5 Things To Look For In New York Rangers vs. Calgary Flames Preseason Game
The Rangers Look To Improve In Their Third Preseason Game
After five days without a game, the New York Rangers will take on the Calgary Flames tonight in Alberta, Canada. The Rangers will look to improve off their win against the Philadelphia Flyers in their last game. This is the first of four games in the West coast for the Rangers, closing out the preseason before starting the regular season in which they will play their first nine games on the road.
Although their first game that counts is right around the corner (October 3 vs. the Phoenix Coyotes), there are still some things left to take care of in the preseason before the Blueshirts start the marathon NHL season. Roster spots are up for grabs, position battles are taking place and getting a grasp on head coach Alain Vigneault’s philosophies are some of the broader topics the Rangers will look to address over these last four games.
Of course, it’s not as simple as working out all the kinks during the preseason. The Rangers will be missing Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin, two very important pieces to the team’s success, for the start of the year. There are sure to be issues at certain points throughout the season, but you can get a general outline of what the make-up of the team will be in these games.
It will be interesting to see if the Rangers can continue to control the puck, be disciplined on defense, crash the net and improve their power play. We won't get all the answers, but lets take a look at some of the things we may be able to read from the game vs. Calgary tonight.
5. The Rangers' Top Line
The Rangers' first line tonight will be made up of Chris Kreider, Brad Richards and Rick Nash. This line has gotten a lot of buzz in New York following their strong showing vs. the New Jersey Devils in their first preseason game. Kreider-Richards-Nash has potential to be one of the Rangers' top lines this season should Vigneault choose to keep them together, so look for them to improve on chemistry and scoring chances tonight.
4. The Young Guys' Impact
Vigneault has been very vocal about his love for players with skill. On his team, you are going to play if you have skill, and the Rangers' young prospects have a lot of it. Tonight, Danny Kristo, Oscar Lindberg, Jesper Fast and Marek Hrivik are all in the lineup. All four prospects boast enough ability to potentially crack the NHL roster, especially with Callahan and Hagelin missing time at the beginning of the season. Watch these young guys tonight to see who stands out above the rest.
3. Marc Staal's Comfort Level
Marc Staal will continue to work on feeling 100 percent on the ice after coming back from his eye injury which saw him miss most of last season. Staal looked comfortable and was effective in his first preseason game, but there is still a level of comfort he needs to get back to in order to be the All-Star defenseman he once was. Keep an eye on his vision as well as play recognition.
2. Michael Del Zotto and John Moore Joining The Rush On Offense
Vigneault wants his defensemen to be active within the offensive zone. This means creating scoring chances from the point and joining the rush as trailers for the forwards. Two of the Rangers' defensemen with tremendous offensive skill are Michael Del Zotto and John Moore. Del Zotto will be paired with Anton Stralman and Moore will be paired with Staal tonight. Expect to hear their names plenty of times.
1. Brian Boyle Playing On The Wing
The amount of centers on the Rangers roster means that some of them may be forced to play a different position. One of the names that Vigneault has talked about moving has been Brian Boyle. Vigneault mentioned last week that he wants to get Boyle used to playing on the wing, and will move him there for some of the remaining preseason games. Look to see how well Boyle can adjust on the outside.