New York Rangers playing with experimental lines for next two preseason games

vitali kravtsov
May 5, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Vitek Vanecek #41 of the Washington Capitals blocks the net against Vitali Kravtsov #74 of the New York Rangers during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers will be taking on the NJ Devils tonight and the Boston Bruins tomorrow. Head coach Gerard Gallant told the media that these next two games will be about experimenting with some different line combinations and defense pairs.

Then in the final two preseason games, we will be privy to what the opening night roster will look like. Let’s see what is on tap for tonight.

New York Rangers experimental lines against Devils

Line 1: Kreider-Zibanejad-Kravtsov

This one is a little interesting and is more about seeing what Kravtsov can do in a top six position. In his first taste of preseason action, Vitali was on a line with Goodrow and Chytil, but it was all thrown out of whack once Goodrow was sent off for a 5-minute major.

Line 2: Goodrow-Chytil-Gauthier

It looks like Gallant is committed to pairing Goodrow with Chytil. A little crash to go with some flash. Gauthier is being given a similar look as Kravtsov. Only difference here is in Gauthier’s situation, he’s probably being showcased for a trade.

Sammy Blais
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 28: Sammy Blais #91 of the New York Rangers skates against the Boston Bruins in a preseason game at Madison Square Garden on September 28, 2021 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Bruins 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Bottoms six: Hunt-McKegg-Blais and Geertsen-Barron-Pajuniemi

So far, in two preseason games these lines have been experimental and it continues here. What is a little eyebrow raising is Barron on a 4th line instead of McKegg. Maybe the Rangers just wanted to keep him paired with Development camp linemate Pajuniemi. Either way, Barron has an uphill battle for the 4th line C with Kevin Rooney looking like a lock.

Defense 1: Miller-Trouba

A lock to start on opening night.

Defense 2: Tinordi-Lundkvist

This one is certainly interesting, but I believe Patrik Nemeth is a lock to be the third LD this season and Lundkvist his partner. My guess is this is more for Tinordi to win that 7th D spot.

Defense 3: Jones-Schneider

Zac Jones has been excellent and would likely make a lot of other NHL defenses. He could be knocking on the door, but with Miller, Lindgren, and Nemeth locked in on the left side it doesn’t make sense for Jones to sit on the bench. He and Schneider will be the top pair down and Hartford.

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