Sorry for the late update folks, we will try not to let it happen again. So the Rangers won their season opener, and things look...well, they look pretty much like they did last year with a few exceptions.
The 2-1 victory on the back of two power-play goals by Petr Nedved and Valeri Kamensky, was ominously familiar during even strength. The Thrashers dictated much of the flow during 5 on 5 play.
Mark Messier assisted on Kamensky's goal, notching his first point in his return to the Rangers. Messier played many of his minutes on the power-play, at the same time taking Mike York, the Rangers leading goal scorer from a year ago, out of the power-play rotation. York skated with Theo Fleury and newly acquired Michal Grosek. Grosek seemed to fit right into the Rangers game, and looks like he has a solid future in Rangers blue, especially when you consider how many Rangers forwards are willing to got to the net.
In fact, the Rangers still seem to be too much of a perimeter team to take on the big boys of the East. Grosek will help a big in that department, but there is still a need for more.
Radek Dvorak was all over the ice. He seems like he is finally happy to play hockey again, which was something that had gone away in Florida. Dvorak was a bullet all over the ice. His speed seemed too much for anyone in a Thrashers sweater to deal with. Many people around hockey feel that this could be Dvorak's breakout year.
Both goalies were very strong, Damien Rhodes for Atlanta, and for the Rangers Kirk McLean. Rhodes was strong early, and the Rangers settled in after a few good saves and game Rhodes an easy night. Just like last year, the Rangers seem to get frustrated with strong goaltending, and in essence change their game thinking they will not beat him. McLean was equally strong in turning aside several good Atlanta chances late in the game.
The Rangers will have their home opener Wednesday, in what promises to be one giant media circus.
Power play: Nyr - 2 of 6, Atl - 0 of 6. Goalies: NY Rangers, K Mclean (27 shots, 26 saves; record: 1-0-0). Atlanta, Rhodes (28, 26; record: 0-1-0).