NEW YORK -- The Nashville Predators are widely considered one of the teams likeliest to contend for the Stanley Cup this season. The New York Rangers are ... not.
But the Rangers will get an early opportunity to prove the prognosticators wrong Thursday night when they host the Predators in the season opener for both teams at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers embarked upon a rebuilding project late last season, finishing 34-39-9 and in last place in the Metropolitan Division. New York shipped off several veterans at the trade deadline, including Rick Nash and captain Ryan McDonagh.
Immediately after the season, the Rangers fired head coach Alain Vigneault, who directed the team to playoff berths in his first four seasons at the helm and steered them to the Stanley Cup Finals in his first campaign in 2013-14.
Vigneault's successor is David Quinn, who arrived from Boston University to oversee the type of youth movement rarely undertaken in the Big Apple. But Quinn is not ready to concede the season, even though the Rangers' uphill task is made taller by their placement in the Metropolitan Division -- home of the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, who combined to win the last three Stanley Cups.
"Obviously, a lot has been made of the different direction we're in right now, but we want to win every game," Quinn told reporters. "I don't think about it any other way, I think about coming here every day, being the best team we can be, making every guy a better player, making us a better team, collectively, and playing the way we want to play.
"And the winning and losing will take care of itself. And we feel we have enough good NHL players to give us a chance night in and night out." >> Read More
Copyright 2018 by the Associated Press