With the Golden Knights visiting The Garden for tonight’s match, the Rangers will have different lines on Halloween 🎃. Whether it’s enough to save Alain Vigneault remains to be seen.
They have two advantages. Vegas played the night before losing 6-3 to the Islanders in Brooklyn. They are down to their fourth string goalie due to Oscar Dansk going down yesterday. Maxime Lagace made his first appearance allowing four goals on 11 shots. He has mostly spent time in the ECHL and AHL. This is his first career start.
The Golden Knights are on a five-game road trip. They are 8-2-0 so far. Having gotten contributions throughout a balanced attack featuring James Neal, Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, David Perron and Nate Schmidt, they do it by committee with a exciting style under coach Gerard Gallant. Everyone contributes.
There are a couple of things to look for. The Rangers’ start and how Lagace performs. Vegas can capitalize on turnovers. The home team must manage the puck better.
With it being a potential do or die game, Vigneault went back to familiar combos that started the season. That feels like a century ago. Here they are:
So Pavel Buchnevich is reunited with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider on the first line. Kevin Hayes anchors Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello. David Desharnais centers Jimmy Vesey and J.T. Miller. Boo Nieves will be between Michael Grabner and Jesper Fast.
Ryan McDonagh stays with Brendan Smith. Brady Skjei works with Kevin Shattenkirk and Marc Staal plays with Steven Kampfer. On paper, it could work. Nick Holden takes a seat. With Henrik Lundqvist starting, everything seems to point to the Rangers.
But we know better. If they don’t win, something will happen. Either Vigneault losing his job or a trade.