New York Rangers need a strong showing versus Devils after ‘unacceptable’ loss

Tonight, the New York Rangers take on the New Jersey Devils in their second to last preseason game as their opening night lineup starts to take shape. After what head coach Peter Laviolette deemed an “unacceptable” performance, the Rangers should come out looking to change the narrative. Heading into tonight’s contest with a 1-3-0 exhibition record, the Blueshirts would certainly like to take down their Hudson River rivals.

The Devils enter the matchup undefeated in the preseason with a record of 5-0-0. It will be their final game of exhibition play where they will look to keep their streak alive with most of their opening night lineup in place.

While the Devils appear in mid-season form, there’s some concern surrounding the Rangers’ play and lineup, that tonight’s game should serve as a way to start answering those questions.

One guarantee is that Laviolette is expecting much more from his team in this contest. He was openly displeased with the Ranger’s play on Saturday night. “That’s not who we are or who we wanna be,” is what the head coach had to say following the game.

Expect to see a closer resemblance to the opening night roster when the puck drops at the Prudential Center. “We haven’t really had our group out there as a team, which is why we’ll finish these last two games with a heavy look of what might possibly be there for the opener,” Laviolette said after Tuesday’s practice.

Update: Per multiple reports, tonight’s lineup vs NJ:

  • Panarin – Zibanejad – Kakko
  • Kreider – Trocheck – Wheeler
  • Cuylle – Goodrow – Pitlick
  • Vesey – Bonino – Othmann
  • Miller – Trouba
  • Gustafsson – Fox
  • Lindgren – Schneider
  • Quick
  • Garande

Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:

  • Date/Time: October 4, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Prudential Center
  • TV: MSG, MSGSN, NHL Network
  • Radio: TBD

Note: Subject to change, updated for each game

Related: NYR Storylines with 1 week left of Training Camp

New York Rangers vs New Jersey Devils

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

An area of improvement that Rangers fans are desperately waiting on is special teams. More specifically, the powerplay. The Rangers spent quite a bit of time working their special teams in practice as they have yet to score a goal on the man-advantage through four preseason games. “Now that (the roster) has trimmed down to 25, we’re at a point where we can work on the powerplay, the penalty kill, the 3-on-3, the 4-on-4, more systems, bring it into these last two games,” Laviolette explained.

The powerplay lines at practice per multipe reports yesterday were as follows:

1st unit – Kreider-Trocheck-Zibanejad-Panarin-Fox

2nd unit – Cuylle-Wheeler-Kakko-Lindgren-Miller

Expect these to be the units deployed in tonight’s matchup, as Laviolette is still searching for some chemistry amongst the special teams.

Will Cuylle and Brennan Othmann should get another chance to impress tonight. With Alexis Lafreniere and Johnny Brodzinski skating as the extras in yesterday’s practice, it likely means that we will get to see these young prospects continue to plead their case. They have been excellent throughout camp thus far. Keep in mind that two out of the three of Cuylle, Othmann, and Brodzinski will probably be sent down to the AHL in order to trim the roster down, so this battle will be closely watched.

Center Filip Chytil still remains out with an upper-body injury. He has been skating on his own, a promising sign for the Rangers. He is still listed as day-to-day. It is unlikely that he see’s any action in tonight’s contest as well as tomorrow’s game against the Boston Bruins, however, Laviolette is still hopeful that he will be ready to go for the season opener.

In net, expect Jonathan Quick to play the majority of the game, if not the full 60 minutes with Igor Shesterkin to close the preseason out at the Garden tomorrow versus Boston. Laviolette had previously mentioned his desire to play Shesterkin and Quick in a “full game capacity” toward the end of the preseason. Dylan Garand was recalled yesterday, but this is most likely for depth purposes as the Rangers begin the back-to-back contests. He will serve primarily as a backup.

Check back in for updates leading up to puck drop.

Dane Walsh is a life-long fan of the New York Rangers. Growing up in the tri-state area, Dane has... More about Dane Walsh

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