The New York Rangers won’t be playing another home game for at least the next week and a half. Over 14 days between their latest games in front of the home crowd can frustrate specific teams and ultimately lead to their downfall.
Not the Rangers though.
After a four-day lay-off, New York is back in action Thursday night to begin their west coast swing against the Seattle Kraken. The team is more than excited and prepared for this next stretch of the schedule.
“It’s nice but we have a lot of travel to do.” Julien Gauthier told AMNY on Tuesday. “We have to keep a good routine going to fit the practice and make sure have a good trip and get a lot of points.”
Seattle is the first of a four-game series out west. The Kraken are much improved from their inaugural season and sit at 8-5-3. While the Rangers are one of the most talented teams in the league, a four-day lay-off in between games could mean that the team comes out flat to begin a long road trip.
New York has gotten ahead of those concerns.
“I think it’s important to come out one or two days early to prepare for the time change and prepare for it, get your sleep right and practice another day there.” Gauthier later added.
The Blueshirts left for Seattle after Tuesday’s practice which meant, as Gauthier said, the team would have multiple days to get their legs ready for a trip out west. New York’s head coach was also not too worried about the inevitable time difference.
“I’m not concerned about that at all. You need your breaks during the season and it was a good time for this break for us.” the coach said after practice.
The Rangers have won two of their last three games with their offense showing more consistency. Their defense has also been greatly improved as of late. Part of that reason is the help of fourth-line wingers like Gauthier who have helped stabilize the Rangers’ attack.
“Sometimes you can get some bad bounces and it’s not going your way but it’s really hard to beat someone that never gives up,” Gauthier explained. “Eventually these are going to start going in and you’re going to start rolling”
Gauthier has recorded two goals and an assist in nine games played for New York this season. Since being called up from Hartford due to injuries to a number of forwards, the former first-round pick has made the most of his chances.
While the Rangers’ coaching staff has repeatedly said scoring wasn’t a main focus for the bottom six lines, Gauthier has added a new element to his fourth-line group that is playing much better over the last few weeks.
They’ll need to continue that success Thursday night against a Kraken team that is looking to take the league by storm in just their second season of existence.
For more New York Rangers news, turn to AMNY.com