Rangers gearing up for ‘tall task’ in Florida swing

The Rangers have an opportunity to make a statement with their two-game trip to Florida.

For a season that has so far been plagued with inconsistency, the Blueshirts will be able to measure themselves against two opponents they’ve already seen this season, the Lightning and the Panthers, when they travel to the Sunshine State.

When the Rangers defeated Tampa Bay 4-1 on Oct. 29, it was considered one of their most complete games of the season. And in falling 6-5 in a shootout loss to the Panthers three days ago, the team seemingly endured another setback. Now, the Rangers have a chance to back up a dominant victory against the Lightning and prove that they can make adjustments after a disappointing loss to the Panthers.

“We’ve got a tall task in front of us, these are two very good teams,” coach David Quinn said. “Florida, to me, is as dangerous a team as there is in this league. I think their depth up-front is real, I like their D-corps and I like their goaltending. They’re a very good hockey team. Obviously, Tampa, too.

“This is a true test, not that we haven’t had true tests before. But as we’ve been going along and gaining points and winning hockey games, it’s another challenge for us and another opportunity for us to grow as a team. Continue to move forward.”

Chris Kreider said he believes every game is a good measuring stick, alluding to how many good teams there are in the league and in the Metropolitan Division. But he agreed that the Rangers played very different games against the Lightning and Panthers.

Against Tampa Bay, Kreider thought the team had a “body-first, puck-second” mentality and were competitive while “working off the puck.” However, he expects the Lightning to raise their game after having a tough night at Madison Square Garden.

“Structure [was missing against the Panthers],” Kreider said. “It was a run-and-gun. Talk to anyone who watched the game and they’d say it was an exciting game, but it was kind of sloppy by both teams. When there’s that many chances and that many goals, it’s because there’s a lot of defensive lapses and mental breakdowns that lead to chances for and against. It’s just about tightening up our game and playing more like we did against Tampa.”


Jesper Fast did not participate in practice Wednesday due to personal reasons, but Quinn expects him to be in the lineup Thursday.


Mika Zibanejad is expected to miss his eighth and ninth consecutive contests of the season as he continues to nurse an upper-body injury.

Quinn ruled out Zibanejad for the trip a few days ago but mentioned there have been no setbacks. Zibanejad’s prolonged absence stems from a brutal hit he took from the Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron on Oct. 27.

“There’s good progress,” said Quinn, who noted Zibanejad skated Wednesday before practice. “He is skating. There is progress. We’re optimistic that he’s going in the right direction. I’ve been saying this for a few weeks, but he’s day-to-day.”

Follow 3-www.NET
Follow
e-News.US
  
Share
e-News.Us



Category Latest Posts