Rangers look to continue momentum against New Jersey following long break

New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) during the first period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are wrapping up their bye week and will hit the ice on Saturday for the first time since November 12th. The Blueshirts will take on the New Jersey Devils, their divisional rivals that eliminated the Rangers from the postseason last year.

This is the first time this season that the Rangers will face off against the Devils. The two teams met twice in the preseason, and New Jersey managed to secure victories in both matchups. Both teams entered the season as likely candidates to win the Metropolitan Division, but the Rangers are off to an early lead.

The Rangers seem to be getting some key players back from injury

Per Colin Stephenson, the Rangers saw some familiar faces back on the ice at practice on Friday. Igor Shesterkin and Jonathan Quick shared the goal crease, and Ryan Lindgren was skating once again. Although unconfirmed, it’s likely that all three will return to the lineup on Saturday at full health.

Filip Chytil was not seen practicing as he continues to deal with the fourth concussion of his young career. At just 24 years old, Chytil’s career could be in serious jeopardy due to the amount of head trauma he’s experienced in such a short time span. He’s a key member of this Rangers team, and fans must hope he fully recovers.

Despite poor news on the Chytil front, it’s a great sign to see Shesterkin, Quick, and Lindgren back on the ice. Shesterkin will most likely get the start in net, and the defensive lines should return to normal tomorrow night against New Jersey.

Panarin is looking to make history with an incredible point streak

Rangers’ star forward Artemi Panarin is entering this matchup riding a 14-game point streak. He’s managed to record at least one point in every game so far this season, totaling eight goals and 16 assists for 24 points in that span.

Panarin’s 14-game point streak is tied with Rangers’ legend Rod Gilbert for the longest streak to start a season. This matchup with the Devils will give Panarin the chance to break that record and extend his point-scoring streak to 15 consecutive games. He’s had a Hart-caliber season so far, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he makes history against the Devils.

The Devils are dealing with quite a few key injuries themselves

While the Rangers are seeing some of their injured players return to the lineup, the Devils will still be without some of their key players. Both Nico Hischier and Timo Meier, two elite forwards, are ruled out against the Blueshirts.

Per the NHL, superstar Jack Hughes is a game-time decision for the Devils. He’s missed New Jersey’s last five games due to injury but recently began practicing with the team again. Hughes is an incredible forward who has the skills to light up the scoreboard, so for the Rangers’ sake, fans should hope that the Devils choose to let him rest up one more game.

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