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Rangers Hit the Road to Take on the Blues

Blueshirts Look to Build Off Win in Season-Opener

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

After coming out victorious in the season-opener against the New York Islanders Thursday night, the Rangers head west to take on the powerhouse St. Louis Blues.

Thursday marked quite the debut for the Rangers' new faces, with five of seven new Blueshirts finding their names on the scoresheet, including Brandon Pirri scoring a goal and adding an assist, as well as Mika Zibanejad's pair of assists.

It wasn't all new Blue, though, as Chris Kreider had a goal and an assist of his own and last year's leading scorer Mats Zuccarello also found the back of the net in the 5-3 victory at The Garden. All told, five different Rangers found the back of the net, with 11 different players finishing with at least one point.

The Rangers will ice the same lineup as Thursday night, meaning defenseman Kevin Klein remains out of the lineup as he battles back spasms. Head coach Alain Vigneault said Friday that he remains day-to-day. He did not travel with the team to St. Louis.

Henrik Lundqvist is expected to make the start. He is 3-4 with a 2.48 GAA and a .919 save percentage in eight games against the Blues, with all three wins coming in his last three appearances.

In St. Louis the Rangers find one of the pre-season favorites out of the Western Conference, and through two games, they've appeared as a strong bet. St. Louis opened the season with a 5-2 win over the Blackhawks in Chicago, and followed it up with a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild.

The Blues are led up front by superstar Vladimir Tarasenko, who has two goals in two games, including two power play points. Paul Stastny currently leads the team with four points in four games. In goal, Jake Allen is the undisputed No. 1 goalie after St. Louis sent Brian Elliott to Calgary, and is 2-0 with a 2.00 GAA and a .900 save percentage.

"It's a pretty hostile environment there when they get going in their game," said captain Ryan McDonagh of the Blues at home. "Have to obviously play a smart game as far as not feeding into any momentum swings they have and surges and continue to fine tune our game."

The visit to St. Louis marks the Rangers' first road game of the 2016-17 season. Last year, the Rangers were 19-17-5 on the road, compared to 27-10-4 at The Garden. Vigneault said there's no home and away way to play, and he's hoping that his team brings the same effort it brought Thursday night to St. Louis.

"Going against St. Louis, who for the past years has been one of the best teams," Vigneault said, "there's no home or road way to play. There's one way to play. We've got to find a way tomorrow to bring what we brought on the ice [Thursday], especially those first two periods where I thought both offensively and defensively we were real solid."

Rangers at St. Louis Blues

8 pm EST at Scottrade Center

Watch live on MSG Network beginning at 7:30 pm

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