The New York Rangers appear to be hitting their stride as the team gets closer and closer to their season-opening game next week. Playing in their final home preseason game of 2022, the Rangers fell to the Boston Bruins by a score of 5-4.
Whether it was the offense scoring on the powerplay again, the first line getting a jolt from a PTO player, or the Kid Line continuing to dominate, New York showed plenty of flashes on Wednesday night.
We have five takeaways coming off the latest loss for the Rangers in the preseason.
Rangers First Line Shines
There were several fans and analysts concerned that Jimmy Vesey, after a strong training camp, was getting a lot of reps with the top line. After the first preseason game showing all three on the ice together, it’s clear that concern might be misplaced.
Vesey helped move the puck effectively and helped attribute to two first-period goals from Mika Zibanejad.
Vesey wasn’t credited with an assist, but his ability to play smart hockey and high motor allowed Chris Kreider and Mika to play more to their strengths.
As long as Mika and Kreider play up their potential, it really won’t matter who plays on the line with them. It also helps that Jimy Vesey has played fantastically throughout the entire preseason.
Kid Line – Part V.
We’re seriously running out of adjectives to explain the dominance of the line of Lafreniere, Chytil, and Kakko throughout the preseason.
In the first period alone, the Kid Line scored a goal on a breakaway, had three excellent scoring chances, and also caused a penalty that results in a powerplay goal.
In the third period, with the team suddenly trailing by one, the Kid Line continued their offensive prowess and scored off another Kakko goal.
This has been the best-looking group out of any line throughout the preseason and camp. They’ve moved the puck extremely well, can get superb shot chances, and offer a dose of physicality most wouldn’t expect to see from a group whose average age is under 25.
Zac Jones excels again
While the final defensive roster battle between Zac Jones and Libor Hajek isn’t “officially” over, Zac Jones did everything he can on Wednesday to close it out.
It wasn’t even that Hajek made terrible errors or stood out in any way. He did record an assist to tie the game at four, but that was the height of his offensive work.
It’s more than Zac Jones has overwhelmingly won the job thanks to his defensive plays and offensive standouts. In the first period, and on the power-play, the Bruins had a short-handed breakaway opportunity that was deflected by Jones.
Jones then quickly moved the puck up the ice and was credited with an assist on the powerplay goal by Mika. Jones has recorded an assist and multiple goals in the preseason thus far and has been consistently excellent through five games.
Jones is the better passer, the better defender, and the better offensive weapon.
This position battle isn’t close anymore for the Rangers.
Igor Shesterkin has stomach problems
While there was some expectation that Igor Shesterkin would start on Wednesday night, there was some surprise when Jaroslav Halak was named the starter before puck drop.
The Rangers quickly quelled any concern for their Vezina winner saying he did not play due to stomach issues.
There shouldn’t be any concern for the Rangers heading into the season opener, but it’s key to note that Igor will most likely get a lot of time in the preseason finale against the Islanders on Saturday.
Ryan Lindgren was listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury but isn’t expected to miss the season opener on Tuesday.
Because of Lindgren’s injury, Adam Fox did not play Wednesday night. That meant the Jacob Trouba-K’Andre Miller line started the game for the Rangers.
It wasn’t a good night for the second top line.
Miller was credited with a turnover that allowed the Bruins to get back in the contest with a breakaway goal, and the group was also on the ice for the Bruin’s first goal as well. Trouba, on his end, was called for a bad penalty before the second period ended as well.
Is there a reason to be concerned? No. Trouba and Miller have looked good for a majority of the preseason but it’s worthy to note that this poor performance came when Fox and Lindgren were not playing in front of them.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism