Rangers Vs. Flyers: Derick Brassard Leads The Rangers To Their First Preseason Win

Bruce Bennett

Notes from the Rangers win over Philadelphia.

- Just like after their first preseason game -- when I told you all you couldn't take too much stock in the New York Rangers loss to the New Jersey Devils -- you can't put too much weight behind the Rangers win against the Flyers Tuesday night. It was a good game, and a solid effort from the guys who also played in New Jersey the night before, but the lineup was completely different, so it's not really apples to apples.

- However, there are systemic things you can walk away with. The Rangers are a much, much better team in terms of moving the puck. Their power play (despite being 0-for through the first two games) looks miles better than it did last year. And the Rangers offensive strategy of crashing the net has been the driving force behind all four of the Rangers goals through these first two preseason games. I'm loving the changes Alain Vigneault has implemented already, and it's only been two games.

- Another thing you can take from Tuesday? Derick Brassard is a special player. He had a goal and an assist in the game, and both of them probably made every single Columbus Blue Jackets fan cringe when they saw the replay. The goal came off a brilliant behind the net feed from Mats Zuccarello (more on him in a bit) and Brassard (who was in the slot) fired the puck home. His assist came after a Dylan McIlrath shot from the point was stopped and Brassard made a pretty move around the defender and -- with two Flyers draped around him -- fed a perfect pass to a driving Benoit Pouliot who put the shot home. Brassard was the Rangers best player last year in the playoffs and was the best player from the past two games.

- Speaking of Zuccarello, Sam and Joe talked about thinking he might have a really big year under Vigneault this season. That's a sentiment we've talked about here a lot, and one I know a lot of you agree with. I'm in that camp, too. That entire line (Pouliot - Brassard - Zuccarello) worked really, really well together, and Zuccarello was a big part of that.

- Pouliot talked before the game about wanting to create chaos in front of the net, and that's exactly what he did and where his goal came from. So, mission accomplished.

- Let's say it at the top: McIlrath had a pretty poor game. Despite his assist, many fans were already crying out that he's a "bust" and that he "doesn't belong in the NHL ever." I'm not going to argue against him having a rough night, but he's coming off major knee surgery (that caused him to miss all but five games last season) and this was his first NHL game ever. So can we cut the kid a little slack, please? I'm not saying he's going to make the team, but the panic level on him needs to stop.

- Darroll Powe (who, sadly, I don't think is going to make the team) scored his first goal as a Ranger on Tuesday. Good for him. Powe works his butt off every single night, is a great penalty killer and is good in his own zone. There's just too much skill -- note: that's a good thing -- to put him in the lineup.

- Martin Biron and Cam Talbot (who looked great against the Devils on Monday) were really good. Talbot specifically has been great all preseason, with his best save of the night coming on a Vincent Lecavalier shot ticketed for the top corner that he just got a piece of as time was winding down.

- Like I said at the top, the power play looks much better. The Rangers got really close on two separate occasions to scoring with the man advantage, but they couldn't finish. Still, I'm so happy with the changes made there. And, more importantly, we've seen four different players man the point on the power play and it's looked good with all of them.

- The Rangers don't play again until Monday, and cuts are expected to come out sometime today, so keep it here for everything you need.

Thoughts, guys?

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