PRAGUE -- Brandon Prust confirmed that he will play for the first time this preseason when the Rangers face HC Sparta Prague tonight at Tesla Arena.
Prust played the bulk of last season with a bum shoulder that he had operated on over the summer. A typically physical player who engages in fights, Prust was held out of contact drills, scrimmages and preseason games during the Rangers' North American portion of training camp just to be safe.
Now he's raring to go.
"It's only the preseason, but it feels like it's regular season for me," Prust said. "It's been a while since I've been out even scrimmaging with all that body contact. I'm looking forward to it."
Prust said he will not hold back.
"I'm going to go out and try to play my game, be physical," he added. "We have a short period of time here before the regular season so I have to make sure I know the body is ready and I get it ready."
Likely lineup: The 12 forwards that will suit up for the Rangers against HC Sparta Prague will all be on the NHL roster.
The only two NHL forwards that won't play are Sean Avery and Brian Boyle. Avery and Boyle both skated with the second group Thursday morning, but Avery is still recovering from a sore foot and Boyle has been battling flu-like symptoms.
The Rangers will have their top two lines intact.
Brad Richards will center Marian Gaborik and Wojtek Wolsi while Artem Anismov will play in the middle between Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan. The likely third line will feature Derek Stepan between Ruslan Fedotenko and Mats Zuccarello. Erik Christensen, Mike Rupp and Prust will make up the fourth line.
The blue-line remains a question mark with the status of Marc Staal (possible post-concussion symptoms) and Michael Sauer (sprained shoulder) still in doubt. Ryan McDonagh, Michael Del Zotto, Steve Eminger, Tim Erixon, Stu Bickel and Brendan Bell will play against Sparta.
Martin Biron will get the start in net and is expected to play the entire game. Henrik Lundqvist will back him up.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl