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Preseason Game 2: Bell Impresses Again, May Be That Dark Horse

Well, the Rangers won last night’s preseason game against the Devils 4-3, in a game that had a much better tempo and flow to it than their first tilt on Wednesday night. This game had good action, some good physicality, some drama, and some late heroics from unlikely sources, so let’s get into it:

  • What is it with these “surprise” shots from the point that always beat Martin Brodeur? It happens all the time, and Brendan Bell victimized him this time around.
  • Speaking of Bell, wow is he impressing. He might be that dark horse on the blue line that makes the cut. He has looked pretty good in both games, and it looks like he definitely earned his spot on the trip to Europe.
  • Last Bell comment, if he continues to play like this, he might make losing Marc Staal a little bit easier to swallow. Sure, no one can replace Staal, but having someone step in and play solid hockey is the best case scenario for that.
  • Michael Del Zotto looked better, but he still made some odd mistakes.  I was impressed with how he covered for Tim Erixon when he got beat though. He still makes some poor passes, and that needs work. One that really sums it up was in the third period when he was gaining the zone, he dished it off to Brian Boyle, but missed him by a foot. It’s tough to miss Brian Boyle’s reach by that much.
  • Tim Erixon has made the team. Period.
  • The top line of Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, and Wojtek Wolski looked pretty good.  They seemed to click nicely, but it’s only been one game.
  • The line of Mats Zuccarello, Derek Stepan, and Ruslan Fedotenko had a strong game.  There looks to be some chemistry there.
  • Dale Weise and Kris Newbury both saw less than 10 minutes of ice time.  That can’t be good for them.  Weise had a strong game on Wednesday, but I barely noticed him tonight other than one big hit.
  • That five forward powerplay is…interesting. I wonder if it’s going to be a defensive liability though? Richards and Callahan are defensively sound, but they don’t play that position. They went 1 for 6, but there was good puck control. Work in progress?
  • Non-Rangers for a second: Jacob Josefson and Adam Larsson are going to be pretty good for the Devils…they hit the jackpot there.
  • The refs let them play, which was nice to see, but the goalie interference was iffy (I thought Mike Sauer bumped him) and the interference on Gaborik was also iffy. Can’t have two iffy calls to end a game.
  • For all the hype Pavel Valentenko received from the fan base, he looks like he needs another year in the AHL. It’s just one game, but he just looked a little lost, and the game looked a little too fast for him.

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