Preseason Game 2: Chytil scores OT winner in great debut, Dolan’s prices are In-sane!


The second preseason game for the Rangers at MSG was markedly better. There were six more goals and actual five on five play when the officials weren’t slowing down the action to a crawl due to the annoying face-off violation. Here’s a exclusive look at the reaction:

In a exhibition between close rivals, the Rangers prevailed 4-3 over the Devils in overtime. There still were too many penalties. A mess of sorts that could upset fans when it starts up for real in the first week of October. The Devils were called for nine minors while the Rangers were called for seven, including three face-off violations. The Devils got one in the third before we left at the 10-minute mark.

That’s how long the game was. The second period seemed to go on forever. If this becomes a thing, it’s sure to enrage customers. All the penalties slow the game down. If they still had the hurry up face-off, we wouldn’t have this new rule GMs thought were a good idea. Somebody forgot to tell the players and coaches. Isles bench boss Doug Weight blasted Monday’s penalty fest. There was this between Matt Puempel and Nick Lappin which the crowd loved.

Before I get to the positives from both sides, I would also like to blast greedy Garden CEO James Dolan. This man might be the most selfish owner. As expected, quite a few concessions on the upper level were closed. This only created longer lines on the third floor which forced me to choose between $10.50 pizza and $7 hot dogs. The selection isn’t good. Especially with me working on getting in shape. At least I put in the work before we left.

That I decided I would be better off with the meat of a seven dollar hot dog over the bread of a pizza isn’t the point. It’s about the cost. They have a lot of nerve charging those prices. I never get a lot inside due to the cost. I’m not much of a soda drinker but even that will run you six bucks. Beer is double that. As Crazy Eddie used to say, “They’re Insane!!!!!”

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, there’s sushi downstairs. But I can’t imagine what they bumped it up to. On our level in the Blue Seats, there’s The Complete Cookie for $3.50. Basically, 50 cents more than most places unless you go to CVS or buy it in bulk at a health food store. Yeah. There’ll be a few nights like that for me.

I wish there were more owners like Arthur Blank. He just opened the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium to plenty of fanfare. Imagine a sports owner who gets it. Blank has the Falcons charging unbelievable food prices for their fans. A hot dog or soda only costs two dollars. Everything on the menu is affordable. Good for him. I hope they build a monument for him after the Falcons win the Super Bowl .

Now for some game details. There were plenty of power plays. Sixteen in total. The Rangers made the most of their chances scoring three times. New addition Kevin Shattenkirk paid immediate dividends factoring in on all theee. Just the way he can skate in transition and sees the ice is going to help improve the man-advantage. His Broadway debut was superb with three power play assists including a secondary helper on impressive 18-year old first round pick Filip Chytil’s overtime winner with three and a half seconds to spare.

Chytil (pronounced Hi-till) was splendid all night. In 18:52 of action including eight-plus on the PP playing with Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello, the youngest player in the recent 2017 NHL Draft showed tremendous poise. Wearing number 72, the lanky Czech impressed with his top speed, strong puck possession and awareness. He found instant chemistry with his much older linemates.

Chytil drew a penalty and created several dangerous scoring chances with his playmaking. He nearly set up Kreider and Zuccarello down low on multiple opportunities. It was only fitting he got the game-winner after my brother expressed that he hoped he would win it as we drove back to Staten Island. On a four-on-three, he backed up a couple of steps into position to bury a perfect Zuccarello feed for a perfect one-timer past Devils backup Mackenzie Blackwood.

Pretty cool celebration for an otherwise soft spoken young prospect who is still learning the nuances of the NHL. He discussed that in the locker room.

There were six other goals scored with the Hudson rivals taking turns. Kevin Hayes got the scoring started when on a power play, he skated perfectly into a Jimmy Vesey pass and went in and deked Devils’ starter Cory Schneider going forehand tuck.

The Devils came back on a wonderfully constructed play from Drew Stafford to sophomore breakout candidate Pavel Zacha. With nothing going on, Stafford flipped a innocent looking backhand flip towards the front that Zacha was able to neatly bat in perfectly for a fair ball past Henrik Lundqvist. It’s so good, it deserves a second look.

Pretty sweet finish. The defenseman beaten on the play was John Gilmour. A player who impressed last year. Ryan Gropp is also in the picture. He’s expected to begin his pro career with Hartford.

In between all the penalties, Kreider used his tremendous speed and skill to easily beat a crouching Schneider on a break in top shelf for a 2-1 lead. Zuccarello and Brendan Smith set it up. But it was all Kreider, who’s so dangerous in transition. He can go deke or shoot.

But the Devils came back thanks to a neatly designed play down low for a power play goal. Stafford was able to easily find a wide open John Gibbons in the slot for a lay-up past Lundqvist. Marc Staal got caught kneeling and Lias Andersson gave Gibbons enough room to finish.

Andersson was used a lot on the penalty kill when he wasn’t centering the fourth line. He wins a lot of battles that can go unnoticed. His work ethic and hockey IQ are very high. I definitely think he should make the roster. He doesn’t look out of place.

While the seventh overall pick acquired in the Derek Stepan/Antti Raanta trade that also netted Anthony DeAngelo isn’t as skilled as Chytil, he is noticeable for how hard he works. Andersson did get one of those cheesy face-off violations. But he also had a great pass in the 3-on-3 that led to the power play. He can be used in a checking role.

Another positive was David Desharnais. The former Hab who finished last Spring with Edmonton made some things happen. He anchored the third line. Always a good skater who isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty despite his small frame, he had the good fortune of having a Shattenkirk point shot deflect off a Devil stick and bank in off him for a PPG which made it 3-2.

It was a great read by ShattDeuces. Before it though, the Rangers did some diligent work to keep the play alive. The Devils failed to clear the zone. Eventually, Kreider worked the puck to Shattenkirk at the left point. He wisely wound up but paused before shooting which allowed Desharnais to get into position.

Trailing by one early in the third, the Devils tied it thanks to a nice face-off win from Jimmy Hayes. On a PTO, the elder brother of Kevin Hayes (Yes The Hayes Brothers) got into position to neatly redirect a Damon Severson right point shot upstairs by 21-year old replacement Alexandar Georgiev. Hayes helped himself with a goal and assist while having chemistry with Adam Henrique.

Georgiev made some strong saves point blank in direct response. His best coming on Hayes, who tried to to stuff one in on a forehand tuck try. But Georgiev kept his pad right against the post to keep it out.

Once we left, I guess the game picked up. It must have because it wasn’t long before Justin told me Chytil won it. Pretty cool stuff for his first game. I don’t think the Rangers believe he’ll be on the roster. But if he plays well again tomorrow, what’s the harm in giving him the nine games to see if he belongs. He sure brings a unique skill set the train can use. Look what Zuccarello said:

Pretty encouraging commentary from one of the Rangers biggest leaders. The team is back in action tomorrow against the Islanders. Here’s the expected roster:

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About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included two stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil games. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has scored Berkeley Carroll basketball games since 2006 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. From players, coaches to administrators, it's a first class program. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree.
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