Panarin in midseason form as Rangers get a preseason win

Artemiy Panairn and the NYR powerplay are one of the many Rangers keys to success
Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo via AP

The Rangers were brutal on Sunday, but had a solid game against the Providence Bruins. Artemiy Panarin is clearly ready for regular season hockey, carrying the Rangers with three points. There was certainly some rust on a lot of the veterans, but some of the kids and new acquisitions looked solid. The Rangers were much crisper against the Bruins, which is likely a product of more practice time and the lineup the Bruins dressed.

  • It is very good to see Kaapo Kakko pulling out nifty moves on his first shift. I expect Gerard Gallant will give him much more freedom offensively. His confidence to be able to pull that on his first shift is a good sign.
  • Sammy Blais made a nice read in the first period to take the puck from Linus Ullmark behind the net. There was no one in front for the empty net, but it was still a nice read.
  • Perhaps it was just on the penalty kill in the first, but I did notice them be much more aggressive up top. Pressuring the puck carrier up top could lead to turnovers and shorthanded chances. Could just be a coincidence, but something to watch for.
  • Artemiy Panarin draws so much attention to him, and that is an unappreciated aspect of his game. The points are the points, but every player on the ice watches him and it opens ice for other Rangers. In this case, it was Anthony Bitetto who found the open ice for the goal.
  • Unpopular opinion: The fan base will grow to like Blais by the end of the season. The calls for Dryden Hunt to play will still be there, but they will be for him to play over Ryan Reaves. The reality is that the trio will likely be rotating by November.
  • Kakko got the inside position on the second goal, which was a set play off the face off. He’s going to have a monster year.
  • That Studnicka goal will draw the ire of some fans looking to crucify Jacob Trouba. It’s not a one person break down, as the Rangers were changing, which opened a lane for the break out. Then K’Andre Miller looked to dive and miss the initial pass to Lysell, and Trouba had trouble covering the now 3-on-1. Goals happen, and this isn’t a goal with a specific defensive breakdown.
  • Panarin is a cheat code. A breakaway against an AHL goalie isn’t fair.
  • Blais has really looked good this game.
  • Rob brought up an interesting point in the BSB chat – do you just sit Panarin for the rest of the preseason? The comparison was to an elite QB in the NFL. Why risk it? He’s ready.
  • Trouba and Miller looked a little off during the game, but that’s fine.
  • Lauri Pajuniemi was relatively quiet all game until that third period powerplay. Dude has an absolute cannon. Got two solid chances, then back checked to break up the 2 on 1 the other way. Still unsure where he fits in the grand scheme of things, even in the long term, but that was a fun shift to watch.
  • Braden Schneider looked good. Steady. Nothing flashy. Just getting his feet wet in the NHL.
  • Reiterating what was said last game, the Rangers do have a problem with the 7, 8, and 9D on the team, assuming they are Tinordi, Bitetto, and Hajek, in that order. If there’s a long term injury, I expect Schneider or Jones would be the first call ups. But short term? Those aren’t good options.

The Rangers looked much better against the Bruins, which again was expected. Results don’t necessarily matter that much in the preseason, but it is nice to get that win