Vitali Kravtsov looks primed for Rangers lineup return against Senators

Vitali Kravtsov looks primed for Rangers lineup return against Senators

OTTAWA, Ontario — The Vitali Kravtsov experiment is expected to resume.

Kravtsov, who last played nearly three weeks ago, looked primed to be reinserted into the lineup after skating on the right wing of the third line next to Alexis Lafreniere and Ryan Carpenter on Tuesday, according to multiple reports coming out of the Rangers practice in Tarrytown.

Since Vincent Trocheck took a maintenance day, the expectation is that Carpenter will be the healthy scratch and Trocheck will fill that spot in the middle of the third line.

If Kravtsov plays and Carpenter is scratched, Barclay Goodrow will likely center the fourth unit, where the utility forward skated during practice on Tuesday between Sammy Blais and Julien Gauthier.

The Rangers are in need of a change amid a three-game losing skid, which they will carry into Wednesday’s game against the Senators. Kravtsov certainly isn’t the answer to all their problems, but he is overdue for his next shot in the lineup. This is the perfect opportunity for Kravtsov to prove he is capable of making an impact for the Rangers, who are in need of a spark.

Vitali Kravtsov could rejoined the Rangers’ lineup against the Seantors.
USA TODAY Sports

“Just show us your skill,” head coach Gerard Gallant said of his message to Kravtsov. “Show us your talent. Show us your work ethic. We talk about what kind of players we want on our hockey team. We want them to play fast, we want them to play a 200-foot game, be responsible defensively and show us your talent, show us your skill.

Kravtsov, who has been limited to just six games and 52:28 of total ice time, has been scratched in the previous eight games. He’s been healthy for at least half of those contests, but the Russian winger missed the first few due to a tooth infection that turned into a stomach bug, which is just one of the many ailments he’s experienced this season.


The usual pairing of Jacob Trouba and K’Andre Miller did not skate together during practice on Tuesday, according to reports, meaning those two could be separated for just the second game this season and the first that was not influenced by an injury.

“If we decide to do that, it’d be because we want more depth on all pairs,” Gallant said. “We like the way [Adam Fox] and [Ryan Lindgren] are playing, but if we decide to do that, we might bring a little bit more experience to the other two pairs. That’s the only reason.

“They’ve had a tough go, goals against them and all that. But they’re a great pair, they played well together all of last year and this year has been a little bit of a struggle for them.”

Along with Trocheck, Fox took a maintenance day and did not participate in practice. So the pairings were always going to be different, but the fact that Miller primarily lined up with Braden Schneider and Trouba with Zac Jones indicates the two won’t skate together. Lindgren was paired with Libor Hajek, who was likely serving as a placeholder for Fox.

Monday was another tough night for the Miller-Trouba duo, with Trouba committing the turnover that led to the Devils’ game-tying goal in the first period of the Rangers’ loss. Trouba has been battling through an undisclosed injury, which he told The Post has been affecting him.

“No,” Gallant said when asked if he’s considered letting Trouba sit for a game or two to heal. “He takes some practice days off. He wouldn’t allow that. Trust me.”


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