Rangers Vs. Flames: Rangers Drop Second Preseason Game (But Score On The Power Play!)

Bruce Bennett

Notes from the Rangers loss to the Flames.

- I guess we should start with the power play, which looks so much better than it did last year it's really hard to articulate it properly. The Rangers actually lug the puck into the zone (rather than utilizing the dump and chase), move the puck to create shooting opportunities and have guys crash the net. Also, Alain Vigneault has obviously made it a priority to have the defenseman join the rush, which comes through even more on the power play.

- Speaking of joining the rush, is there any doubt John Moore has all the tools to be a superstar in this system? He joins the rush effortlessly, uses his skating ability to create space for himself and has looked at home on the point. I think a lot of his creativity was stifled last year, but this year (through two preseason games) he's gotten the big minutes -- over 20 minutes last night -- and has had the leeway to do something in the offensive zone. I love his potential, I really do.

- Call this the game where Marek Hrivik thrust himself ahead of Danny Kristo in the race to make the team out of camp. In the first period Hrivik showcased his size and speed when he stole the puck at the blue line in his own zone, powered his way through two Flames defenseman and then burst in for a breakaway (where he was basically mugged without a call). He didn't score, but it really doesn't matter. That's something the Rangers need more of from their younger guys.

- Still, I like what Kristo brings to the table. Offensively you can see he has all the tools to make something of himself in this league, and he's been very dangerous in the offensive zone so far. I'm just not sure he makes this team out of camp, which is both a good and a bad thing. It's a really good problem if you're the Rangers, but Kristo might have to spend a little time in the AHL before he gets his break on Broadway. We'll see if that changes, though. He has time.

- I liked Chris Kreider's game a lot. And I like him on that top line with Brad Richards and Rick Nash. I really think he makes a splash this year. It's just a feeling, but I think Kreider (as much as anyone on this team) has really embraced this fresh start.

- Michael Del Zotto played well. I'll leave it at that. He made a couple of mistakes, yes, but he was fine overall.

- Marc Staal looks so much better. Yes, he scored on the power play but that's not even what I'm talking about. Just in general, Staal looks like he's fully healthy.

- Here comes the panic because the Rangers only scored one goal against the Flames. Remember, this isn't the actual Rangers. It's like the half Rangers. There was no Ryan McDonagh or Dan Girardi on defense. The offense was without guys like Derick Brassard, Mats Zuccarello and Benoit Pouliot. That doesn't even include the injured Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin duo, or the unsigned Derek Stepan. So, pump the breaks a little if you're nervous. We're a ways away from the lineup this team will be icing on a nightly basis.

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