The New York Rangers started off their Traverse City Tournament with a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues. A lot of fans went into this game with high expectations, and the Rangers responded very well.
The Rangers had a ton of energy and speed tonight, and it sure showed on the scoreboard. The most noticeable players tonight were Tim Erixon, Carl Hagelin, Ryan Bourque, Christian Thomas, Blake Parlett and Dylan McIlrath. Hagelin, Bourque and Thomas put their speed and skill on display tonight, and impressed a lot of fans.
Tim Erixon started the game off with a power play goal and put the Rangers up 1-0 early on. Erixon seemed very calm with the puck, and made the simple plays, which ended up being the smartest. He could easily be a top power play quarterback for the Rangers next season.
Shortly after the Erixon goal, Randy McNaught put the Rangers up 2-0 on a re-direction in front of the net. St. Louis fought back and tied the game up 2-2 heading into the second period. Carl Hagelin fired a laser, and started off the second period with a powerplay goal, which put the Blueshirts up 3-2.
Ryan Bourque followed up with a shorthanded goal, which put his speed on display, as he broke in on a semi-breakaway and sniped it five-hole. Jonathan Audy-Marchesault finished off the scoring, with another powerplay goal, on another re-direction in front of the Blues net.
Late in the 3rd period, Randy McNaught dropped the gloves with Cody Beach, and the two exchanged jabs. Neither player got the upper hand in the fight, and it was pretty even.
The powerplay was very active tonight, and scored three times. They made crisp, clean passes that made it almost impossible for St.Louis to gain possession. The penalty kill also put on a show, as they had multiple scoring chances from Ryan Bourque while a man down.
Follow after the jump for my overall analysis of the key players tonight.As stated earlier, the most noticeable players tonight were Tim Erixon, Carl Hagelin, Ryan Bourque, Christian Thomas, Blake Parlett, and Dylan McIlrath. Erixon and McIlrath both seemed poised on the blue line, and had very smooth skating. They both have a tremendous release, which was shown on the powerplay tonight.
Ryan Bourque and Christian Thomas both had speed tonight. Every time down the ice, they had the extra step on their opponent, which led to many opportunities. Carl Hagelin also had tremendous puck handling tonight, and made it count with his powerplay goal, which put the Rangers up 3-2.
Blake Parlett was a real surprise tonight as he added three assists on five of the Rangers goals. He had excellent blue line presence and moved the puck very well. It should be interesting to see how he pans out over the next three games.
Jason Missiaen had a shaky start, and let in two goals on the first five shots. In the final two periods, he got his game back together and stood tall for the rest of the game. Missiaen will receive one more start in this tournament.
Overall, it was a great first game by the Rangers. They had great puck movement, with a deadly combination of speed and size, which led them to victory.
The Rangers next game will be tomorrow night, against the Dallas Stars at 6:00 PM. We will have an open game thread, starting at 5:30 PM. Be sure to be there!