Tonight, the Rangers host the Flyers at 33rd and Seventh Avenue. It’s the fifth installment of six exhibition games.
Henrik Lundqvist is expected to get the start and go the whole way. A welcome change. He can use the extra work as preseason winds down. The roster is currently at 31 including promising KHL import Igor Shesterkin, who’ll have backup duty later.
Filip Chytil has been shifted back to the right wing. It’s where he had most of his success last season. He isn’t ready to become a full-time center. However, he’s only 20 and can still excel on the right side where there are less defensive responsibilities.
Coach David Quinn will get a closer look by having Chytil play on the first line with impressive rookie Vitali Kravtsov, who notched his first goal in the 3-1 victory the other night. Mika Zibanejad will center the two young forwards.
Based on the lines posted by the Rangers on Twitter, fans will also get to see the new second line. Ryan Strome will be between Chris Kreider and Kaapo Kakko. While some fans don’t want to see Strome as the second center, it’ll likely be this way for now until someone grabs that spot. Kravtsov has played center before, doing so for Russia at last year’s WJC. He did a nice job, but that was against players his age.
Here are the projected lines, which include a mind numbing third pair of Brady Skjei and secret weapon Brendan Smith. Relax. It’s preseason. I know it MATTAHS! Tony DeAngelo gets his first action pairing up with Marc Staal.
Lias Andersson will center a interesting third line with Brendan Lemieux and Vladislav Namestnikov. In the likely candidates who’ll get sent down, Boo Nieves anchors Greg McKegg and Vinni Lettieri. Nieves and McKegg are still in the mix for the extra forward. I would lean more towards the veteran McKegg if they decide Kravtsov is better off getting more ice time in Hartford. He is a solid energizer, who’ll had a similar role with the Hurricanes.
Well, the game starts in an hour. Follow me on Twitter @BattleOfHudson. I’ll tweet some stuff. Maybe not overboard because you know. Preseason!