Rangers Take it to the Shootout; Edge Blackhawks

Rangers celebrate goal scored by Martin St. Louis (#26) in the second period. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Rangers celebrate goal scored by Martin St. Louis (#26) in the second period. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

It was a little bit different outcome, and a much tighter game this time around. It also took longer than the 60 minutes scheduled, and even longer than the extra five as the Rangers took it to the bottom of the ninth and won. A walk-off shootout goal from Ryan Malone and the Rangers win it 3-2 over the Hawks.

Marty takes Center Stage

It was a totally new look for Martin St. Louis as he played center for the Rangers. It was earlier in the week that we learned about Marty contacting AV letting him know that he’d step into the center role with Derek Stepan out 4-6 weeks with a broken fibula.

While he did win 46% of his faceoffs, and his ability to win a draw got better as his game went on, defensively he was weak. A lot of scoring chances were given up when his line was on the ice, and he seemed out of place and trying to find his positioning in the defensive zone.

Offensively, same old Marty – deflecting a Hunwick shot from the point (thanks to “The Duke” for setting that whole play up), gave the Rangers an early 1-0 lead. AV told reporters he liked what he saw, but was quick to state that he wouldn’t be in the lineup tomorrow against New Jesey.

The Kids that Matter

Lars-Erik Sjoberg award winner Anthony Duclair (award given to best Rangers rookie during training camp), Jesper Fast (last year’s Sjoberg winner), JT Miller and Kevin Hayes all got looks tonight. When you watch each of them play, especially Duclair, since everyone has put him under the microscope – you see the flaws. However, you also see the bright spots each have.

Duclair, was caught trying to skate down the ice, which caused the Blackhawks goal by Andrew Shaw to make it 2-1 Chicago. Still, you have to look at what he did right too. Which, most importantly was win that puck battle which led to the Marty goal. Or how he stood up to Shaw in the first?

Jesper Fast continues to quietly shine, as he shows that he has taken his game to the next level, added some size, and is ready to show that he is ready to stay in the NHL.

With Kevin Hayes and JT Miller, here are two guys who have had some ups and downs in the preseason. If I had to chose who the center would be, it’d be JT Miller. You have to allow Hayes to develop and get some time learning how to be a pro in the AHL. Do I think we’ll see Hayes on the Rangers roster sometime this season? Yes. Not for opening night though.

Saying Goodbye to the Pre-Season

The Pre-Season for the Rangers wraps up tomorrow at the Rock, and the Rangers roster already looks very young as the spotlight shines brightly on them to give AV a really tough decision to make as the Rangers head into St. Louis.

Though, one name left off the list, and should be very telling is Dylan McIlrath. McIlrath, who was in the running for the seventh defenseman spot, is better suited in Hartford to get the playing time to help him develop. Not playing consistently will hurt his development, that seems like its going in the right direction. Let it continue at that.

Joining Miller, Duclair, Hayes and Fast will be Haggerty, Hrivik, Lindberg, and Mueller all battling for a roster spot. Returning to the roster after a groin injury is Matthew Lombardi who is trying to prove that he has what it takes to return to the NHL. The seventh defensive spot should be decided once and for all after Saturday’s game as Kostka, Kampfer and Hunwick will all game get action.

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