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Jimmy Vesey gets chance to prove himself with Rangers top line


Jimmy Vesey is just the latest player to get a peek at the top of the Rangers alongside Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, which has given the 29-year-old even more of an opportunity to show himself in the final days of his professional try-out. out contract.

“We’ve put him everywhere,” coach Gerard Gallant said of Vesey, who blocked one shot at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night and registered one goal in the Rangers’ 5-4 loss to the Bruins. “A lot of the guys — I mean, I’m not just going to point out Vesey because there’s… [Gustav] Rydahl and all those guys are fighting for those spots. So he’s one of them. He has played in several situations and we want to give our boys a look. So that’s it.

“We have tried to fill in the selection as best as possible for the opening night. Again, they are exhibition games, you would like to play well and get more of your team in them, but again I’m not putting too much in the lines or the lineup right now.”

Sliding in alongside Zibanejad and Kreider is familiar territory for Vesey, who spent the first three seasons of his NHL career in New York with the two. Vesey and Zibanejad actually came to the Rangers at the same time for the 2016-17 season.

Jimmy Vesey
Jason Szenes

In 80:51 ice age over those three seasons, according to Natural Stat Trick, Vesey, Zibanejad and Kreider faced off on the ice together for five goals and seven against. However, that was several years ago and all three players have evolved a lot since then. Vesey said the familiarity helps in terms of their communication.

“I’m not going to be nervous to talk to them,” he said. “Yesterday we had a lot of communication in practice. I was probably a little nervous the first few exercises. But they are great guys and I feel really comfortable.”

Zibanejad scored twice in the first period of Wednesday-evening’s loss, including one on the power play. However, the Kid Line of Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko was again the Rangers’ most consistent unit throughout the match. The trio scored a total of two goals (both from Kakko), an assist (from Lafreniere) and 10 shots on target.

Still, Gallant wasn’t particularly pleased with the Rangers’ performance, especially the players in the squad bubble.

Mika Zibanejad (second from right), scored two goals in the Rangers' 5-4 preseason loss to the Bruins.
Mika Zibanejad (second from right), scored two goals in the Rangers’ 5-4 preseason loss to the Bruins.
Jason Szenes

“A lot of them didn’t do themselves any favors with tonight’s game,” he said. “A lot of guys are competing for jobs, but it wasn’t a good game for a lot of those guys tonight. We weren’t good enough with our whole team.”

Ryan Lindgren has an undisclosed lower body injury on a daily basis and did not skate against Boston. Gallant said the Rangers are “playing it safe” with Lindgren, who was sidelined three games in the first round of the playoffs last season with a lower body injury.

As a result, his defending partner, Adam Fox, was also kept out of the lineup to keep the desired D pairs together.

Can he skate today? Yes,’ said the coach. “We’re not worried.”

Igor Shesterkin was due to start at MSG on Wednesday night, but the Rangers said “stomach problems” relegated the star netless to the bench. As a result, Jaroslav Halak got the nod, conceding five goals on 26 shots in the loss.

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