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5 Takeaways from Rangers 4-1 preseason win over Islanders

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Rangers roster move
Nick Faria – AMNY

If Monday night’s preseason game was a precursor to how the regular season will go, the New York Rangers and their fans are going to have a special year. 

Kicking off the 2022 NHL preseason with a matchup against their arch-rival New York Islanders, the Blueshirts scored early and often to coast to a 4-1 win. 

“The game didn’t mean anything. It’s nice to play well so we’re happy with everybody” head coach Gerard Gallant said after the game.

While the next six games won’t count to the official 2022-23 record, it’s a nice stepping-off point to fill the minimal roster decisions  Gallant and general manager Chris Drury need to decide on.

“You want guys to come in here and make tough decisions for the coaching staff and the medical staff and that’s what people getting in do,” Gallant said. 

Here are five of the biggest takeaways following the team’s preseason 

Vesey makes his mark

The Rangers brought in Vesey as a PTO in camp and he has impressed ever since showing up. Vesey is fighting for a spot on what would be his sixth team in five years. 

A New Jersey Devil last season, Vesey got the scoring started Monday night with a power play goal that ricocheted off of Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov. Outside of that, Vesey made a few nice plays on defense and was a helpful contributor on offense. 

It is difficult to predict who will end up making the starting lineup for the Rangers off of one preseason game, but Jimmy Vesey has shown more than a capable hand on a potential fourth line. 

“From the first day, he worked hard,” Gallant said about Vesey. “(Vesey) got a PTO and he worked in an airport and he’s making people think so that’s what you want from those guys.”

Othmann Impresses

Brennan Othmann may be a long shot to make the major league club this year, but he’s done everything in his power to make the decision a tough one for Drury and Gallant. The former first-round pick got a bloody nose early in the first period, and then responded with two assists: the latter a breakaway, short-handed pass to K’Andre Miller who buried the shot three seconds before the period ended to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead. 

Othmann was smart with the puck, showed his improved toughness, and even won a face-off in Monday’s contest. 

Gallant mentioned that he would have to be “blown away” by someone he didn’t expect to make changes to the starting lineup. 

It looks like Othmann is well on his way to doing so for the Rangers. 

K’Andre Miller: Rangers best player?

The jump Miller made in year two with the Rangers was staggering. During training camp, Miller has impressed through each practice. 

On Monday night, he was the best player on the ice. Whether it was starting a break on his own, or executing a 2-on-1 to perfection, Miller was superb in all facets. 

“He’s a great player. I look up to (him). I mean, he’s only a few years older than me and he’s playing in the NHL for a few years now.”Othmann said of Miller. “I think he’s very underrated in this league and I think people should give him more kudos.”

New York’s best defender is and has been Adam Fox, but if Miller makes an even bigger jump in year three, he could be looking at a pretty hefty contract extension in his future. 

It was an excellent start on Monday. 

Zac Jones outplays Libor Hajek

The lone open spot on the Ranger’s defensive roster is the partner to Braden Schneider. After Monday, it looked like there was one player clearly in the driver’s seat. 

Zac Jones scored a goal, moved the puck effectively, and was quiet on the defensive end. His control of the puck has shown through camp and he made all the right decisions on Monday for the Rangers. 

“It was a great play by (Braden) Schneider getting it. I saw him rolling up and I figured why not take a one-timer here? I got a lucky bounce and year.” Jones said to AMNY after the game “They don’t ask how they ask how many.”

Hajek, on the other hand, had a bad turnover while he was trying to clear the puck and was promptly bailed out by Shesterkin. He also was on the ice for the Islander’s second-period goal. 

Hajek worked with Schneider specifically at the start of training camp, but it’s been apparent that Schneider plays better with Jones to this point.

“I thought we played great, and we had a lot of chemistry. I thought we moved well out there together and I thought it showed tonight.” Jones added. 

Jones is playing better too. It’ll be hard to ignore for the Rangers front office. 

Vezina Winner looks Solid

Igor Shesterkin was adamant that he wanted to have an even better year than he did last season. He pitched a shutout in the period and a half he played on Monday. 

Shesterkin made numerous quick saves that kept the game scoreless in the first period and kept that consistency throughout the time he was on the ice. He even denied the Islander’s best player in Matt Barzal multiple times during the second period. 

Not much more to say here. The Vezina winner played like the reigning Vezina winner by going a perfect 14 for 14 on save chances.  

For more New York Rangers news, turn to AMNY.com

 

 

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