Rangers Drop Second Preseason Game in ShootoutSeptember 17, 2009, by
Count the Rangers as 0-2 in the preseason to date, I would say they are 0-1-1, but I don’t think the OTL matters in the preseason. Actually, I’m positive it doesn’t matter. The Rangers, for the second game in a row, came out slow, and turned it on in the third period, netting two goals to send the game into overtime. This can be viewed as a positive, as the Rangers look to have a lot of fight in them, even when down two going into the third period.
Coach John Tortorella again let the kids play the majority of the game, to allow them to present their case to both stay in camp, and make the NHL club. Defensemen Michael Del Zotto and Matt Gilroy again played solid games, with the latter netting a beauty of a goal on a mini-breakaway. Gilroy also showcased his great speed, and his ability to create something on the rush. The Rangers haven’t had a player that can do that since Brian Leetch. If Gilroy can be half of what Leetch was, it is safe to say that Gilroy is a lock to make the squad for opening night, and that Del Zotto is a lock for the 2010-2011 season, as he will most likely be returned to juniors for one more year.
Chad Johnson looked pretty good in net, and at first I mistook his calm, collected nature for a lack of quickness in net, especially when he got caught out of position on a wraparound that was stopped by Brian Boyle. Later in the game, it was evident that he was just very cool in net, and didn’t need to flop around. He’s a big guy with a quick glove, and it looks like the pucks just stick to his pads, there were no rebounds to be had. He was up to the task in stopping Zach Parise, Travis Zajac, and David Clarkson on some key opportunities late in the game. The one thing I noticed is that he’s susceptible to the fake shot in a shootout, dropping to his knees on the deke, allowing the shooter to skate around him. He recovers quickly, but solid NHL players will exploit that. But when that’s the only “hole” in your game, it’s a good thing. If Steve Valliquette falters, Johnson will be up to the task.
Remember, it’s just preseason, these guys haven’t been in a game situation in a while, and with boot camp in full swing, you can expect them to be tired. Don’t look at the miscues by Michal Rozsival and Wade Redden as big things, it’s just a part of the preseason. Pay attention to the young kids, they are the ones where preseason really matters.