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Devils open preseason vs. Rangers in Albany

DeBoer goes with veteran lineup; Keith Kinkaid to start

Wednesday, 09.21.2011 / 12:03 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Devils open preseason vs. Rangers in Albany
A slate of Atlantic Division clashes awaits in the regular season, but Peter DeBoer is about to get his first taste of Devils-Rangers. His club opens the preseason against its Hudson River rivals tonight in Albany (7 p.m., MSG).

“It’s legendary,” DeBoer said of the rivalry. “We’re excited and ready to go. I know the group that’s going up there – you play every game to win. I think winning’s a habit. Along with the habits of playing the game the right way,  being above the puck, staying disciplined, we also want to win. That’s something that’s contagious as was shown last year when the team got on that roll. Once you get used to playing the game to win every night, that becomes the expectation.”

The Devils will bring a veteran group to New York’s capital city, which is also home to their AHL affiliate. Keith Kinkaid is expected to get the start in net, with Jeff Frazee backing up. Goaltenders are likely to play full games in the preseason.

“We haven’t decided that yet, we’re probably leaning toward playing the whole game,” DeBoer said. “With the veteran guys, for sure. With the young guys, we haven’t made those decisions yet.”

The forward lineup is expected to include Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, David Clarkson, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jacob Josefson, Nick Palmieri, Stephane Veilleux, Petr Sykora, Steve Bernier, Eric Boulton, Brad Mills and Cam Janssen. Probables on defense include Adam Larsson, Peter Harrold, Anton Stralman, Anton Volchenkov, Mark Fraser and Henrik Tallinder.

Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg skated today’s first practice session at AmeriHealth Pavilion. While DeBoer says he has no set number of games that he expects them to play in preseason, he confirmed that they will go the distance each time.

“Everyone in the room in our discussions – Lou [Lamoriello], the coaches –  we’ve tried it all different ways,” DeBoer said. “I think from a goalie perspective, it’s a 60-minute game, so that’s why you want to prepare yourself for game one of the season. In order to do that, it’s tough to play 30. The back half is usually the toughest because of fatigue and things like that. We might as well get that preparation going right off the bat.”

Dainius Zubrus left practice early with lower body stiffness. He was on a line with Mattias Tedenby and Adam Henrique during the 90-minute first session.