BLUE JACKETS (26-29-8) at RANGERS (36-20-6)
TV: 7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN-E, SN-O, MSG, NHL.TV
Eric Staal will make his New York Rangers debut centering a line with Oscar Lindberg and Viktor Stalberg against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden on Monday.
Staal, who was acquired on Sunday from the Carolina Hurricanes in a trade for second-round draft picks in 2016 and 2017 and forward prospect Aleksi Saarela, waived his no-trade clause to come to New York.
"I have a ton of emotion right now because I started my career in Carolina, won a Stanley Cup there (2006), but at the same time this is where I want to be and I was excited to get the opportunity to be here and having my brother here (Rangers defenseman Marc Staal) is an extra benefit," Staal said after the morning skate Monday. "But even if he wasn't here, this is still a great spot for me at this moment in my career."
Staal can play left wing and center, and coach Alain Vignealt will start him at center. Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan and the centers on New York's top two lines.
"I do envision [Staal] playing in the middle, but the fact that he can play the middle and the left side bodes well for our team; it's a big bonus," Vigneault said. "It gives me more options and we're definitely going to use those options moving forward."
Staal had 33 points in 63 games with Carolina this season. Monday will be the first time he and his brother Marc Staal have been on the same team at any level of organized hockey.
They will face a Blue Jackets team coached by John Tortorella, who coached the Rangers from 2009-2013.
"I enjoyed [being in New York]; it's an interesting part of the business for me," Tortorella said. "But I was taking it day-by-day. But again, I get another (NHL coaching) opportunity, I'm trying to do the best I can, with my staff, for us to improve as a team, and get into position where we're hunting for playoffs. It's day by day in our business, and we just keep on going about it."
Here are the projected lineups:
Boone Jenner - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson
Scott Hartnell - Alexander Wennberg - Brandon Saad
Matt Calvert - William Karlsson - Nick Foligno
David Clarkson - Gregory Campbell - Jared Boll
Ryan Murray - Seth Jones
Fedor Tyutin - Dalton Prout
David Savard - Cody Goloubef
Injured: Sergei Bobrovsky (groin)
Scratched: Rene Bourque
J.T. Miller - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello
Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Kevin Hayes
Oscar Lindberg - Eric Staal - Viktor Stalberg
Tanner Glass - Dominic Moore - Dylan McIlrath
Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Dan Boyle
Keith Yandle - Kevin Klein
Injured: Rick Nash (lower body)
Scratched: Jesper Fast (illness)