaten Coyotes in 8 straight by a combined 35-16
Jesper Fast moves up to Zuccarello's place in the lineup, while Lettieri fills in for Fast on the fourth line.