Vitali Kravtsov may have played himself out of a Rangers lineup spot

2 days ago 7

Rangers caput manager Gerard Gallant said helium ever tells his players: “Make maine play you. Make maine support you successful the lineup.”

It appears Vitali Kravtsov has fallen abbreviated of that nonsubjective recently.

Kravtsov looks primed to beryllium a steadfast scratch Wednesday nighttime against the Maple Leafs aft helium had played successful 17 consecutive games, which is acold and distant the astir helium has skated successful in a enactment this season. Part of that is owed to his injury-riddled commencement to the season, portion the different portion has been coaching decisions. The call-up Tuesday of Will Cuylle could borderline Kravtsov retired of the lineup again.

“He’s been fine,” Gallant said aft signifier successful Tarrytown connected Tuesday. “But again, he’s not a fourth-line player. When Cuylle comes up, whether it’s Kravy coming retired oregon [Julien] Gauthier coming out, Kravy did OK, he’s played OK. But he’s not built for a 4th line. He’s built to play successful a top-nine position. If we determine that’s thing that’s going to shingle down tomorrow, past we’ll see. He’s been fine, I privation he’d people more, I privation he’d decorativeness much checks and worldly similar that.”

RangersVitali Kravtsov skates for the Rangers against the Panthers connected Jan, 23.NHL via Getty Images

In the 6-2 triumph implicit the Panthers connected Monday, Kravtsov skated connected the 4th enactment for the sixth clip this season. He has started successful the bottommost six a full of 13 times, portion flanking 1 of the apical 2 units 14 times. The play has been a mixed container for Kravtsov, who has 1 extremity successful his erstwhile 14 games and conscionable six points successful 27 contests.

Kravtsov has had constricted crystal clip erstwhile he’s connected the 3rd and 4th lines. The Russian helping besides has been incapable to marque an interaction with the opportunities helium has been afforded.

Despite playing successful those 17 consecutive games, Kravtsov said helium inactive feels the aforesaid mode with respect to settling into the manner of an mundane NHLer.

“It’s for definite amended than the opening of the season, but still, I privation immoderate more,” helium told The Post.

It’s evident that Kravtsov’s accomplishment acceptable is amended suited for a top-six role, oregon astatine slightest a top-nine role. The play of different young players, specified arsenic Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere, however, has made it hard for Gallant to marque country for Kravtsov connected the archetypal 3 lines. Also affecting his clip has been the steadiness of guys specified arsenic Barclay Goodrow and Jimmy Vesey.

Kravtsov said helium doesn’t spot himself arsenic a subordinate who shouldn’t beryllium playing connected 1 enactment oregon should beryllium playing connected another. Wherever helium skates, helium said, helium conscionable wants to play the champion hockey helium can.

“Just absorption connected each shift, and conscionable don’t deliberation astir the adjacent shift,” helium said. “I don’t person that overmuch crystal time, but it is what it is.”

The Rangers volition look the Maple Leafs connected Wednesday nighttime successful Toronto earlier they instrumentality connected the Golden Knights connected Friday successful their past matchup earlier the All-Star break. They’re expected to instrumentality to signifier connected Feb. 5 successful mentation for the Flames’ accomplishment astatine the Garden the pursuing night.