WINGS COME BACK TO EDGE RANGERS IN DETROIT
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• Pregame Notes: Rangers at Boston
By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
Friday night at Joe Louis Arena, the Rangers, boosted by the play of their three young Russian forwards, jumped out to a 2-0 lead against the Red Wings. However, they could not finish off Detroit, and instead dropped a 4-3 decision.
The Rangers carried their 2-0 lead into the third period, but just 1:23 later the Red Wings had pulled even on goals by Valtteri Filppula and Brett Lebda. Justin Williams scored the go-ahead goal at 8:02. Justin Abdelkader scored the fourth goal against Matt Zaba eight minutes later
|Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist makes a save against the Red Wings' Dan Cleary on Friday night in Detroit. Lundqvist has now stopped 30 of the 31 shots he has faced in two preseason appearances.
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, who led the team with six shots, potted his first goal of the preseason with two minutes left and Zaba on the bench, but the Rangers could not produce the equalizer.
The Rangers, who will skate in Boston against the Bruins on Saturday afternoon, are now 0-2-1 in the preseason.
For the second game out of three preseason contests, Rangers head coach John Tortorella placed three young Russians -- Artem Anisimov
, Evgeny Grachev
, and Enver Lisin -- on the same line, and with positive results. After that threesome showed good chemistry in Tuesday’s match against the Bruins, they combined for two goals and four points in Friday’s contest.
Anisimov, the 21-year-old center who recorded 81 points at Hartford a year ago, notched a goal and an assist to lead the team on Friday. He opened the scoring 7:26 into the first period by whipping a 35-foot shot past Chris Osgood after quickly shifting the puck to his forehand from his backhand.
While that play showed his skill, Anisimov also showed his smarts to help the Rangers grab a 2-0 lead at 3:39 of the second period. Anisimov deftly stepped up to challenge an unaware Red Wings defenseman at the Detroit blueline, causing a turnover.
Although Anisimov fell to the ice after taking the puck away, the 19-year-old Grachev scooted forward to collect it. Grachev powered his way to the net, and sent a hard backhand shot towards the goal that was denied by Osgood. Lisin, though, was able to follow the play and nudge the puck over the goal line for his first goal of the preseason.
With close to four minutes left in regulation, Lisin created another prime scoring chance for himself with some neat stickhandling, but rookie Thomas McCollum made a clutch save on Lisin’s difficult shot.
Lisin, who was acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes this past summer, is one of four Rangers to have now played in all three preseason contests. Center Brian Boyle
, winger PA Parenteau, and Grachev are the others to play all three matches so far.
Like his Russian teammates, Boyle also played a strong game on Friday, as did his linemates Aaron Voros and Donald Brashear
. That threesome provided much energy, was strong on the puck, and physically punished Red Wings defensemen all night long.
They also created some quality offensive chances, especially in the opening period. Voros had two of those opportunities, including a booming 20-foot slap shot from right wing that hammered Osgood in the chest. Brashear finished with four shots on goal.
Three players -- center Paul Crowder and defensemen Bobby Sanguinetti and Ilkka Heikkinen
-- made their preseason debuts for the Blueshirts. Crowder played on a line most of the night flanked by Sean Avery
and Parenteau, while Sanguinetti and Heikkinen were paired on the backline, for the most part, both at even strength and on the power play.
Sanguinetti had a team-high plus-2 rating while playing more than 20 minutes. Heikkinen was a plus-one with three shots on goal in 20 minutes worth of play.
started in goal for the Rangers, and was very sharp right from the first drop of the puck. Before the game was even a minute old, Lundqvist was forced to make two terrific saves on Detroit’s Dan Cleary from in close. From there Lundqvist continued his strong play, stopping all 14 shots he faced in 32:01 worth of action before giving way to Zaba.
In his first two pre season appearances, covering a bit more than 60 minutes of ice-time, Lundqvist has surrendered only one goal on 31 shots.
Zaba picked right up where Lundqvist left off, making several strong saves during a Detroit power play less than a minute after he entered the contest. He impressively turned away a dead-on chance for Todd Bertuzzi during that power play, and later in the period flashed a pretty glove save on a Francis Pare breakaway.
However, the third period was different story for Zaba. First, Filppula scored a power play goal 30 seconds into the final stanza, beating Zaba short side over the right shoulder. Then Lebda tied the game at 1:23 of the third, sneaking a left wing shot just inside the post. On the third goal Williams cranked a right circle laser over Zaba’s right shoulder at 8:02. And finally Abdelkader deflected a shot past Zaba at 16:18.
After their game against the Bruins on Saturday, the Rangers will play a rematch against the Red Wings at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.