The Rangers are coming off a comeback win against the Blues thanks in part to new line combinations assembled in the third period. Our own Tom Dionara wrote in favor of keeping the kids on the top line, and wouldn’t you know it, Gerard Gallant seems to feel the same. Sort of.
#NYR top 9 looks like this:— Mollie Walker (@MollieeWalkerr) December 7, 2022
Fourth line featured Kravtsov, Gauthier, Carpenter and Blais. One of whom will be scratched.
A follow up Tweet by Mollie Walker noted that Kravtsov, Carpenter, and Harpur were “doing the bag skate,” suggesting that they might be scratched in favor of recent call up Jonny Brodzinski. Personally, I don’t need to see any more Barclay Goodrow in the top six, especially at the expense of Kravtsov. The young winger hasn’t exactly made himself irreplaceable, but he obviously has some upside. Goodrow is what he is, a useful, if overpaid, bottom-six forward who would look better on the fourth line than Brodzinski does.
Still, Kakko and Lafrenière receiving more top six minutes is only a positive. Kakko in particular has been rock solid in every aspect of the game except finishing. His season actually reminds me a lot of his fellow top pick Jack Hughes. Hughes was a positive influence on the ice with a maddening inability to convert chances into goals, until he suddenly figured how to finish last season. It would be swell if Kakko is on a similar trajectory.
The opponent tonight is Vegas. After another offseason maneuvering around their self-inflicted cap issues that included dumping Max Pacioretty in exchange for literally nothing and losing incumbent goalie Robin Lehner to injury, the Golden Knights have been the best team in the west.
The return to form corresponds mostly to a return to health, as having full, healthy seasons from Jack Eichel and Mark Stone is a damn good place to start. That said, Eichel missed Vegas’s last game, but that didn’t stop them from snapping Boston’s 14-game home winning streak. The star center’s status did not practice this morning, indicating he will miss tonight’s game as well. Alex Pietrangelo will also miss another game for the Golden Knights.
Knights lines/pairs this morning:— Ben Gotz (@BenSGotz) December 7, 2022
The Golden Knights are a good team down some good player, and the Rangers have tweaked up the lines. What happens remains to be seen, and we will all see what happens at 10:00 p.m. tonight.