Quick Hits- Rangers vs. Devils 9/20/17 (preseason)

Quick Hits recap of the Rangers 4-3 overtime victory over the Devils.


Jimmy Vesey- The second year wing looked fantastic. Very strong on the puck, and skillful with his decisions, Vesey looked liked an improved player ready to step up and grab a top 6 role. On the first Rangers goal, on the power play, Vesey did well to hit a seem to accept a great Kevin Shattenkirk pass. He then, skillfully, gained the offensive zone and feathered a honey of a pass to a streaking Kevin Hayes, who deftly scored inside the left post. On a second period power play Vesey also made a behind the back, backdoor pass to an open Hayes, who got robbed by Devils goalie Corey Schneider. This pair was dangerous all night, setting each other up for good chances. Their chemistry was very obvious and something to build on in the coming season. A jump in production by Vesey would be a spring board for a better team.

Kevin Hayes- Hayes has the look of a more serious player. He seemed to really want the puck all night. He got his share of chances of feeds by Vesey, and set up a few good ones in the third period by right wing Ryan Gropp. In my opinion, i think Michael Grabner would be a great fit with Hayes and Vesey in the regular season. Hayes played in all situations last night. There was ample specialty play, and flourished. He also won 10 of 14 faceoffs. A fully engaged, and improved Kevin Hayes, is vital to the team with the loss of Derek Stepan and Oscar Lindberg.

Kevin Shattenkirk- The Rangers debut of prized free agent signing, Kevin Shattenkirk was nothing short of stellar. His patient, spot on pass to Vesey sprung the first goal of the night. He featured many perfect passes all night, that caught the recipient in full stride, like a great NFL quarter-back. The power play was productive and dangerous when he was on the ice. He has a natural flair for knowing where to go to not just receive a pass, but to then do something very productive with it. He isn’t shy about shooting (THANK GOD!), which is something this team really needs more of. Another benefit the organization may reap from having him is the effect he will have on Anthony De Angelo and Neal Pionk. Both young Rangers have similar styles as Shattenkirk, and can greatly benefit from watching and learning from him

Chris Kreider– All night long, Kreider was flying up a wing, catching a great lead pass, and going to the net. He forced the action and intimidated with his speed. He and Mats Zuccarello (though, who doesn’t have chemistry with Zucc?) seemed to be in sync all night. Rookie Filip Chytil surely didn’t get in the way. More on him, later. On the numerous power plays, Kreider was strong on the boards and stout in front of the net. His second period goal came when he used his speed and strength to hit a hole down the left side, get a Zuccarello lead in stride, and fire the puck off Schneider’s shoulder and in. He also bagged an assist on a David Desharnais tally, several minutes later. A streaking Kreider is a weapon Blue Shirts opponents do not want to deal with.

David Desharnais- Signed to be the Rangers 4th line center, Desharnais played in all situations, also, last night. He went to the net and deflected a Shattenkirk shot past Schneider, seconds after a power play ended. His skating ability and craftiness were on display all night. His penalty killing was strong. He won 8 of 15 draws.
Henrik Lundqvist– In Lundqvist’s first game of the season, he was very solid. He stopped all 8 shots he faced in a power play filled first period. The Devils had 3 first period man advantages, including a 5 on 3. In the second period, the Devils broke through when Drew Stafford sent an aerial pass to the net that Pavel Zacha batted out of mid air, for the first Devil tally. Defenseman John Gilmour didn’t pick up Zacha at all on the play. The second Devils goal came on the power play off a crisp passing play lead to a point blank one-timer by Brian Gibbons.

Filip Chytil- I was able to go to the game and watch the pre-game warmup. Keep an eye on Chytil, he has size and a bit lanky. He handles the puck so well, and smoothly. His skating ability is off the charts. He cuts and turns like he is on rails. He certainly has all of the tools to have a great career in the NHL. He was not of place skating with Kreider and Zuccarello. He and Zucc almost combined to score a beauty in the first period. Chytil held his own on te boards, and went to the net without trepidation. He drew the first penalty of the game, and won 5 out of 9 draws. On the overtime, game winning goal, he re-positioned himself smartly to get a clear path to receive and bury a one-timer. The Rangers will certainly have a tough decision to make on this player. In the end, we have to remember that he turned 18 2 weeks ago, and is probably not physically developed enough to compete in the NHL for 82 games. More likely next year.

Notes- If the NHL wants to charge their loyal customers full price for a preseason game, how about not ruining the on ice product with the asinine faceoff violations? The crowd was very disgruntled to say the least….Andrew Desjardines? No, thank you. Not impressed…Ryan Gropp? Can’t be so afraid to make a mistake.

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