Vladislav Namestnikov New York Rangers
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Friday marks five days since the New York Rangers last played a game and the team is getting set to return to the ice Saturday vs. Florida. 

Dom Renna

The New York Rangers are getting closer and closer to returning to game action.

Not having played a game since Sunday, Dec. 2, the team has spent the week practicing while head coach David Quinn tries to fix the issues that plagued the team a week ago. That meant some line changes along with some key players returning to the Blueshirts’ lineup that were not here a week ago.

It all starts with some line changes, here are what the new combinations Quinn came up with look like:

  • Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Kevin Hayes
  • Jimmy Vesey-Ryan Strome-Filip Chytil
  • Vladislav Namestnikov-Brett Howden-Jesper Fast
  • Steven Fogarty-Lias Andersson-Matt Beleskey

And on defense:

  • Marc Staal-Neal Pionk
  • Fredrik Claesson-Kevin Shattenkirk
  • Brady Skjei-Tony DeAngelo

After saying there was a chance injured Mats Zuccarello could return to the lineup this weekend, Zuccarello was rotating with Jimmy Vesey on the team’s second line. He has not played a game since Nov. 23.

The major difference on the Blueshirts lines is the apparent return of Vladislav Namestnikov, who had been going through concussion protocol a week ago. Prior to the injury, Namestnikov had been quietly playing some of his best hockey in a Blueshirt. He and the team hope he can replicate that upon returning to the lineup.

Matt Beleskey was recalled Thursday night with Pavel Buchnevich already being declared out on this current road trip. Beleskey appeared in just one game prior to being assigned to Hartford.

The Rangers finally return to action Saturday night when they take on the Florida Panthers. This will be the third time the two teams faced off against each other, the prior two meetings resulted in 5-2 and 4-2 Blueshirt wins at Madison Square Garden.

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Dominick is a graduate of Canisius College. He has covered the Rangers for the last seven seasons and the Yankees for the last four.