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game preview

Preview: Red Wings at Rangers

Jimmy Howard starting in goal for Detroit; Kevin Klein to make season debut for New York

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / Staff Writer

RED WINGS (1-2-0) at RANGERS (2-1-0)

8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV


Red Wings team scope

Goaltender Jimmy Howard will make his first start of the season for the Detroit Red Wings. He last appeared in a preseason game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 7. "It's been a week-and-a-half now," Howard said. "I've been putting in a lot of great work in practice and now I'm looking forward to getting out there and showing it in a game." Howard is 4-3-2 with a 1.76 goals-against average and .949 save percentage in nine career games against the Rangers. "I think there's multiple things that factor into it," coach Jeff Blashill said on starting Howard. "Sometimes opponents can factor into it. Sometimes the success that a goalie's had factors into it. Sometimes it's the way the schedule sets up. Certainly Jimmy likes playing here and he's had success here. It's a factor but it's not the deciding factor. We felt this was the right move to make." The line of Darren Helm centering Thomas Vanek and Gustav Nyquist has combined for 12 points in three games. "That line's clicked going back to the exhibition game they played together," Blashill said. Detroit lost its first two games before a 5-1 victory against the Ottawa Senators in its final home opener at Joe Louis Arena on Monday.


Rangers team scope

Defenseman Kevin Klein will make his season debut for the New York Rangers after missing the first three games because of back spasms. Klein skated with defenseman Ryan McDonagh and Rangers extras at an optional morning skate. "You go through preseason and play the preseason games and you're excited to get in there," Klein said. "Now I haven't played a game for two weeks. I'm really excited every year opening up. The home opener with the boys, I missed that, but this is mine, so I'm happy." Defenseman Dylan McIlrath will be a healthy scratch. Coach Alain Vigneault said it's a numbers game at this point of the season. McDonagh will play after missing practice Tuesday because of the birth of his first child, Falan Erin. He learned his wife's water broke following the Rangers' 7-4 win against the San Jose Sharks on Monday, went home to change and headed to the hospital. "Everything went smoothly, everybody is fine. Pretty excited to say the least," McDonagh said. "It should be the first thing on my mind as soon as I step out of the rink and it will be really fun just to see her grow up."


Red Wings projected lineup

Justin Abdelkader -- Frans Nielsen -- Riley Sheahan

Tomas Tatar -- Dylan Larkin -- Henrik Zetterberg

Thomas Vanek -- Darren Helm -- Gustav Nyquist

Drew Miller -- Luke Glendening -- Andreas Athanasiou

Danny DeKeyser -- Mike Green

Brendan Smith -- Xavier Ouellet

Jonathan Ericsson -- Alexey Marchenko

Jimmy Howard

Petr Mrazek

Scratched: Ryan Sproul, Steve Ott

Injured: Niklas Kronwall (knee), Tomas Jurco (back)


Rangers projected lineup

Jimmy Vesey -- Derek Stepan -- Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Rick Nash

J.T. Miller -- Kevin Hayes -- Jesper Fast

Michael Grabner -- Josh Jooris -- Brandon Pirri

Ryan McDonagh -- Nick Holden

Marc Staal -- Kevin Klein

Brady Skjei -- Adam Clendening

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Dylan McIlrath

Injured: Dan Girardi (hip flexor), Pavel Buchnevich (back spasms), Oscar Lindberg (hip surgery)


Status report

The Red Wings will formally decide on their lineup before the game, but the same group that played Monday against the Senators took part in the morning skate. … Klein will skate with Staal to start the game. Skjei will be paired with Clendening and the McDonagh-Holden combination that played Monday will remain intact. … Buchnevich remains sidelined because of back spasms. "It took a while for [Klein]," Vigneault said. "I would expect the same thing for him." … Girardi is expected to skate on his own Thursday.


Who's hot

Green had his first NHL hat trick Monday. His five points are tied with Vanek for the Red Wings lead. … Kreider's three-game goal streak is an NHL career high. He is the first Rangers player since Brian Leetch in 1992 to have a goal and an assist in each of the team's first three games, and has three goals and seven points in his past seven against the Red Wings. … Zibanejad has a goal and four points in three games.

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