- The New York Rangers fell to 1-3 during the preseason with a 5-3 loss against the Edmonton Oilers last night at Rexall Place. Like many of the games throughout this preseason, there were some really positive signs, while there were other glaring issues that still need some attention.
- One of the biggest positives out of last night's game was seeing Marc Staal playing at top form once again, and chipping in with a goal in two straight games. The Rangers really missed Staal throughout the second half of a last year, and throughout the playoffs. He was one of the biggest question marks heading into the season, and it appears as if he's right back at the top of his game, which is huge for the Rangers.
- While the Rangers power play went a disappointing 1-for-5 last night, the numbers really didn't tell the entire story. The Rangers power play has actually been really good over the last several games, as they are moving the puck around really well, and getting a handful of scoring chances. One of the biggest improvements over last year is that there is always someone planted right in front of the goalie. It had a direct impact on Dan Girardi's late power play goal, as Benoit Pouliot gave Jason LaBarbera no chance at seeing the puck.
- J.T. Miller played his first game of the preseason last night, and he had a really, really good game. He was strong on the puck in the corners, and even chipped in with a goal on a beautiful effort on the rebound. Miller was setback with his recent hamstring injury, but I wouldn't count him out of the roster spot competition just yet. The kid can flat out play.
- Now, on to some of the glaring issues that came out last night's game. The first three goals from the Edmonton Oilers were uncontested re-directions from right inside the hash marks, and they basically left Martin Biron left out to dry. It wasn't the strongest showing for the Rangers defensemen, as they often blew their coverage in the defensive end, and left players wide open in front of the net. It's an on going process that will likely iron itself out come puck drop against the Phoenix Coyotes, or at least we hope.
- Conor Allen has had himself a great preseason thus far as well. Last night was his second game of his professional career, but you'd never notice it by his play. He has some serious speed, which was evident when he raced back to break up a 2-on-1 from the Oilers late in the third period. He's also very calm and collected with the puck in his own end, and always seems to make the right decision. Unfortunately for him though, the Rangers defensive roles are pretty much ironed out, so he will likely be sent back to Hartford in the next round of cuts. With a strong outing for him in Hartford though, a mid-season call up wouldn't be out of the question.
- Alain Vigneault is expected to announce some more cuts today, which will likely shave the training camp roster down to around 30 players. They weren't expected to make any more cuts until the western road trip was over, so it appears as if AV has made a change in plans. He likely has a pretty good idea of who will be on his opening night roster, so I guess he's starting to make the final preparations.