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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, October 3rd (All times Eastern)

New York Rangers (0-0-0) at Phoenix Coyotes (0-0-0), 10 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers and head coach Alain Vigneault have plenty of time to work out the kinks before making their season debut in front of the home crowd.

The Rangers begin the Vigneault era with a season-opening nine-game road trip, starting on Thursday night versus the Phoenix Coyotes.

New York begins the season on the road for the sixth straight campaign as it won't play its first home game until Oct. 28. The Rangers lost their season opener in Boston to begin the lockout-shortened campaign before playing five of their next six at home.

It will be quite some time before the Blueshirts return to Madison Square Garden, though it will give Vigneault some time to take a polished product home with him.

"I think it's going to be good for our team in the sense that it should give myself and my staff and management a real good read on our group, where we are now and where we need to improve as we move forward," said Vigneault.

"There's not a road way and a home way to play. There's one way to play and that's the right way. That's what we're going to try and do."

Vigneault begins his first season as New York's head coach, replacing John Tortorella, who coincidentally took over for Vigneault in Vancouver. Vigneault got the Canucks to the playoffs in six of his seven years with the club, a run that included six division titles, back-to-back Presidents Trophies in 2010-11 and 2011-12, and a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011.

Vigneault takes over a Rangers club that has been to the playoffs in three straight and in seven of the last eight seasons, but also one that struggled on the power play a season ago. Under new direction, New York is likely to engage in more of an up-tempo style than the defense-first style under Tortorella.

That should bode well for forwards Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Derek Stepan.

Nash led the Rangers with 21 goals and was second with 42 points in his first season with the club after being acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Stepan led the team with 44 points and was a holdout for much of camp before finally agreeing to a new deal on Sept. 26.

When Stepan returned, Richards moved from his natural center spot to left wing in the hopes of sparking his game.

New York will have to survive this road trip without the speedy Carl Hagelin, who is on injured reserve due to offseason shoulder surgery. Captain Ryan Callahan also had a procedure on his shoulder over the summer and won't play tonight, but could return by this weekend.

The Rangers have a superb top-four at the blue line with the presence of Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal and Michael Del Zotto and had one of the top goaltenders in Henrik Lundqvist.

Lundqvist, a five-time Vezina Trophy finalist and one-time winner, went 24-16-3 with a 2.05 goals against average and .926 save percentage in 2013.

The Coyotes will play their first regular season game under new management, finally being sold after having been owned and operated by the league since 2009. That should give Phoenix some stability it has not had in some time, though the club still managed to make the playoffs in three straight years before a 10th-place finish to the lockout-shortened campaign.

With an increased ability to spend, the Coyotes inked center Mike Ribeiro to a four-year contract and he'll play on the top line with captain Shane Doan and forward Mikkel Boedker.

Ribeiro had 49 points in 48 games with the Washington Capitals last season, finishing fifth in the league with 36 assists. He is looking forward to opening the season with his new club.

"You want to show them what you can do, show your teammates and the city that you're here for a reason -- to show up every night and help the team win," said Ribeiro.

Offense from the back end is one key to Phoenix's game. Keith Yandle led the club with 30 points off 10 goals and 20 assists last year, while Oliver Ekman- Larsson had 24 points.

Goaltender Mike Smith begins the season with a new six-year contract after going 15-12-5 with a 2.58 GAA in only 34 games last year due to injury. However, he was coming off an excellent 2011-12 campaign in which he had gone 38-18-10 with a 2.21 GAA, .930 save percentage and eight shutouts.

Phoenix is without defenseman Rostislav Klesla due to a concussion, while forward Paul Bissonnette will miss the first three games due to a suspension for his role in a preseason fight with the Los Angeles Kings on Sept. 15.

Bissonnette was originally banned for 10 games after is was ruled he had left the bench to join the altercation, but had the suspension reduced after a hearing.

Phoenix will hit the road for five straight after this contest and has won each of its last five season openers that have been played at home.

The Rangers have won three straight and eight of their last 10 versus the Coyotes, taking both meetings in 2011-12. The clubs did not meet last season.

New York has won three of its last four in Phoenix.

10/03 14:31:09 ET

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Schedule

Friday, April 18Full Scoreboard
Montreal «4Final | Box
Tampa Bay1Rink Replay
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Montreal leads series, 2-0.
Detroit «1Final | Box
Boston0Rink Replay
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One. Detroit leads series, 1-0.
Dallas2Final | Box
Anaheim «3Rink Replay
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Anaheim leads series, 2-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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    Tonight at 7:05 on 99.9 The Fan

  • MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox

    Tomorrow at 7:05 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 0
DUR 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
Final
CHC 1
CIN 4
Final
PIT 3
MIL 5
Final
WAS 3
STL 1
Final
CLE 2
TOR 3
Final
DET 6
ANA 11
Final
NYM 0
ATL 6
Final
BOS 4
BAL 8
Final
TAM 11
NYY 5
Final
MIA 8
SEA 4
Final
TEX 12
CWS 0
Final
KAN 5
MIN 0
Final
COL 12
PHI 1
Final
OAK 11
HOU 3
Final
LOS 2
ARI 4
Final
SDP 2
SFG 1
1:05pm Today
WAS
STL
 
1:05pm Today
CLE
TOR
 
1:08pm Today
DET
ANA
 
1:35pm Today
BOS
BAL
 
2:10pm Today
KAN
MIN
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
CIN
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
HOU
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
MIL
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
ATL
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
SEA
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
CWS
 
8:10pm Tonight
LOS
ARI
 
8:10pm Tonight
COL
PHI
 
8:40pm Tonight
SDP
SFG
 
12:30pm Today
TOR
BRK
3:30pm Today
LAC
GSW
7:00pm Tonight
IND
ATL
9:30pm Tonight
OKC
MEM
Final
TAM 1
MON 4
Final
BOS 0
DET 1
Final
ANA 3
DAL 2
3:00pm Today
STL
CHI
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
CLB
9:30pm Tonight
COL
MIN
Final
NOR 0
DUR 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR