The New York Rangers iced a very prospect-heavy lineup tonight in hopes of getting some of the kids on the bubble to step up against an actual NHL lineup. For the most part, considering the Flyers roster, the Rangers didn't play a terrible game, and there were still a few standouts.
Kevin Hayes and Anthony Duclair were two that caught my attention most of the night, and it wasn't for the flashy plays either. Hayes was plugged in at center once again tonight, and had a handful of scoring opportunities including a beautiful move to pull Ray Emery out of crease. Unfortunately for him, he wound up putting it off of the post, and then it was swiped away by Nicklas Grossmann on his second attempt.
Duclair picked up yet another goal tonight, and once again, always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Duclair had a relatively quiet game compared to his other two games, but he still had his flashes of brilliance. There has been a lot to like about Duclair thus far, and with the next round of cuts coming up, it will be pretty telling if he makes it through unscathed.
The Rangers started off the game relatively quickly once again, as Carl Hagelin pounced on a breakout pass from Dominic Moore to give the Rangers the 1-0 lead. The goal wound up coming while shorthanded, and former Ranger Michael Del Zotto created the turnover with his patented stretch pass through the neutral zone. Mat Bodie made an excellent play to step up at the blue line to stop the attack, and got it up to Domiinc Moore to create the odd-man rush. Hagelin was pretty much off to the races at that point, and all Moore had to do was flip it in the general vicinity of Hagelin to catch him breaking in.
Sean Couturier wound up knotting the game up at 1-1 later on in the first period off of a deflected shot in front of Cam Talbot's crease. Bodie went down to block the shot near the faceoff dot, and the puck ticked off of his stick which fooled Talbot with the change up. The Flyers continued their pressure in the offensive zone, and tacked on two more goals in the second period to take a 3-1 lead.
Nicklas Grossmann was the recipient of the first goal after he bombed a slap shot through traffic, and the puck somehow found it's way under the arm of Talbot. A few minutes later, Wayne Simmonds picked up his first goal of the night on a nifty little redirection at the top of the crease. Simmonds wound up getting the inside position on Kevin Hayes while cutting to the net, and was able to get a piece of Matt Read's shot to redirect it over Talbot's pad.
Things were looking pretty grim for the Rangers up until that point, but then it was Anthony Duclair who got things started off quickly in the third period. Dominic Moore deserves most of the credit for this goal, as he made an excellent cross-ice feed through traffic, and put the puck right on Duclair's stick at the far post. Duclair also deserves a ton of credit for the quick release after receiving the pass, which gave Emery little time to get square to the shot.
The Rangers weren't able to muster up the second half of the comeback, and Matt Read finally iced the game with a little over 30 seconds left with the empty net goal.
Another round of cuts are expected to come at some point tomorrow, with Alain Vigneault hoping to trim the roster down to 30 players. It's coming down to crunch time here over these next couple of days, and these last two preseason games should give a good indication as to what the opening roster may look like come October 8th.