The Petes come into town on a two-game winning streak and are 12 points out of the final playoff spot in the OHL's eastern conference.
Kitchener is undefeated this year and sits fifth in the OHL's western conference, just three points out of seventh.
Meanwhile, a couple OHL teams made a trade today in advance of the Jan. 10th deadline. Niagara picked up former first rounder Jordan Maletta from Windsor for a conditional 2nd round pick in 2014 and a conditional 6th round pick in 2016.
Maletta is a St. Catharines lad who has 12 points in 36 games so far this season.
In talking to the Rangers, I was told they are planning on making more than one move before the deadline. At last check, as mentioned a few days ago, the feeling around the league is that teams are waiting for the NHL to sort itself out.
Too many teams are afraid of acquiring NHL ready talent, only to lose them if the labour dispute ends.
The Rangers have said all season long that they intend to be buyers. That may change when they see what they can get for some of their star players.
Opposing team officials say goalie John Gibson would fetch a lot. And that was before his world junior championship performance. I'm told London isn't sold on its goaltending and, one OHL front office staffer said, Gibson could command a package that includes one of Brett Welychka or Kevin Raine, Jacob Jammes, a second rounder and a third or fourth round pick.
Not saying that is in place, just trying to give an idea of what some of those making the deals feel Gibson is worth.
Also, there is no indication the Rangers are trying to trade Gibson as they are in no rush to rid themselves of a goalie who could steal a game, or even a series, in the playoffs.
Either way, it's a good problem to have if you're the Rangers.
Darby Llewellyn-Domenic Alberga-Eric Ming
Ben Thomson-Matia Marcantuoni-Nick Czinder
Brent Pedersen-Josh Sterk-Justin Bailey
Keli Grant-Curtis Meighan-Matt Schmalz
Evan McEneny-Ben Fanelli
Cory Genovese-Max Iafrate
Jared Gilbert-Owen Stewart
Franky Palazzese (7-5-1-4) starts.
Greg Betzold-Alan Quine-Stephen Nosad
Jonatan Tanus-Brett Findlay-Francis Menard
Josh Maguire-Stephen Pierog-Derek Mathers
Slater Koekkoek-Steve Trojanovic
Connor Boland-Brandon Devlin
Steven Varga-Clark Seymour
Andrew D'Agostini (4-12-1-1) starts.
- Just talked to Matt Puempel. He remains day to day and said he'll be back "sooner rather than later." He has his shoulder reassessed today and will not need surgery.
- As mentioned before, the Kitchener Rangers sure keep it interesting. Down 3-2 with about three minutes to go and big Nick Czinder ties it up before the club wins in a shootout.
- Czinder has taken a lot of heat for his slow start but he is cooking now. Even before collecting five points in the past two games, he was making a difference up front with his physical play.
- First shootout win in the past four tries for Franky Palazzese. He said he has been studying video to improve.
- Peterborough's Derek Mathers is a beast. Not many make Cory Genovese look ordinary in a fight but Mathers, at 6-foot-3, 231 pounds and 19-years-old, did just that. Genovese's face was pretty swollen after the game. Credit the kid for remaining in the game. I'd be on the couch after that one.
- Two points for Czinder, Ben Thomson and Evan McEneny.
- Interesting three to send out to the shootout in Eric Ming, Brent Pedersen and Keli Grant. Coach Paul Fixter knows what he's doing as all three scored.
- Thought the 95-line was a bit invisible tonight after a good showing in Owen Sound.
- Kitchener is 4-0-1-5 when tied after two periods.
- A win for the home fans was nice. But equally as good was the spirited effort. It was relieving to see the Rangers play with more emotion at home for a change. Some big goals and big fights by Genovese and Max Iafrate.
- Petes' goalie Andrew D'Agostini made 45 saves. He also gave up some juicy rebounds.
JB's top three Rangers: Nick Czinder, Ben Thomson, Franky Palazzese