Rangers: 3 keys to beating the Flames

New York Rangers left wing Alexis Lafreniere (13) and left wing Artemi Panarin (10) celebrate after Panarin scored a goal against the Seattle Kraken during the first period at Climate Pledge Arena
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are set to face off against the Calgary Flames tomorrow night at 9:45 EST as the Blueshirts begin their annual Western Canada road trip. This four-game stretch will begin tomorrow following the Rangers’ previous road victory against Seattle.

This road trip will not be an easy task for New York. The Flames are currently 2-3-1 heading into the contest, but they still possess a handful of elite players that the Blueshirts must be sure to not underestimate. If all goes well and everyone on the Rangers performs, the Blueshirts could very well aim to get their fourth win of the year.

1. The kids continue to produce for the Rangers

Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil, and Kaapo Kakko are notoriously known as the “kids” by fans. But with all three earning top-six roles this season, that name doesn’t exactly fit anymore. Each of the kids are expected to have major breakout seasons this year, and the Rangers’ success will be greatly affected by how they perform.

In the first four games of the season, all three kids were not performing at their expected level. Lafreniere’s sole point came as the Rangers’ first goal of the season, and Chytil’s was an assist on that same goal. Kakko also only had one point to his name, which came as an assist.

In game number five against the Seattle Kraken, the kids proved that they were ready to get things going. Lafreniere scored again, Kakko had his first goal of the year, and Chytil tallied a whopping three assists.

Per The Hockey News, the Rangers’ victory over Seattle improved the Blueshirts’ record to 22-0-2 when all three kids recorded a point. If the Rangers want to guarantee a win over Calgary, the kids must continue to score.

2. The Rangers must build momentum from their previous victory

So far this season, the Rangers have alternated wins and losses throughout the first five games played. If this pattern continues, then the Blueshirts are projected to be handed another loss tomorrow night and fall back to a .500 record.

The start of the Western Canada road trip is the perfect opportunity to break this trend and remain in the win column. The Rangers must start to create win streaks at some point soon if they intend on remaining as contenders later in the season.

Their previous victory against Seattle was a dominant win, and their elite performance can be used as momentum to send the Rangers to another victory tomorrow.

3. Shesterkin bounces back following defeat to Nashville

Igor Shesterkin is the backbone of this Rangers team, as he remains one of the best goaltenders in the world. While the Rangers are coming off a 4-1 victory over Seattle heading into Calgary, Shesterkin was not between the pipes for that win. Jonathan Quick had earned his first victory with the Blueshirts in an elite return following a subpar preseason.

Shesterkin’s last appearance came in the fourth game of the year, which resulted in a 4-1 loss to Nashville. The loss is not to be blamed on Shesterkin, but he is lacking that momentum that the Rangers will be looking to build upon. Although it isn’t confirmed which goalie will be starting tomorrow night, the odds of Quick starting a second game in a row are slim to none.

Shesterkin has never seemed to have his confidence shaken, but he’ll need to forget about a disappointing defeat heading into Calgary. A confident Igor who is looking for vengeance will pose an almost unbeatable threat to the Flames’ offense.