What to look for as the Rangers play the Devils on Thursday

The Rangers play their third game of the 2019-20 season tonight against NJ and will have Alex Georgiev in net. (NYR)

The lines are expected to be:

  • Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich
  • Chris Kreider, Brett Howden, Kaapo Kakko
  • Brendan Smith, Ryan Strome, Jesper Fast
  • Greg McKegg, Lias Andersson, Brendan Lemieux/Micheal Haley

David Quinn said on Wednesday that he was unsure about Lemieux’s status because he has been battling the flu and “just in general, coaching decisions.” (NYR)





The defense pairs are expected to remain Libor Hajek and Jacob Trouba, Brady Skjei and Adam Fox, Marc Staal and Tony DeAngelo.

Tonight is the first game between Kaapo Kakko and Jack Hughes but Kakko said that the game is about more than him and Hughes, “it’s the Devils against the Rangers.” (NY Post)

The Devils are 0-4-2 so far this season, allowing 27 goals for while only scoring 13. The Devils have allowed 12 goals against in the third compared to two goals for.

Taylor Hall has 5 points in 6 games, Nikita Gusev has 3 points in six games, PK Subban has two points in six games.

Jack Hughes has not yet recorded a point, a minus-four rating, 12 shots on goal and an average of 15:50 per game.

Adam Rotter: While the Rangers played their first game two weeks ago, their season really starts tonight as they start playing games on a more regular basis. The focus tonight will be on how Brett Howden performs on the second line, between Kreider and Kakko, and on the team fixing the mistakes and sloppiness of Saturday’s loss. David Quinn mentioned the other day that he thought the Rangers have been “cheating the game” and that they need to be physical, play with pace and put teams “off-balance.”

The Devils are definitely a team that seems “off-balance” on their own lately with their start to the season and blowing 3-goal leads on two separate occasions. It seems like the Devils either get shut out or score and then can’t hold onto leads. They are a desperate team and the Rangers will have to find a way to kick off the rust and match it. The Kakko-Hughes thing is why this game is on NBCSN but, to me, it’s just a small part of this game. Kakko scored on Saturday, Hughes will soon – maybe even tonight – but it’s much more likely that this game is going to be decided by guys like Zibanejad, Panarin and Trouba or Hall, Palmieri and Subban.