The New York Rangers dropped the puck on their pre-season this evening as they hosted the Boston Bruins in an exhibition match. The Rangers lost the game 2-1 as Christopher Higgins scored the lone goal for New York.
Of course, because this is preseason, the score does not matter but rather how certain players performed on the ice. Here are a few that stuck out in my eyes:
Matt Gilroy- The Hobey Baker award winner looked a little shaky at the beginning of the game but really showed what he can do. His skating was phenomenal and seeing him carry the puck up the ice looked a little reminiscent of Brian Leetch flying through the neutral zone back in yesteryear. As the game went on Gilroy got much better as he had two big chances in the game to score but could not put it home. He does need to work on his play in his own zone but Ranger fans must be pleased with the way Gilroy has started things off.
Evgeny Grachev- The big Russian forward was put on a line with Artem Anisimov and Enver Lisin and did not look out of place out there on the ice. He had a few good chances including a turn around wrist shot that rookie goaltender Tuukka Rask somehow stopped. Grachev's speed was noticeable and he used his large size to his advantage. While I still do not think he will make the big club on opening night, it is clear that Grachev does not have very far to go.
Michael Del Zotto- Easily one of the best Rangers on the ice, Del Zotto played with poise and showed his skills at the point on the power play. While New York did not convert on the man advantage Del Zotto helped instill a puck moving game that forced the Bruins to be on their heels. Del Zotto has a chance to make this team.
Donald Brashear- I bet you were not expecting to see this name pop up. Despite getting booed every time he touched the puck, which fans really should stop, Brashear had a good Ranger debut. While it was a little weird to see him in Ranger blue Brashear won me over by his hard style and constantly driving to the net. He had a few chances to score and played a solid physical game. Hopefully he can do that and more consistently over the course of the season.
Matt Maccarone- Did you see that kid's mustache?
Those are a few who stood out to me and who I really was paying attention to the whole time. I liked the physical play that set the tone and when the Rangers were moving the puck around it was a beautiful sight. Seeing Ales Kotalik bomb shots from the point was great while the cycling and hard work of the team as the game went on was very refreshing.
Of course this is only one preseason game so the team can't be completely judged especially since the whole squad was not on the ice. The next preseason game is Wednesday night at the Rock in Newark as the Rangers will ice a different squad to take on the Devils in some preseason action. Game time is 7 PM. Look to the Ranger beat writers for a roster for tomorrow's game. Check out the recap of tonight's game over on the Ranger website by clicking here.