Rangers’ Preseason Game 1 Review
The New York Rangers opened their preseason at home last night with a 5-4 loss to the New Jersey Devils. While there was a great deal of room for improvement, a lot of the Rangers’ new acquisitions had some impressive first games that could be a great sign of things to come.
The Rangers did not get off to the best of starts, as two deflections got past Henrik Lundqvist less than four minutes into the game that put the Rangers down 2-0. But New York tied it up on goals by the speedy Carl Hagelin and newly acquired winger Ryan Malone on the very first power play the Rangers’ had. New Jersey retook the lead in the second period on a Michael Ryder deflection, then extended its lead to 4-2 in the third on a five on three power play goal by Eric Gelinas.
But the Rangers would once again overcome a two-goal deficit on goals by Chris Kreider and Jasper Fast with under five minutes to play in regulation. New York ended up blinking last, surrendering another goal to Adam Henrique with under a minute to go in the game giving the Devils the 5-4 victory.
Despite the loss, there were plenty of positives that came from last night’s game for the Blueshirts. In their first competitive game together as a new unit with key components like Rick Nash, Kevin Klein, Derick Brassard and others out of the lineup, the Rangers managed to overcome two goal deficits twice, which is nice to see so early in the preseason. The fact that Malone scored on the very first power play the Rangers had this preseason is also very uplifting, given the struggle this team has had on the power play for the last two decades. Granted, it would’ve been nice if the Rangers were able to sustain that power play and not score on their last five of the game, but scoring one is better than scoring none.
Speaking of Malone, who had the aforementioned power play goal, there were a few Rangers’ acquisitions from this offseason that made very nice contributions in their effort to gain one of the last remaining roster spots the Rangers have open. With the third line center position still up in the air, both Matt Lombardi and Chris Mueller played fairly well. Lombardi tallied 3:55 in penalty kill time and one 42.9 percent of his face offs, while Muller tabbed an assist, spent 2:45 on the power play unit and won 53.3 percent of his face offs. Dan Boyle had a -1 rating, but looked very effective on the power play at the blue line in his 19:32 on the ice (3:53 of that on the man advantage).
There were also some players who the Rangers were looking to possibly take the next step in their development as players who also played very well tonight. J.T. Miller had two very nice assists and won 44.4 percent of his face offs in over 14 minutes of ice time, and Jasper Fast had a very nice slap shot goal in the third period and also spent some time on the Rangers’ penalty kill that only let up one goal in seven attempts tonight.
Goaltenders Henrik Lundqvist and Cam Talbot weren’t spectacular in their split time, Lundqvist with the three tip ins he let in and Talbot looking out of position on the game winning goal, but preseason rust will come and is understandable. The Rangers also shouldn’t give teams 14 minutes of power play time either, but it’s only the first game after a long offseason. The Rangers may have lost, but there were plenty of good things to take away from last night’s game and build off on Friday when they take on the Blackhawks in Chicago.