Vitaly Kravtsov skated for the first time on Wednesday morning after suffering an unknown lower body injury during the first period of Friday’s match in New Jersey. The winger, however, was not in the lineup for the rematch at the Garden.
But, according to head coach Gerard Gallant, the number 74’s chances should not be negatively impacted to secure a spot on the starting roster. After Wednesday night’s matchup with the Devils, the Rangers have another exhibition match – against the Islanders in Bridgeport on Saturday – remaining before the season begins on October 13 in Washington.
“It’s not just from training camp,” Gallant said of the 21-year-old. “He’s been here for a while, the organization knows him well. I don’t know him that well, but hopefully he’ll be able to get into the next game.
Kravtsov, the ninth-overall pick of the 2018 Entry Draft, who played last season’s final 20 games, looked to be first on the spot in the right wing with left winger Barkley Goodrow and center Filip Chitill on the third line. But Julian Gauthier has stepped in as a substitute and is looking good in his trial run.
“We’ll have to see… we’ll see where it goes,” Gallant said as to whether that spot is now up for grabs. “That’s training camp.” “Gauthier has played well, he’s playing with them again” [against the Devils]. He certainly had a good campsite. We’ll take it one day at a time.”
With the addition of Jared Tinordi for Patrick Nemeth as the third pair’s left defenseman, and Gauthier instead of Kravtsov, Rangers are going with the lineup that will face the Capitals next Wednesday.
And indeed, if the blueshirts choose to go with their biggest lineup in Washington, Tinordi could get the assignment.
Nemeth, Zack Jones, Libor Hajek, Morgan Barone, Dryden Hunt and Kravtsov were scratches against New Jersey. Rangers have three cuts to reach the 23-player roster maximum.
Igor Shesterkin is set to go the distance against the Devils, with Alex Georgiev set to play the full game on Saturday.
Shesterkin allowed five goals on 32 shots in 61:42 for 4.86 GAA and .844 save PCT. Georgiev scored six goals in 40 shots in 72:44 for 4.95 GAA and .850 save PCT.
It clearly won’t work.
Morgan Geertsson, the 26-year-old winger whom the Devils claimed an exemption from Rangers on Sunday, is in the lineup for New Jersey.