by Patrick Hoffman on 09/17/09 at 11:33 AM ET
The New York Rangers may have dropped their second straight game in pre-season (3-2 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils) but they certainly got impressive performances from some of their youngsters, in particularly defensemen Matt Gilroy and Michael Del Zotto and goaltender Chad Johnson.
It’s nice to see a Ranger blueliner who is not afraid to rush the puck up the ice, show some moves and put the puck on the net. The goal he scored to make it a 2-1 game should show the Blueshirt brass that he has the poise and determination to create offense, something the team has been missing since it lost Brian Leetch in 2004.
Del Zotto also had a strong performance, even showing that he’s not afraid to go deep in the offensive zone in a four-on-four situation. He’s constantly looking to create offense and that is something that head coach John Tortorella likes to see from both young defensemen Gilroy and Del Zotto.
“They make subtle plays,” Tortorella told Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants after the game. “It’s not just always off the glass and giving it back to the other team. They’re looking to make a play out of the end zone so we have control. They’ve done a good job in a lot of minutes that we’ve given them the past couple of games.”
Goaltender Chad Johnson was as calm as a cucumber in the second half of the game, stopping 19 of 20 shots through OT and beaten by just Zach Parise and Travis Zajac in the skills competition (shootout). The 23-year-old was in position for both first and second shots, he controlled his rebounds and overall looked very poised in between the pipes. We will see where he ends up come the end of training camp/pre-season.
Again, it was another loss for the Rangers and it may certainly be eating head coach John Tortorella but right now, it’s nice to see two consecutive solid efforts and even better to see how much energy they had in the second half of the game, something the team often lacked last season.
For more on last night’s loss to the Devils and what’s coming up today, check out the following links:
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.