Well, here we are. The final game of the preseason. I'm sure you're wondering, "How come it ended up like this?" So am I.
The next time we meet the games will be for real, and we will be pumping up for real. But for now, the team is 2-4-1after seven games, and though we can write it off to preseason juggling, it's still a crappy record. The team still isn't sure who the starting goalie is going to be this year (Coach Cory Clouston said he wanted one guy to take the reins... that hasn't happened) or who is replacing the injured Filip Kuba in the lineup -- suddenly David Hale has the inside track. Yikes.
And while it's nowhere near time to panic, this is the team's last chance to get things off on the right foot. Things are in place for that to happen, as the Rangers will not be playing many of their better players. Marty Biron will start in goal after Henrik Lundqvist led the team to a shootout win over Ottawa last night. Meanwhile, Ottawa will essentially play all of their starters tonight. Edit: Daniel Alfredsson will not be playing so Shannon, and not Regin, is skating with Spezza and Michalek. Jesse Winchester takes Shannon's place on the fourth line. The pieces are in place to close the preseason with a win and gain some confidence for opening night.
Here are tonight's expected lines for Ottawa:
Leclaire gets the start and will play the whole game in net, assuming Mike Fisher lets him.
Worth watching is the Phillips-Karlsson pairing, who were very strong last night. It will also be interesting to see how the fourth line does, as Peter Regin has dropped pretty far with a quiet preseason.
As always, join us in the comments section to enjoy the game. Last night was fun, so I expect the same from this game.