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Resilient Rangers relish shot to topple Kings
While the New York Rangers await the return of their leading point scorer the past two seasons, Artemi Panarin, they have not lost any steam.
The Rangers have won four of their past five heading into Monday's road game against the Los Angeles Kings.
New York hasn't had Panarin in the lineup the past four games, and he was still trying to clear the NHL's COVID-19 protocol as of Sunday.
Other players have stepped up on the offensive end, however.
Ryan Lindgren produced the first-multi goal game of his NHL career when he scored twice in a 4-1 win at the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night, doubling his goal total on the season.
Jarred Tinordi scored the go-ahead goal in the win over Anaheim, his first of the season and just the second goal in 108 NHL games.
"I guess it's a little extra special when guys who don't score often, do a good job defensively and may not get so much credit on offense, they get to score," said Mika Zibanejad, who scored the other goal for the Rangers on Saturday. "That's fun, especially when they're important goals."
The Kings are feeling confident as well after beating the Detroit Red Wings 4-0 on Saturday night in Los Angeles for their third win in the past four games.
"We're building a good thing right now," said Phillip Danault, who has four points for Los Angeles in the past three games (two goals, two assists). "We've just got to bring it every game."
The Kings came out blazing against the Red Wings, taking 27 shots on goal in the first period to tie the franchise record for the most in a period.
Kings coach Todd McLellan didn't give the team the day off after its one-sided win against Detroit. Instead, he hoped to clean up some of the smaller mistakes that Los Angeles won't get away with against the Rangers.
"(Sunday) is another test in practice," McLellan said on Saturday night. "Won't be long, but there will be some things we'll need against a good Rangers team."
Kings forward Dustin Brown will be looking for the 700th point of his NHL career, and Adrian Kempe is one goal shy of his career high of 16 set in the 2017-18 season.
The Rangers can move past the Carolina Hurricanes and into first place in the Metropolitan Division by earning at least a point against the Kings.
Whether they have Panarin back or not, the Rangers will likely need to continue relying on some of their younger and less experienced players, especially up front.
Ryan Reaves and Julien Gauthier are also in COVID-19 protocol, and Dryden Hunt sustained an upper-body injury in the opener of the five-game road trip on Thursday against the Vegas Golden Knights and was placed on injured reserve.
Lindgren said the Rangers just need to maintain the course they established in Anaheim.
"I think we play our best when we play simple, cycle the puck, go low to high and get pucks to the net," Lindgren said. "That's winning hockey for us."
--Field Level Media
Updated January 9, 2022