Last night the Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3 in what was a nail-biter. Brad Richards and Mike Rupp made their Ranger debuts and made it known that they were on the ice.
After the Rangers fell behind early due to a powerplay goal by Adam Henrique, Richards quickly tied the game up as he swooped in down the left side leaving the Devils defender in the dust and tried to pass it across the crease, but Adam Larsson helped him out by deflecting it into the net off of his skate.
Only about a minute later, coming off of an impressive rookie season, Derek Stepan sniped the puck past Brodeur to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead.
Less than two minutes into the second period, Marian Gaborik scored a powerplay goal to give the Rangers a comfortable 3-1 lead. The Rangers got too comfortable.
Penalties were abundant last night and got the best of the Rangers. This should change as there are players on the ice that won't be there come opening night, but the Devils took advantage. Kris Newbury took an immature penalty, as did Larsson only seconds later. The Devils used the open ice and after taking the puck from Richards, they scored off of an incredible shot from Jacob Josefson to cut their deficit to one goal.
With just over three minutes remaining in the second period, Ilya Kovalchuk ripped home a slapshot on a 5-on-3 powerplay. You could just tell it was going to happen. Kovalchuk doesn't like to miss too often, especially when he has open ice like that.
The third period, even though it's just a pre-season game, had people on the edge of their seats. Back and forth action ensued with both teams coming very close to scoring goals. With just three minutes remaining in regulation, Brendan Bell snapped home a shot from the point to give the Rangers the 4-3 lead. Despite a late powerplay for the Devils, the Rangers were able to hold them off and collect the win.
The one thing that really stood out in this game was the powerplay. The Rangers only potted one powerplay goal last night, but commanded by Brad Richards, the powerplay was a totally different animal than it was last season. There was flow, quick puck movement, continued possession, everything you want out of a powerplay. The Rangers were utilizing the Umbrella formation and with Richards at the point, Gaborik and Wolski had a jolly time moving along the boards with the puck. They had time and space and used it well.
It is so nice to have a capable powerplay again. The Rangers actually have an offensive presence now.
Click here for complete highlights of last night's game.