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Pregame Notebook: DeAngelo With Skjei, Zibanejad in Saturday Night

Bereglazov to Make Preseason Debut

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia / NYRangers.com

Defenseman Tony DeAngelo is adapting well to his new environment as a Ranger.

A week into camp, the 21-year-old said he's feeling good physically and is getting more comfortable with the new system deployed in New York after spending last season in the Arizona Coyotes' organization.

"Legs are back, but might be a little tired," he said with a laugh. "The first week it feels good. Had a couple times to do two halves of skates. A lot of ice time so far and I'm starting to feel good."

While it may be a new system, DeAngelo said with each passing day, things stick more and decisions come more natural.

"You get used to it, especially as a defenseman," said DeAngelo, who had five goals and nine assists for 14 points in 39 games with the Coyotes last year, his first in the NHL. "There's not too much change all the time. You pick up on things and we keep learning day-by-day here the new stuff. It'll come."

After skating alongside Nick Holden on Monday, DeAngelo is expected to be on New York's top pair tonight against the Islanders in Bridgeport, Conn.

"I know [Skjei] is a real good player and a real good skater as well," he said. "He's a good two-way guy. I think if we use both of our skating abilities together, we could do real well together."

Skjei, too, was excited by the prospect of playing with DeAngelo, who he said brings more offense to his game than Skjei does.

"Tony is obviously a really good puck-moving defenseman," Skjei said. "He skates really well. I think we can both feed of each other like that. One of us can get in the play and the other can stay back. I'm excited to play with him for sure."

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Russian defenseman Alexei Bereglazov is expected to make his preseason debut Friday night against the Islanders.

The defenseman, who signed as a free agent last April, spent last season with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League, where he posted a goal and 18 assists in 60 regular season games.

"[He's a] steady defenseman who - we were told - knew when to jump into the attack and was a real solid defender," coach Alain Vigneault said. "He came over here, was OK in Traverse City, and has been in my estimation, getting better every day."

Vigneault said he's seeing improvement most likely based on Bereglazov's adjustment to the smaller ice surface in North America.

"I think Traverse City was a learning curve for him," Vigneault said. "Ever since he's gotten here, every practice, he's gotten a little bit better. That's why we wanted the first two games before we threw him in. Get some practice time after getting game time in Traverse City. He should be good to go."

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Mika Zibanejad will play his first game of the preseason Saturday night when the Rangers visit the Devils in New Jersey.

The 24-year-old spoke with the media for the first time and disclosed he had been battling an illness prior to the start of training camp.

"I just didn't feel good at all," he said. "Basically the whole week before camp, just laid in bed sweating and shaking. Back on my feel now. Been getting some skates in and getting back into it. It feels good to be able to play tomorrow."

Zibanejad said he's been doing extra skating work to get back up to speed physically. He skated between Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello at Friday's practice.

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Vigneault said Jesper Fast is progressing "extremely well" from offseason surgery. He is expected to miss the start of season, though Vigneault said he's still targeted for a late October return.

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