Tonight the New York Rangers open their 2013 preseason schedule against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. This will be the first of six road preseason games for the Rangers at Madison Square Garden is finishing up its final stage of renovations.
The first group will consist of some familiar faces, and one familiar face trying to reestablish himself as a core player for the Rangers, and that is defenseman Stu Bickel. Bickel, we remember for always being liked by Tortorella, and always seemingly finding a spot to play in, where no one (fans especially) wanted to see him in. So far during training camp, new head coach Alain Vigneault liked what he has seen, and wants to see how it translate in game action, telling Andrew Gross of the Record:
That’s what will find out. I like what I’ve seen so far, he’s tested real well. He’s anxious and he’s willing, that’s why we have these six exhibition games to sort that out and to put players in the best possible places so we can win as many games as we can.
Vigneault is also putting prized prospect, and second year rookie Chris Kreider up to the task as he’ll skate on a line with Brad Richards and Rick Nash. Another player who has surprised Vigneault during the early stages of training camp:
I think it’s a combination of that (what Kreider has shown so far in training camp) and the reality is he’s one of the Rangers’ high end prospects. Size, skill, we want to give him every opportunity to show what he can do. By putting him with Brad and Rick, we’re certainly showing our hand a little bit here that you’re getting a good opportunity, let’s see what you can do.
We can also expect the debut of Henrik Lundqivst tonight, as he is expected to split time with Cam Talbot. I expect both to play at least a period and a half. It’ll be real interesting to see how Talbot manages as he is expected to start backing up Lundqvist next season, after the contracts of Hedberg/Biron whoever is the decided back up is announced at the end of the preseason.
The other group of players (and goaltenders), I would all but assume see action tomorrow night against Philadelphia. It is until after that game, prior to the two western Canada games, will we see any more cuts being made, and the slow transition of a full roster being made.
As of this time, the Devils have not announced a lineup. All that was mentioned is that Cory Schneider will be in the net, and play roughly two periods.
New York Rangers (0-0-0) vs. New Jersey Devils (0-0-0)
Prudential Center – Newark, NJ | 7:00PM EST Game Start
Rangers Projected Lines:
C. Kreider – B. Richards – R. Nash
M. Hrivik – B. Boyle – D. Kristo
B. Mashinter – D. Moore – S. O’Donnell
R. Bourque – D. Powe – A. Asham
M. Staal – M. Del Zotto
J. Moore – S. Bickel
J. Falk – A. Johnson
H. Lundqvist – C. Talbot
Rangers Next Five Games (All shown on MSG):
Sept. 17: @ Philadelphia
Sept. 23: @ Calgary
Sept. 24: @ Edmonton
Sept. 26: @ Vancouver
Sept. 27: @ Los Angeles (Game in Las Vegas )