How far will the Rangers get this season?

Preseason Game #1 Observations
Some analysis from the Rangers 4-3 OT victory over the New Jersey Devils

Marian Gaborik scored twice tonight

Marian Gaborik scored twice tonight

Marian Gaborik’s goal at 3:12 of overtime sealed a win for the Rangers in tonight’s preseason opener.  There were some very encouraging signs from tonight’s game, especially from the youngsters and guys fighting to make the team.  Here are some observations the Garden:


Derek Stepan looks like he belongs.  I maintain that it’s best for him to get seasoning and confidence in the AHL.   I still think there’d be too much expected of him and too much pressure, and that he’ll wear down at some point this season.  But there’s no doubt Stepan can play in the NHL right now, and play well.  Marian Gaborik’s first goal was created entirely by Stepan, who skated out from the corner to the middle of the ice and swung a pass back to Alex Frolov.  The dish caught the Devils defense going the wrong way and turned them back around.  All Frolov had to do was fire a nice touch pass across the crease to a wide open Gaborik, and bang 1-0 Rangers.  For the many of you that think Stepan would be a better fit between Gaborik and Frolov than Erik Christensen, I’ll admit Stepan looked more comfortable there tonight.  Stepan does a nice job in not wasting movement; he gets from point A to point B quickly and is always a part of the action without tiring himself out. 

The Rangers have to be happy with what they saw from Frolov.  His pass to Gaborik was a thing of beauty and his goal, off a Devil turnover, was a sweet deke of Martin Brodeur that made the star New Jersey netminder look silly.  Frolov has critics for a reason, but if he can create space for Gaborik and contribute on the offensive side of the rink on a consistent basis, the Rangers will overlook his shortcomings.

Gaborik scored the game-winner in OT and looked like he was in midseason form.  That “quick release,” as Joe Micheletti likes to call it, was on full display.  Gaborik creates enough chances on his own, if the Rangers can provide him with playmakers he could best last season’s goal total, provided he stays healthy of course 

There’s no denying that Mats Zuccarello (as he’s now called) has a tremendous amount of offensive skill.  He sees the ice very well and had more than a couple very nice passes and scoring chances.  But he also got tossed around by the Devils several times.  As the game went on Zuccarello seemed to brace himself a bit more on impact, once lowering his shoulder into an oncoming check.  The Norwegian Hobbit has the skills to be successful in the NHL, but his size is a huge obstacle and that was very noticeable tonight.  I think he’ll have to start the season in Hartford.


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Posted by Kevin Baumer | September 24, 2010 at 12:04 am

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New York Rangers VS Chicago Blackhawks
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

  1 2 3 OT F
Rangers 3 0 0 - 3
Blackhawks 1 1 0 - 2

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