ST. LOUIS – Most players don’t like to talk about whatever personal goals they set for themselves, but second-year Rangers forward Alexis Lafreniere didn’t mind admitting that getting to 20 goals this season is a plateau he’d like to reach.
"I mean, I would love it for sure,’’ Lafreniere said at Thursday’s morning skate before the Rangers faced the Blues in the third game of their four-game trip. "But that's not something that I really set goals on for, the amount of goals or points.’’
Lafreniere, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft, entered Thursday with 13 goals and five assists in 55 games. So he’d need seven in the final 27 games to reach 20. Playing on the top line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, that doesn’t seem unreasonable.
But the 20-year-old said he’s not focused on the number.
"I think it's much more about how you play, and that's really what I focus on,’’ he said. "I try to create chances offensively and be responsible defensively. That's really my focus right now.’’
Making the switch from left wing to right wing was a big deal for Lafreniere, but after 12 games playing on the right side with Kreider and Zibanejad, he said he’s ready to think of himself as a right wing now.
"Every game I feel more comfortable,’’ he said. "It's obviously easier to play with guys like Kreids and Mika because they're so good in their end too. So sometimes I still go to the left side and Kreids kind of reminds me to go right. But it's all good. And as of right now I feel good as the right winger.’’
F Morgan Barron and D Libor Hajek were the two Rangers scratches. For Barron, it was his third straight game as a scratch. Hajek sat out for the second straight game.