Kevin Klein will indeed make his season debut for the Rangers tonight when it hosts the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden.
Klein, who missed the first three games with back spasms, took part in a quick morning skate and is ready to play.
"I am," Klein said when asked if he's anxious to join his teammates. "You go through preseason and you play the preseason games and you're excited to get in there and now I haven't played a game for two weeks. I'm really excited every year, opening up - I didn't get the home opener with the boys. I missed that. This is mine. I'm happy."
Despite missing practice yesterday, new dad Ryan McDonagh will be in the lineup tonight.
McDonagh said the timing of the birth of his daughter, Falan, couldn't have been any more perfect. He got the call after Monday's game against San Jose that his wife had entered into labor and he was able to get to the hospital in time for the birth.
"Six hours later [she] was here," McDonagh said. "Everything went smoothly. Everybody is fine. Pretty excited to say the least."
McDonagh said it felt different being a dad, even if it's been less than 48 hours.
"I guess, yeah. A lot more responsibility I guess now," McDonagh said with a smile. "She'll be the first thing on my mind as soon as a step out of the rink. It'll be really fun just to see her grow up."
With Klein returning to the lineup and McDonagh available, head coach Alain Vigneault said McDonagh would remain paired with Nick Holden, while Klein will be partnered with Marc Staal. Brady Skjei and Adam Clendening will round out the defense.
Henrik Lundqvist is expected to start in net.
Both Pavel Buchnevich (back spasms) and Dan Girardi (groin strain) will miss tonight's game.