Prevailment was the key to the Ranger’s victory in tonight’s opening preseason tilt against our rivals across the hudson in the New Jersey Devils. Being down a goal three times in the game, the Blueshirts managed to return the favor with a goal of their own each and every time in large part to the outstanding play of Lias Andersson, who tickled the twine twice in his 19:11 of ice time.
Prior to tonight’s matchup, David Quinn prioritized one thing to his new team. Defense, defense, defense. Just five minutes into the game, New York committed the first of four first period penalties. Devils forward Nick Lappin scored early in the powerplay due to a sloppy turnover in the defensive zone as enforcer Cody Mcleod was unable to intercept a slow roller to the stick of Lappin. The Rangers uneven play did settle down throughout the period. Fortunately, 2017 7th overall pick Lias Andersson netted a stunning shorthanded goal in which he chipped a forehand shot just over Keith Kinkaid’s shoulder. Supposed sniper John Quenneville put the puck in just 52 seconds later on Alexander Georgiev. Soon after, on yet another powerplay(one of the thirteen called in the game), Buchnevich stepped into a clapper off a faceoff win just two seconds into the powerplay to tie the game. The Rangers defense was excellent in the second allowing just seven shots and the attack managed eleven. After a second Lappin goal in the early stages of the third, Andersson came in with his second by laying out for a spectacular goal past goaltender Cameron Johnson.
The young superstar, Neal Pionk, capitalized on a sensational passing sequence with Pavel Buchnevich and Jesper Fast to send the Rangers home with still 3:40 remaining in the overtime period. Pionk led the team in ice time playing over 23 minutes. Clearly, coach David Quinn was impressed by his play.
I really liked the overall play of the Ranger’s tonight. The defense played well after the first and the young kids stepped up. Ville Meskanen was one who caught my eye tonight. His speed down the ice was shown and he let his shot rip nearly netting it twice. Jesper Fast had a casual +2 +\- as well. Fans should be quite enthralled with the play of Alexander Georgiev and Marek Mazanec. Georgiev would finish with a solid 16 saves before being taken over by Czech native Mazanec late in the second period. Mazanec closed off the game in the Blueshirts net making 8/9 saves.
This game really felt different from the last ten to twenty from last year under Alain Vigneault. The team was clearly more energized and wanted to play. Every Rangers goal resulted in a smile from the scorer. The Blueshirts constantly fought back. And they competed as a team that seemed as if they have been playing together for weeks upon weeks. Afterwards, it was encouraging to see David Quinn joyous while describing the flow of the game. Although this team may not be an elite playoff one this year, there is much potential and a lot to look forward to.
The Blueshirts next play on Wednesday against the Flyers at the Garden. Henrik Lundqvist will be in action according to Coach Quinn! A real solid win and start to the preseason for the boys on broadway.
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