NEW YORK -- Zane McIntyre's first trip to Madison Square Garden should be a memorable one, especially if he plays well in the Boston Bruins' net.
McIntyre, 24, will make his first NHL start against the New York Rangers on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV). His big moment comes approximately 24 hours after his first career NHL appearance.
McIntyre made 15 saves in relief of fellow rookie Malcolm Subban during Boston's 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden on Tuesday. Subban will be McIntyre's backup against the Rangers because Tuukka Rask (general soreness) and Anton Khudobin (upper body) are unavailable.
"You hear the stuff growing up, like obviously it's a pretty big place to play, but at the end of the day it's hockey," McIntyre said of making his first start at Madison Square Garden. "I'm playing the same game I loved when I was four years old. It's just going out there and enjoying it. I think it's going to be really special."
McIntyre's first NHL start comes more than six years after he was drafted. The Bruins selected him in the sixth round (No. 165) in 2010. McIntyre proceeded to play two seasons in the USHL for the Fargo Force and three more at the University of North Dakota before turning pro last season. He was 14-8-7 with a 2.68 goals-against average in 31 appearances with Providence of the American Hockey League.
"Long time coming," McIntyre said. "As a kid obviously I was thinking about it as well. There's been a lot of work, a lot of people sacrificing to help me out and to get me to this point. I'm just going to try to do my best and go from there really."
McIntyre had a goals-against average of 0.44 and a .977 save percentage in three games with Providence this season before he was recalled for the first time this past Saturday, when he was the backup to Khudobin in a 4-2 loss against the Montreal Canadiens.
However, he was sent back to Providence on Sunday, when the Bruins recalled Subban, who was originally supposed to be the backup to Khudobin on Tuesday. However, Khudobin was injured in practice on Monday, and the Bruins recalled him again Tuesday.
McIntyre said backing up Khudobin on Saturday and playing in relief of Subban on Tuesday are experiences he will try to use to his advantage Wednesday.
"Backing up [Khudobin], I think I was able to feel the atmosphere out, especially a big rivalry game like Montreal," McIntyre said. "I was able to use the experience and draw from the experience from there for [Tuesday] night's game. When I got out there I was maybe not as jittery as I could have been if I didn't back up Saturday. Obviously getting time [Tuesday] will help prepare for my moment here. It's just a little bit of a process. You gain experience and you can put it in a little storage file, take it out and draw on those experiences and situations later on."
For this experience, McIntyre said he's going to try to keep everything normal leading up to the game. He said he'll watch TV, search around on YouTube, and maybe watch some game film in the afternoon.
He wasn't sure if any of his close friends or family would be able to make it to New York in time for the game, but said he left it up to his agent to try to make it happen.
"I'm just taking care of my business and conducting myself, getting myself prepared as best I can to go in there and do a job and get two points," McIntyre said.
McIntyre does, however, think a lot of eyes in North Dakota will be tuned in to watch him play, making it more impactful that the game is on national television in the United States.
"There is a strong following back home with my alumni and obviously people in the area too," McIntyre said. "Just growing up 45 minutes from school in Thief River Falls (Minnesota), there's definitely a lot of support there."