Forty-eight hours after first round pick Lias Andersson suited up for his first exhibition game as a Ranger, fellow selection Filip Chytil will get his opportunity to wear a Rangers sweater in a game for the first time.
"I'm looking forward to playing there," the 18-year-old said. "I want to play my best game and play simple and try to score some goals or some assists. I want to win in my first game."
Like all European players, Chytil is adjusting to the smaller ice surface of North America. But while there is a learning curve, it's one he prefers over the larger rinks of his home country of the Czech Republic and other European leagues.
"I like the smaller rink more than the bigger because it's a faster game," he said. "I can shoot from every position on the ice. It's good and I like it more."
Head coach Alain Vigneault on Monday said both Chytil and Andersson are candidates for roster spots come Oct. 5. That remains Chytil goal, but he said he understands he'll have to earn the spot.
"It's a long way to … making the roster," he said. "There's many great players. I want to be a part of the team as soon as possible. I will work hard and I'll see."
His new teammates are taking notice early on in camp.
"He's skating really well and you can tell that he has a lot of skill," said linemate Jimmy Vesey. "For a young guy like him, I think the sky is the limit."
Andersson will be in the lineup for the second straight game, with Vigneault stating it came down to just how the lineup played out.
"It's just a matter of checking the lineup and seeing what we have," he said.
Vigneault said the more chances to see the 18-year-old play, the better.
"I just think the more we get an opportunity to look at him, the better reading we're going to get on his readiness to logically make the next step," he said. "Anybody that's looked at our lineup knows that center position there's a little more opportunity there for players."
Video: NYI@NYR: Pionk's slick spin leads to overtime winner
The only person possibly happier than Neal Pionk after his overtime winner against the Islanders on Monday night? Vince Pedrie.
"I might have been happier than him honestly," Pedrie told NYRangers.com. "I was so pumped for him. We've been roommates since Traverse City. I was waiting for him when he got back to the room last night. I couldn't be happier for him. I was just so pumped. I'm not surprised, though. He's a phenomenal talent."
The friendship between Pionk and Pedrie is not uncommon among the current group of Rangers prospects, many of whom stayed in the New York area all summer training together in Connecticut.
"We had that group that's been here since development camp. We all bonded," he said. "You're with each other every day, working out in the gym and on the ice. You become really close. It's like a brotherhood. You form relationships and you want to succeed and you want the guy next to you to succeed too. It's been really cool to build a relationship with these guys."
Pedrie will experience what Pionk did on Monday with his first preseason game as a Ranger.
"It's obviously a dream come true. Playing at the Garden, playing for the Rangers," said Pedrie, who will have family in the audience. "I'm just trying to go out and play my best game and play the full 60 minutes and help the team as much as I can."
Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is not overthinking Wednesday's matchup with the Devils, his first game as a Ranger. That'll come next month.
"I think I'm treating it … as a preseason game," he said. "I just want to make sure that I'm gradually getting better and getting more comfortable here. I think everyone is a little rusty in their first game. I'm hoping that things come right back, but it probably won't happen. There's going to be a few mistakes out there. It's all just baby steps to get ready for October 5."
After Monday's penalty-filled affair against the Islanders, Shattenkirk is looking at the brightside of all that work on the power play.
"That's one area where chemistry goes a long way," he said. "Keeping it simple but at the same time knowing when to pass guys the puck, where they like it. To be able to get that much work would be beneficial. Hopefully it's more power plays than penalty kills."
Henrik Lundqvist is expected to make his preseason debut Wednesday when the Rangers host the Devils. After a long a summer, Lundqvist said he's looking forward to getting back into the rhythm of the season.
"I look forward to it," he said. "Every year, every season, you start skating for a month and a half before you get a good test. I think it's a good thing because I think it really shows what you need to work on after the first game. You can look at the things you did well, at the things you need to improve. It's fun to get out there again and compete."
The Rangers' projected lineup based off Tuesday's practice
Matt Puempel - Kevin Hayes - Mats Zuccarello
Chris Kreider - Lias Andersson - Ryan Gropp
Jimmy Vesey - Filip Chytil - Adam Tambellini
Daniel Catenacci - David Desharnais - Andrew Desjardins
Brady Skjei - Kevin Shattenkirk
Vince Pedrie - Brendan Smith
Marc Staal - John Gilmour