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Gerard Gallant mum on lineup for Rangers' preseason opener vs. Islanders

Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin defends during practice on

Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin defends during practice on Saturday. Credit: Noah K. Murray

Coach Gerard Gallant wouldn’t give any hints as to who will or won’t be in the lineup for the Rangers’ first preseason game Sunday night against the Islanders at Madison Square Garden. All he would say was he won’t use just one of the three practice groups he’s had so far in training camp, but will have a mix of players from all the groups.

Gallant couldn’t (or wouldn’t) even say which goalie(s) will play. No. 1 goalie Igor Shesterkin wouldn’t say how much work he’d like to get in the preseason to get ready for the season.

"I don't know, however minutes they give me,’’ he said.

Shesterkin, who said he was not happy with his performance from last season (when he was 16-14-3, with a 2.62 goals against average and .916 save percentage), was asked if he has personal goals for himself he would be willing to share.

"I want to play playoff games,’’ he said.

Shesterkin, who signed a four-year, $22.67 million contract in the offseason, said he was happy to have the contract settled and out of the way.

"It was a long time to have to talk about my contract,’’ he said. "I don't like it.’’

Shesterkin was asked if he’d done anything in the offseason to try and ensure he doesn’t miss time because of injuries, as he has in each of the past two seasons.

"I’ve been working on my flexibility,’’ he said. "So, I'm basically like a gymnast now.’’

Blue notes

Forward Jayden Grubbe, 18, was returned to his junior team, the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL … D Matthew Robertson returned to practice after missing a week with a lower-body injury. Forwards Austin Rueschoff (lower body) and Evan Vierling (upper body) remained out.

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