Eight skaters and one goalie---back-up Martin Biron---took part in the Rangers optional morning skate on Tuesday at the MSG Training Center. Among them was rugged forward Brandon Mashinter, the recent minor-league call-up who confirmed after the skate that he will make his Rangers debut this evening when the Blueshirts host the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden.
"A little bit (of nerves), but I've been here before (in the NHL) so I know what to expect a little bit, but there are some nerves there for sure," the 24 year-old Mashinter said of getting ready to play this evening.
Mashinter, who was acquired from the San Jose Sharks organization in exchange for forward Tommy Grant and a conditional draft pick back in January, has 13 games of NHL experience---all with the Sharks two seasons ago. He accumulated 17 penalty minutes in those 13 games.
Since being picked up from the Sharks, Mashinter has posted 11 points and 23 penalty minutes in 14 games with the Connecticut Whale---one of the best stretches of his profesisonal career.
"I've been playing real well down there, and I think they brought me up for a reason," explained the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Mashinter. "I just have to keep playing the way I am. That's all there is to it. Can't try and go out of my element."
Mashinter will take Darroll Powe's spot in the lineup this evening. Powe was placed on Injured Reserve Monday after suffering a concussion in Sunday's 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals.
By the looks of the morning skate, it would appear that Chris Kreider and Stu Bickel will be the healthy Rangers scratches tonight, and that Henrik Lundqvist will start in goal.
"I'm definitely excited," offered Mashinter after the morning skate. "There's a lot of history here, and I'm excited to play and be out there and see the crowd."
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