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Rangers kick off season in the U.S. Nation's Capital

October 13, 2021, 3:19 PM ET [284 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers kick off their 2021-22 season in Washington as they take on the Capitals. An offseason of change continued basically to the door step of Game 1, as expected and unexpected moves have been the hallmark of this organization since the 2020-21 season ended. For at least a few minutes tonight, we get to focus on the action on - and not off - the ice, at least until the first mistake happens by a player we wish was not in the lineup.

Lineup tonight

Lines are the same as yesterday's practice, same as we expected it to be. Julien Gauthier is the extra forward, and a strong game by all tonight might mean he sits again tomorrow, though I could see him in for Ryan Reaves. Jarred Tinordi in for Nils Lundkvist, who should be opposite Patrick Nemeth against Dallas on Thursday. No starting goalie has been named but my money is on Igor Shesterkin. Plus, i would double down and play him against the Stars if he has a good game tonight.

The Vitali Kravtsov story continues to resonate with the fan base. For now, New York needs to let some time pass, let cooler heads hopefully prevail and not make a rash decision even if a deal presents itself. Both sides are at fault to varying degrees, as I wrote yesterday. A good start to the season and game by Sammy Blais and Barclay Goodrow will help assuage some of the annoyance factor. I still think Filip Chytil needs a skilled, scoring winger opposite him, but this trio looked solid in limited time and Chytil is coming a hat trick to end the preseason Saturday.

Henrik Lundqvist to appear on MSG Network for 20 games this season. Lundqvist spoke about stepping away for a while, but good to see him back with the team - or at least broadcast crew - in some capacity. I have to hope he tells a few Steve Valiquette stories just to see his reaction.

Praise and criticism for the on-ice product starts tonight. New York has a tough task on the road, even though Washington will be without Nicklas Backstrom and could be without Alex Ovechkin. Of course, all eyes will be on Tom Wilson, as well as Reaves, but hopefully, they focus on the win with the Wilson piece the side show and not the main attraction.

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