How far will the Rangers get this season?

'The King' Vs. The Kings In Season-Opener

Henrik Lundqvist will need to be on top of his game in the season-opener

Henrik Lundqvist will need to be on top of his game in the season-opener

When: Friday, October 7, 1:00 p.m.

Opponent: Los Angeles Kings (in Stockholm, Sweden)



UPDATE: Here's today's lineup:

Brandon Dubinsky/Brad Richards/Marian Gaborik

Ruslan Fedotenko/Artem Anisimov/Ryan Callahan

Wojtek Wolski/Derek Stepan/Mats Zuccarello

Mike Rupp/Brian Boyle/Brandon Prust

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Michael Del Zotto-Mike Sauer

Steve Eminger-Tim Erixon

EARLIER: Today the New York Rangers will open their season against the Los Angeles Kings, a team that shares many similarities with them.

Both teams have teetered on the edge of the playoff picture in recent years, both teams made a huge acquisition that is expected to change their fortunes this season and both teams were without their star defenseman for most of training camp.

The Los Angeles Kings finished seventh in the Western Conference in 2010-2011 and while the Rangers were ousted by the Washington Capitals in the first round of the playoffs, the Kings were eliminated by another powerhouse, the San Jose Sharks.

The Rangers had just returned to the playoffs after barely missing out on the postseason in 2009-2010 while Los Angeles, another young team, barely made the playoffs each of the last two seasons.   

Each team entered the summer seeking to upgrade its talent in order take the next step.  Kings GM Dean Lombardi attempted to snag both Brad and Mike Richards, but in the end he settled for the ex-Flyer captain that is expected to act as a co-pilot for Anze Kopitar to propel the Kings to the next level.  Brad ended up with the Rangers and is expected to revitalize the career of Slovakian sniper Marian Gaborik.

For each team, expectations entering training camp were sky high.

The Kings’ only problem was a familiar one to New York – their No. 1 defenseman wasn’t a participant in training camp.

The Kings finally brought 21-year-old defenseman Drew Doughty back into the fold when they signed him on September 29th to an eight-year, $56 million deal, a number surpassed this summer only by Brad Richards’ deal with the Blueshirts.  New York is still sorely missing Marc Staal, out with post-concussion symptoms and will be forced to open the season with a patchwork blueline. 

Without Staal, enthusiasm for the Rangers’ potential has been dampened.

But the Blueshirts are still a solid team and today's tilt with the Kings should be a good measuring stick of just where this team stands without its best defensive player.

The pressure will be on rookie defenseman Tim Erixon to handle the likes of Kopitar, Richards, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams, but as usual New York will also rely on goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to keep the Kings off the scoreboard.

The hope is that with the addition of Richards, the Rangers may have the firepower to match Los Angeles, even with Staal out of the lineup.

The much anticipated debut of the Richards-Gaborik tandem could be the big story of the first game and Brandon Dubinsky will get first crack on their left side.  How that trio performs could dictate how line combinations are constructed from here on out.

Both teams are widely expected to make the playoffs and some even believe that each is ready to compete for the division crown.  Like the Rangers, Los Angeles has some mighty foes to overcome to rise in the Western Conference.  Perennial juggernauts Detroit, Vancouver, Chicago and San Jose still have to be considered the favorites, but the Kings may be next in line. 

If New York is still hoping to follow a similar arc, the team will need to show that it can survive temporarily without its star defenseman.

The Kings will provide a major test, but it’s one that a supposedly improved Rangers’ squad should be up for.


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2011-2012 season preview:

Eastern Conference Preview > (10/3/11)

Western Conference Preview > (10/4/11)

Experts Predict Where The Rangers Will Finish > (10/5/11)

NY Rangers Season Preview > (10/5/11)

Rangers Claim Jeff Woywitka Off Waivers > (10/6/11) 

“The King” Vs. The Kings In Season-Opener > (10/7/11)


Click here for our full 2011-2012 Season Archive >

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New York Rangers VS Chicago Blackhawks
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

  1 2 3 OT F
Rangers 3 0 0 - 3
Blackhawks 1 1 0 - 2

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