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Open Game Thread: Rangers vs Flames

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Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

The first major road trip of the season starts tonight for the Rangers, as they'll be taking on the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome. With tonight being the first half of a back to back for New York, and the first game in a span of three in four nights, look for this to be their best effort of the road trip before fatigue starts to kick in. After juggling with new line combos and defensive pairings in practice, Alain Vigneault has decided on the following lineup:

Chris Kreider-Derek-Stepan-Rick Nash

Pavel Buchnevich-Mika Zibanejad-Mats Zuccarello

Jimmy Vesey-Kevin Hayes-J.T. Miller

Michael Grabner-Brandon Pirri-Jesper Fast

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Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Brady Skjei

Nick Holden-Kevin Klein

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Henrik Lundqvist

Meanwhile, the Flames will be countering with the following combos of forwards and defenseman as they try to snap a three game losing streak:

Johnny Gaudreau-Sean Monahan-Alex Chiasson

Micheal-Ferland-Mikael Backlund-Michael Frolik

Hunter Shinkaruk-Sam Bennett-Troy Brouwer

Linden Vey-Matt Stajan-Freddie Hamilton

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Mark Giordano-TJ Brodie

Brett Kulak-Deryk Engelland

Dougie Hamilton-Dennis Wideman

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Brian Elliot

Player To Watch: As a result of Alain Vigneault's line tinkering, Brady Skjei has been moved up to the 2nd Defense Pairing with Marc Staal. In addition to being moved up, Skjei will also be back on the right side for tonight's matchup, a role he struggled with when asked to play there during last year's playoff series against Pittsburgh. Look for Skjei to either bounce back and find his comfort zone, or continue to struggle on his off side.

Prediction: After falling victim to a classic trap game against the Canucks, the Rangers will get off to a fast start, and the reunited top line from the 2014 Playoffs will carry the team to a 4-1 victory.

Enjoy the Game!