NEW YORK — The Nashville Predators are widely considered

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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 Cam Talbot Jersey , 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.Article continues below ...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 Youth Darnell Nurse Jersey , 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.”There’s little doubt the Predators have the players to compete for a title. Nashville, which reached its first Cup Finals following the 2016-17 season, led the NHL with 117 points last season (53-18-11) but fell to the Winnipeg Jets in a seven-game Western Conference semifinal series.Head coach Peter Laviolette, who has put together a Hall of Fame resume by leading three franchises to the Cup Finals (he won the Cup with Carolina in 2005-06 and coached Philadelphia to the title round in 2009-10), is aware of the expectations surrounding the Predators and is eager to begin finding out just how good his team can become.“It’s the beginning of a journey for our group, and you hope to play a long time and find success all the way through,” Laviolette told reporters. “That brings excitement to the guys that get sick of practices and training camp. They want to play games, and New York is a great place for us to start.”Two franchise icons are expected to start the game in goal for New York and Nashville.Henrik Lundqvist is scheduled to set a franchise record by starting his 13th straight season opener for the Rangers. Lundqvist, who enters this year ranked within the NHL’s top 15 all-time in wins, games and saves, is 8-5-0 in 13 games against the Predators.Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Pekka Rinne, who has spent his entire 12-year career with the Predators, will draw the start. Rinne Kailer Yamamoto Jersey , whose Vezina Trophy last year was his first, is 3-2-1 in six games against the Rangers. NEW YORK (AP) — So much for all that talk about the New York Islanders‘ situation in goal.Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner have formed a pretty solid tandem so far.Greiss made 35 saves for his first shutout of the season, and the Islanders beat the New Jersey Devils 3-0 on Saturday night for their fifth straight win.“We feed off that,” forward Josh Bailey said. “When he and Lehner are on, it adds so much confidence to our team.”It was Greiss’ ninth career shutout. Dating to Oct. 28, Greiss has allowed just four goals on 114 shots.“It’s going well and everyone is happy and enjoying hockey right now,” he said.Jordan Eberle, Brock Nelson and Scott Mayfield scored for New York (8-4-1), which improved to 6-0-0 against the Metropolitan Division this season. Bailey had two assists to extend his point streak to eight games.“When you get on these streaks as a team and individually you want to ride them for as long as you can,” Bailey said. “But it’s about staying even keel and not thinking too much about it, and preparing the same way you do every game.”Despite losing for the sixth time in seven games, the Devils (5-5-1) left Barclays Center feeling positive about their performance.“There’s plenty of season left,” said Keith Kinkaid, who had 30 saves. “We’re just going through a little (stretch). Everything is a learning curve.“We have to keep sticking at it.”The Devils came up empty on two early power-play chances before the Islanders grabbed the lead on Eberle’s power-play goal 7:43 into the game. With Jean-Sebastien Dea in the box for hooking Adam Pelech Womens Kris Russell Jersey , Eberle tapped in Anders Lee’s rebound for his fourth of the season, and third in New York’s last three games.“I had quite a few chances again,” Eberle said. “So you want to try and maintain (the) things you’re having success with.”New Jersey outshot New York 35-33 for the game, but the Islanders were 1 for 4 on the power play and killed all four man advantages for the Devils.“We’d almost take that game than playing (poorly) and winning,” New Jersey star Taylor Hall said. “Sometimes you have to go through (a stretch) during a season and find your game. Find an example of how you need to play night in and night out. And sometimes results are going to come, and sometimes you’re going to play — like I said (poorly) and win. Right now we’ll take the way we played.”Neither team was able develop any traction offensively in a stop-and-start second period, with the best chance being Hall’s semi-breakaway at 8:06 that Greiss knocked away.“We didn’t get any bounces,” New Jersey coach John Hynes said.The third was a mirror image of the second, although New York did generate seven shot attempts in a 52-second span after Lee forced a Hall turnover.Nelson got his team-leading seventh goal of the season with 4:54 left. The sequence began with Nick Leddy blocking a Mirco Mueller shot, leading to a 2-on-1 with Nelson and Bailey.Mayfield’s empty-netter ended the scoring.“I really liked our second and I really liked our third,” New York coach Barry Trotz said. “I really like our mindset.”NOTES: Following New York’s optional skate, Trotz said LW Matt Martin would miss the game with an upper-body injury. Martin was replaced in the lineup by Ross Johnston. … The Islanders sent reserve goaltender Christopher Gibson to Bridgeport of the American Hockey League. … New Jersey put RW Stefan Noesen on injured reserve with an upper-body injury and activated RW Drew Stafford from IR. … Devils LW Brett Seney made his NHL debut. The 157th pick in the 2015 draft was called up from the minors on Friday. … New York D Johnny Boychuk played in his 600th NHL game.UP NEXTDevils: Visit Pittsburgh on Monday night.Islanders: Host Montreal on Monday night.