When the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals last met for New York’s home finale last season, tensions were through the roof. Tom Wilson had run amok the previous game, injuring Artemiy Panarin and knocking him out for the remainder of the season. A line brawl kicked off the festivities immediately after the opening faceoff, and three more happened within the first five minutes of game action.
Whether that game was the breaking point for what transpired over the offseason will never truly be known, but the Blueshirts underwent an offseason makeover to become a heavier team. Now the heaviest team in the NHL, Gerard Gallant will look to use tonight’s contest as a way for his team to establish their identity in his first game behind New York’s bench.
Player to Watch: Ryan Reaves
After an injury scare left his status up in the air for tonight’s contest, Reaves will make his Broadway debut tonight skating alongside Kevin Rooney and Sammy Blais on the Blueshirts’ 4th line. While the rest of New York’s offseason moves can be attributed to a desire to be generally play against, acquiring Reaves from the Vegas Golden Knights is one directly targeted to combat players of Wilson’s ilk.
#NYR morning skate lines:
We will find out starting goalie in warmups
— Mollie Walker (@MollieeWalkerr) October 13, 2021
Reaves and Wilson have history, as Reaves attempted to antagonize Wilson for the five games of the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals, which ended with Wilson taking laps with the Stanley Cup around Reaves’ building when the final horn sounded. With Wilson skating alongside the offensively dynamic duo of Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, one can only hope New York’s 4th line doesn’t get struggle to keep up with them.
Enjoy the game!