The Rangers got their first win of the preseason tonight, besting the Flyers 3-2 in Philadelphia. Since there will be cuts announced relatively soon, this was likely the last time we will see a number of these guys this year (on Broadway at least). New York looked a lot better than they did in their loss to the Devils last night. Some of the depth guys signed in the offseason played well, and some of the kids played well too. Again, we feel there is more value in a bulleted approach to the recaps for the preseason, as it allows us to touch on the rookies who played. Goal breakdowns will be done for the regular season.
- Benoit Pouliot has been playing well. I liked him on the line with Brassard and Zuccarello. Brass gave Pouliot a nice look for the third goal. This will be a fun line to watch in the regular season.
- Dominic Moore has been a very pleasant surprise for the Rangers so far this preseason. He looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. I want to think he’s getting all of this preseason game time to get back up to speed, but he’s there already.
- The AV/Arniel powerplay has been evident already: Puck movement, cycling, chances, shots, but most importantly: zone entries via the rush or the pass. Either a defenseman gains the zone on the rush, and dishes to the man sitting at the corner of the blue line, or the pass is made to the man at the blue line, who gains the zone. It’s great to see.
- Dylan McIlrath is one big dude, but he got caught with a bad pinch in the first period that led to a two-on-one for Philly. Not sure if I can call that a mistake, as AV is telling his defensemen to be aggressive, but I believe if he skated through, then the Flyers wouldn’t have been able to chip it past him for the rush. He got caught again in the second period that led to the Max Talbot goal. Kid has 40 pro games under his belt, he needs time.
- Connor Allen is a nice defenseman, he’s very smart with the puck, shows a lot of poise, and has a good head on his shoulders. He is a bit lapse defensively, and his pairing with Anton Stralman isn’t the best use of either’s skill set. Neither are great defenders.
- Speaking of Stralman, he had a very Stralman-esque game. Turned around a few times, but had some nice offensive chances. He has history with Scott Arniel, so expect him to get some powerplay time as well.
- The first Rangers goal was very nice all around: Stralman kept the zone, got the puck to Mats Zuccarello behind the net, who fed Derick Brassard in the high slot. Brass let go an absolute rifle of a shot and beat Steve Mason high glove side.
- Marty Biron was pretty solid in his half. He didn’t face many shots, but the ones he did face were quality attempts. He stopped them all.
- Andrew Yogan did a good job just throwing the puck at the net for the Rangers second goal, and Darroll Powe did a nice job making sure he got to the net as well. That’s AV hockey. Get to the net.
- Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg…wow. These kids are going to make the coaches make difficult decisions in a week or two.
Overall the Rangers looked better than they did yesterday. They were buzzing around the net, and creating a lot of offensive chances. As mentioned above, there will be cuts after this game, and with five days off before the next preseason game in Calgary, expect some intense practices with a lot of work on AV’s systems.