The New York Rangers dropped their first preseason game of the year 2-1 to the New Jersey Devils, but there were many positives that popped up throughout the game. The top line of Brad Richards, Rick Nash and Chris Kreider looked good the entire game, and had a handful of scoring chances. Cam Talbot also had a very strong outing the second half of the game, and made a few key saves in close.
The game started out a little undisciplined on both sides as Danny Kristo took an early tripping call, followed by Reid Boucher hooking penalty in the first two minutes of the game. Neither team was able to convert on their shortened power plays, and we returned to 5-on-5 hockey. Henrik Lundqvist looked very good in the opening few minutes, and he practically looked like he was in mid-season form.
However, Mattias Tedenby was able to chip a loose puck over the glove of Lundqvist just over halfway through the second period. Rostislav Olesz was credited with the primary assist and he forced the puck on net from the goal line, which wound up bouncing right out to Tedenby in the slot. The Rangers were buzzing around the net for the remainder of the period, but they weren't able to solve Corey Schneider, who had a really, really good game between the pipes.
While there were a lack of goals in the second period, there were a heck of a lot of penalties to make up for it. One of those penalties being a scrap between Brandon Mashinter and Cam Janssen. Mashinter actually held his own pretty well, and the fight was pretty even for the most part. However, fighting and preseason don't really mix well, and it was nice to get back to some hockey following the fisticuffs
The Rangers came out in the third period looking for the equalizer, which was quickly squashed by a blast from Eric Gelinas. Adam Henrique provided a solid screen in front of Talbot, and he never even caught a glance of the puck. Nonetheless, the Rangers went right back to work in the offensive zone, were the soon chased in on a rebound. Danny Kristo and Marek Hrivik chipped away at the side of the net, and the puck wound up landing right on the stick of Dominic Moore, who shoveled it into the empty cage.
I said it on Twitter, and I'll say it again on here. It's awesome to see Dom Moore get a goal in his first competitive game back. He went through hell and back over the last year or so, and no one deserves to score that goal more than him. Just an overall great story.
Anyways, the Rangers really picked up the intensity in the second half of the third period, and almost tied up the game on a few different chances. John Moore made a beautiful cross ice feed over to Danny Kristo, who just barely missed on the redirection in front, with a few minutes remaining. Chris Kreider also had a solid chance as he swooped in, and made a nice cross ice feed that eventually went unanswered.
The Rangers wound up striking out in the final minute and a half with the goalie pulled, and dropped their first preseason game by a score of 2-1. While it's always tough watching a loss, it's an exhibition game for a reason. There is some work to be done, but it's to be expected this early on the season.
I'll finish this up with a few players who I thought had a very good game, and really stood out among the rest. Those being John Moore, Chris Kreider, Marek Hrivik, Danny Kristo, and Brad Richards. Moore was all over the ice tonight, and his skating compliments his game so much. That Gaborik trade just keeps getting better each and every game. Chris Kreider, Marek Hrivik, and Danny Kristo all had a solid game in the offensive zone, and each had a few opportunities to get the Rangers on the board.
Finally, we have Brad Richards, who looked like a completely different player compared to last year. I know it's only one game, but Richards looked very good, and had a few good chances on the power play as well. If Richards returns to his 2011-2012 form, the Rangers will have a very, very deep team down the middle.
The Rangers will be right back at it tomorrow night in Philadelphia as they take on the Philadelphia Flyers at 7:00 PM. The lineup for that game has yet to be released, but we do know that Cam Talbot and Martin Biron will be the goalies.