Hasn’t missed a beat (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Rangers lost their third preseason game –and second straight– tonight in Edmonton, but it was not all negative. J.T. Miller and Connor Allen played extremely well tonight. Allen is leapfrogging kids on the depth chart very, very quickly. We all know about Miller’s potential, and the kid played will with Arron Asham and Chris Kreider. Marc Staal also showed what he brings to the Rangers when he is fully healthy. Boy did he look good. Very assertive with the puck.
Starting with the powerplay, the Rangers are moving the puck well, but they are still holding the puck a little too long. It was nice to see people in front of the net with the man advantage as well. It’s still a work in progress, and this wasn’t their top powerplay unit out there. It was nice to see Ryan McDonagh get some time out there too.
For those wondering, it was a 2-1-2 (spread) on the 5 on 3, and an umbrella on the 5 on 4s.
Connor Allen has some wheels on him. Kid got back really quickly on the Ben Eager shorty. He forced the shot, and it was just some bad puck luck. That’s a goal that happens in NHL 14. Kevin is big on Marek Hrivik (as am I), but Allen has been very, very impressive.
As mentioned above, JT Miller and Marc Staal sure looked good. Staal isn’t missing a beat after that gruesome eye injury. Ditto Miller and his hammy.
There was one shift in the second where the Rangers had two guys pressing on the forecheck and one guy at the blue line to hold the zone. AV is a 1-2-2 guy, so this struck me as interesting. The Rangers had been moving the puck in the zone during that shift, so I’m not sure if this was just working with what the opposition gave them, or a shift in the way AV will coach this team.
It’s worth noting that the Rangers have shown more puck support and a more aggressive offensive zone pursuit when the play has been in the zone for a while (either via face off or via offensive cycling).
Nice to see Dom Moore wearing the ‘A’.
Arron Asham with another quietly solid game.
Has anyone seen his game disappear faster than Chris Kreider? I’m not concerned yet, the kid still qualifies as a rookie. That said, he is not playing well without the puck and he is not scoring. Two penalties in the first period, at least he picked up an assist in the second. He played well in the third too.
Benoit-Pouliot-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello. Yea. That line will stick.
If I have one complaint about Dan Girardi, it’s that he is too methodical with the puck in the offensive zone. Grip it and rip it, one-time it, something. There was a shift in the third where he had the puck with a wide open shot from the point. He held the puck for a good second and a half, and then wristed a softy to the net. Guy has a cannon. Use it (that’s what he did on his PP goal, more consistency).
Again, this is preseason. The Rangers have played fewer games than the rest of the NHL and are carrying more non-NHLers than the rest of the NHL.
New York has a much-needed day off tomorrow before another pair of games on Thursday and Friday to close out the preseason. It wouldn’t shock me to see cuts made tomorrow, since this roster is still pretty heavy with kids that won’t make the team. I’d expect the club to keep the starters, the fringe veterans (Asham, Powe), and the kids who are really pushing for a spot.