Another preseason, another game against the Devils. It seems like the Rangers are only allowed to play the Devils, Islanders, and Flyers in the preseason. I guess that’s a good thing, since they don’t have to travel far. Probably why they do it that way, but would it kill you to get some variety?
The Rangers were definitely the better team in this one. Henrik Lundqvist was strong. The defense was near suffocating, save for a few mishaps here and there. And this was against some of the better players on the Devils. It’s not going to be consistently like this, but if this is what the defense is going to trend to, then I’m all for it.
- Think what you want about Kevin Hayes, but the guy can pass. In a perfect world, he’s still with the team beyond this season. I hope I’m wrong that his one-year deal means he’s gone. I really like him on this team. He’s so creative and sneaky good.
- From what I saw (heard?), there was a lot of chatter on the ice. It’s obviously impossible for me to tell who it was, but I did notice it a lot when the Rangers were defending a dump and chase, which leads me to believe it was the Rangers chatting it up. I can’t remember the last time I heard them actually talking to each other on the ice.
- One thing I noticed on the powerplay is the Rangers were trying to run a back-door rebound play. That’s where the shooter on the strong side puts the puck on net low and hard while the weak side winger creeps in for a rebound. It almost worked in the first period.
- It’s good to see a Brendan Smith that isn’t totally beaten, defeated, and is willing to put in the effort. Guy almost ended his own career last year. He seems to be rejuvenated and will hold a roster spot. That’s good for him and the Rangers.
- Boy do I hate useless fights. By that I mean staged fights and fights like the Eric Gryba/Matt Beleskey fight that comes after a clean hit. Stupid fight, and then Beleskey hurt his shoulder. I have no problem with fights born from heat of the moment or dirty hits. But that? That was stupid.
- People are going to crucify Marc Staal for the first Devils goal, but Pavel Buchnevich didn’t do him any favors with that pass. Not the best idea.
- Frederik Claesson wants to make this team. He’s been quietly solid.
- Another defenseman making his case is Neal Pionk. Boy did he have a strong game. It goes beyond the pair of assists. He read plays well, made good, crisp passes, and was solid with his positioning. Exactly what you want from your defensemen.
- Based on the above point, I think the Rangers will carry eight defensemen to start the season. Both Pionk and Tony DeAngelo have earned their spots.
- Speed is very hard to defend, that’s what set up Chris Kreider’s goal. Good passes from DeAngelo and Mika Zibanejad made the play as well. But don’t discount Vinny Lettieri’s presence on the strong side at the blue line. He drew attention and opened up more space for the streaking Kreider to get open.
- Lettieri sure does want to make this team. What a game by him.
The broadcast said the Rangers won’t be making any cuts until after the back-to-back to close out the preseason. So it might be a little slow until Thursday night."Thoughts following Rangers/Devils",