Rangers bring out the tough guys to face Winnipeg at MSG

McIlrath debuts tonight(Adam Hunger – USA TODAY Sports)

McIlrath debuts tonight(Adam Hunger – USA TODAY Sports)

“I’m looking to make the most of this opportunity”, were the words of Dylan McIlrath yesterday. He will make his season debut tonight for Dan Boyle and it comes at the right time and against the right opponent.

Winnipeg Jets at New York Rangers 7PM

Last season, the Jets were 2nd in the league in penalty minutes and had 32 fighting majors. In contrast, the Rangers finished 24th in PIM with only 20 fighting majors. Both teams come into tonight’s contest with not one fight under their belts…that will most likely change.

McIlrath will look to play a smart game first and foremost, but he needs to bring an element no other Rangers’ blue-liner does if he wants to stick. He needs to clear the crease and throw the fists should the need arise.

[su_quote cite=”NY POST” url=”https://nypost.com/2015/10/12/rangers-dylan-mcilrath-gets-his-shot-to-replace-dan-boyle/”]“We’re going into game four, and I want to get a look at Dylan,” Vigneault said. “He had a real good camp, as everybody knows, and playing against a team that is a little bigger. … I think ‘Boyler’ can play a little bit better than he’s played, but at the end of the day it probably had a little bit more to do with I wanted to see Dylan, so I decided to make that change.”[/su_quote]

Tanner Glass will also remain in the lineup for Jesper Fast, who played a lackluster 2 games to start the season. While in the long run, Fast is the better player, it appears at least for now that Glass is the better 4th line fit.

Henrik Lundqvist is confirmed to start and it is off to a great start this season. The Jets lost to the Islanders yesterday and will look to rebound. Should the Rangers jump out in front early, as I expect them to do so, the fists should fly.

On offense, Oscar Lindberg is red hot but I expect tonight to be a show for the top two lines and the power play. This game will probably have a bit of nastiness in it and I expect Keith Yandle to benefit from that on the man-advantage.

FullTilt Forecast: NYR win 4-0.

FTNYR 3 Burning Questions

How will McIlrath perform tonight?

Since the Rangers have last change, I expect McIlrath to be facing the Jets’ 3rd and 4th line for most of the game. He should be able to handle what they bring with his size and improved skating.

A successful night for him would be an even or plus rating. For it to be a standout performance, he needs to be a physical force in his own zone. Winning battles on the boards and clear any Jet from the crease is what I want to see.

A bad night would be trying to jump into the play offensively and getting burned. Play smart Dylan and you could see more action this week.

Are the Rangers going to have a let down tonight?

Considering that AV really chewed out his defense for the sloppy their play against Columbus, the answer is yes. If not for the incredible acrobatic goaltending of Lundqvist, it could have been a very different game.

However, the Jets are a physical team that will probably try and intimidate the Rangers which will only play into their hands. I expect a better Rangers team tonight, one that is much sharper on defense.

When will Chris Kreider score?

Tonight! Engrave it in stone.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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