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Rangers Head to Brooklyn to Face Islanders

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

The final two games of the preseason have arrived and head coach Alain Vigneault still has decisions to make throughout the lineup.

The bench boss still has 39 players in training camp heading into tonight's preseason tilt with the Islanders in Brooklyn, and several players from last night's loss in Philadelphia are back in the lineup 24 hours later as the auditions continue.

Up front, Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller, Brandon Pirri, Tanner Glass, Marek Hrivik and Robin Kovacs are all playing in the back-to-back. Pirri on Monday scored his fourth goal in three preseason games, while Miller picked up his second assist in as many games. 

Video: NYR@PHI: Pirri capitalizes on turnover, scores goal

While the offensive production has been consistent from Pirri, Vigneault said after Monday's game he's still evaluating the 25-year-old's play away from the puck.

"There's no doubt he's got a knack to find the net," Vigneault said. "[Last night] he scored a big goal for us. There's other areas where I need to be sure that he's going to make the play, get the puck out and be strong on the wall. In certain areas tonight he needed to make a better play. But there's no doubt offensively that he's got good hands and can find the back of the net."

Hayes will center Miller and Nicklas Jensen, while Pirri will play right wing on a line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. Two other players battling for spots in the bottom-six are Nathan Gerbe and Michael Grabner, who will be on the third line with Jesper Fast. Rounding out the offense is Hrivik centering Glass and Kovacs, who notched an assist Monday night.

The auditions continue on the back end, as Adam Clendening and Dylan McIlrath will skate in tonight's game after appearing in last night's game. Tuesday marks the fourth game of the preseason for both defenders.

Brady Skjei will be paired with Clendening, while rookie John Gilmour, who has two goals in two games this preseason, is slated to be partnered with McIlrath. The top pair Tuesday is expected to be Marc Staal and Kevin Klein.

Antti Raanta is expected to play all of tonight's game against the Islanders, with Magnus Hellberg serving as the backup.

The Rangers made eight cuts Monday night, including Adam Tambellini, Ryan Gropp and Michael Paliotta. All those cut will be reporting to Hartford (AHL).

Rangers at Islanders

7 PM at Barclays Center

Watch on MSG Network

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