Game 1: Rangers Fall to Kings, 3-2, in OT: Reaction

Can’t believe the first game is here and gone already. Feels like yesterday we were months away. Anyway, the Rangers dropped the first game of the 2011-12 season to a very powerful Los Angeles Kings team, 3-2, in overtime. Though not the results you want in the opening game, there were plenty of positives to take from this match.

  • The top line of Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Brandon Dubinsky was very effective. Gaborik is just 21 goals away from surpassing his total last season, and he and Richards looked very strong. Dubinsky had a monster game as well, and looked in mid-season form. He didn’t get a tally in the goal column, but did pick up an assist on Gaborik’s goal in the third.
  • The second line of Artem Anisimov, Ryan Callahan and Ruslan Fedotenko looked strong as well. With Dubinsky on the top-line (for now) a player like Feds compliments the other two very well, and is a similar type player as Dubinsky. I’d like to see these two lines stay together for a few more games.
  • Callahan’s goal in the first period has to be one of the toughest angles I’ve ever seen a puck scored from. He alone had a big game and looks pretty comfortable with the C on his sweater.
  • Wojtek Wolski is already in Tortorella’s doghouse. He played just three minutes in the opening period, and wasn’t a factor in the final two stanzas. If Sean Avery was bought out over money, they should have cut ties with Wolski and saved a bit more.
  • The defense was solid, including Michael Del Zotto and Tim Erixon. Erixon didn’t play as much (which is expected), but did look comfortable on the ice, and saw the ice well. MDZ jumped into the play often and looked OK on the power play. He was on Mike Richards during the goal that tied it, but there wasn’t much he could do about that one.
  • Brandon Prust is already fighting. Have to love him.
  • Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi were easily the best two d-men tonight. Although McD took the penalty in overtime, he was fantastic tonight, especially breaking up that 3-on-1 in the second period.
  • I’d like to see Brian Boyle moved up to one of the top lines once John Tortorella decides to shuffle things. I think he’s got the talent to play top-six minutes, at least for a little while.
  • The Kings are going to be a good team this year. I’m picking them to come out of the West.
  • I don’t like starting games in Europe. At least on TV, the crowd just seemed bored and not really into it. I’m OK with preseason games, but lets keep the regular season games in North America.
  • What’s up with Sam and Joe calling the game from New York? I guess MSG cut its budget.

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