After sleepwalking through the season opener en route to a 4-0 defeat against the Islanders two nights ago, the Rangers will get another chance to defeat their divisional rivals. Coach David Quinn has opted for a major shakeup in forward lines and defensive combinations:
Correction on those lines...— Vince Z. Mercogliano (@vzmercogliano) January 15, 2021
Kreider - Mika - Buch
Panarin - Strome - Laf
PDG - Chytil - Kakko
Lemieux - Howden - Gauthier
Looks like Lafrenière may be moving into the top 6 at RW. #NYR https://t.co/pNCF4mPXEx
While the top forward line remains unchanged, the rest of the lineup has been put into the blender. Alexis Lafrenière has moved from third line left winger to the right side second line, and Kaapo Kakko and Julien Gauthier have both been bumped down the lineup. As far as defense and goaltending, Alexandar Georgiev will be making his first start of the season, and Tony DeAngelo will be watching tonight’s action from the press box. Brendan Smith will draw into the lineup and make his season debut in his place.
Player to Watch: Jack Johnson
Although some fans and analysts thought Johnson struggled in his Broadway debut, coach Quinn liked what he saw out of the rugged rearguard on Thursday night. Johnson was third among defenseman in time on ice two nights ago, so look for him to be even more involved and set an example as to how to play Jacques Martin’s defensive system.
Enjoy the game!