Despite losing to the Bruins 2-1 last night in the first pre-season game of the 2009-10 season, the Rangers have to be encouraged by some of the signs they saw in tonight's game.
Matt Gilroy and Michael Del Zotto, two of the leading candidates to make the team on defense, both showed speed and great ability at both ends of the ice. Neither player was afraid to get deep in the offensive zone and join the play, and Del Zotto showed that he is someone to be considered for the long needed power play quarterback position. Gilroy also had a nasty cut over his eye, made him look more like a hockey player and less like the kid down the street who cuts your lawn.
Evgeny Grachev played a terrific game, hustling for the puck at every opportunity, and getting a few good scoring chances. If his strong play continues, he is going to make it very difficult for the Rangers not to keep him on the roster.
Chris Higgins, looking every bit the grinding winger who can score the Rangers hoped for when they traded for him. Higgins scored the lone goal for the Rangers.
The conditioning of the team already beginning to show, the Rangers were by far the stronger team in the third period, and had great skating legs all night long.
While the power play was unsuccessful, they did move the puck well, and Ales Kotalik looks like he may be a solution on the point as well.
Like I said, hard to get too wrapped up in the first pre-season game, but I think you have to like much of what you saw tonight.
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