Game #62: Florida Panthers vs New York Rangers Open Thread

The stage is set for one of the marquee matchups of the 2023-24 regular season. The Florida Panthers, the defending Eastern Conference champions and current Presidents’ Trophy frontrunners, are in town to take in the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Rangers under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden. The Rangers and Panthers are the only teams in the East, and two of only three in the NHL, to have already reached the 40 win mark.

Tonight also serves as the final game for the Blueshirts before Friday’s trade deadline. The homestand will continue on Saturday against the St. Louis Blues, but tonight will likely be the final time residents of Rangerstown see this exact iteration of the team. Regardless, the matchup serves as a measuring stick game for both the Rangers and Panthers as well as a potential Eastern Conference Final preview. The Blueshirts will look to shake off Saturday’s shootout loss in Toronto and send a message to a fellow Stanley Cup contender with a strong effort tonight.

Player to Watch: Matt Rempe

All good things must come to an end. Rempe-mania began a fortnight and a day ago, and has taken the hockey world by storm. However, for all the hype Rempe has generated through his physicality, his on-ice deployment suggests that Peter Laviolette doesn’t trust him to play big minutes quite yet. That’s a reasonable stance given Rempe’s lackluster AHL production prior to his recall.

The Rangers have been rumored to be in the trade market for a forward or two in the trade deadline lead up, and one forward acquisition is likely all that would be needed for Rempe to end up back in Hartford. Tonight is more than likely Rempe’s final NHL game for the time being, so keep an eye on him as he looks to give the MSG faithful one final show before returning to the insurance capital of the world before the next game on Saturday.

Enjoy the game!