Rangers ‘B’ Squad Takes it to Richards, Blackhawks
The New York Rangers preseason continued Friday night as the group B squad took it to the Blackhawks, defeating them 4-1 in Chicago.
Goals by Lindberg, Duclair, Miller and Hrivik were all the Rangers needed to defeat the Blackhawks, who will get a chance for revenge next Friday as the two teams will face off again at the Garden.
This group in general seemed ready and roaring to go as Lundqvist looked sharper, stopping 15 of 16 shots, and his replacement Cedrick Dejardins stopping all 12 shots he faced. On the Blackhawks side, Crawford played the full 60, stopping 25 of the 29 shots.
Rick Nash Watch
This was the first preseason game for a player who is heavily under the microscope by the Rangers fan base after a regular season and playoffs that he admitted he would like to forget and move on from.
This is the Rick Nash we know from Columbus. A man who drives hard to the net, pushes the play, skates hard, uses his power to create chances, and his body to make a difference. While he didn’t put one in the net, he assisted on the Duclair goal late in the first period.
While Nash didn’t find the goal column, what we did see is that Nash looks much healthier than he did last year and if he can stay like this, then this could be very good for the Rangers this season. Nash was named the games third star of the night.
Three Up – In No Order
1. Anthony Duclair – A goal and an assist in last night’s contest. He showed that he can turn on the jets at any moment, which he displayed on his goal. He’s a big presence in front of the net, allowing JT Miller to get his deflection past Corey Crawford in the third period for the powerplay goal, and most importantly he looked good with Rick Nash and Derick Brassard. Not once did anyone think he was out of his element or not ready. However, he needs to work on what to do when he’s without the puck, but I feel that’s how it is with any young player making the adjustment to the NHL. If he can keep it up he’s going to make it hard for head coach Alain Vigneault to send him away. Will be this year’s final cut? It doesn’t look bad either when you’re named the first star of the game either.
2. JT Miller – Probably the best Ranger this pre-season (Ducliar has only played 1 game – need to see if he’ll be consistent). I wrote yesterday that in order for Miller to succeed and prove that he’s ready for the NHL, he also needs to be consistent. Getting a powerplay goal helps his case to stay. Very noticeable on ice.
3. Cedrick Dejardins – Looked good stopping all 12 shots he faced when he came in to replace Henrik in the second period. Is going to look good as the number one goaltender in Hartford this coming season.
Three Down – In No Order
1. Dylan McIlrath – Disappointing first game for him tonight. Not looking like he’s quite ready to make the jump. This is a work in progress with him, as it seems like he’s making the right strides to improve his game. He needs to be known besides for his fighting. Honestly reminds me of how Zdeno Chara started out his career when he was on the Island. It’s up to Dylan to show that he’s willing and wanting to take his game to the next level. McIlrath may never be the best skater in the world, but he will need to know how to use his size to his advantage.
2. Oscar Lindberg – For someone that was talked up and everyone was high about the center man in Hartford last year, I didn’t see much. Yes, he scored the first goal for the team early, but after that it was a very quiet game for him. There’s a spot for the taking right now with Derek Stepan out, and there is that coveted third line spot up for grabs as well. But with Miller standing out and distancing himself from the rest of the pack, Lindberg needs to raise his game. And his 44% on face offs, well that needs to be worked on heavily.
3. Ryan Haggerty – He played 10:08 tonight and was invisible on the ice. Starting down in Hartford to get him seasoned more won’t hurt him, it’ll help him understand the pro game a little bit more, which is what he really needs.