Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Rangers Drop Preseason Game To Devils

With mostly a younger roster in their third preseason game, the Rangers fell to the Devils 3-1 at Continental Airlines Arena Tuesday night.

Henrik Lundqvist allowed three goals on 27 shots in his first full game while Martin Brodeur (19 saves) and Ari Ahonen (10 of 11 shots stopped) split duties for New Jersey.

The Devils took advantage early of Chad Wiseman's hooking penalty, scoring first when rookie Zach Parise redirected a Paul Martin shot 2:55 in.

Despite four more Devil power plays, the Rangers killed each to stay within one as the period concluded. In particular, Blair Betts, Jed Ortmeyer and Fedor Tyutin were very effective. Lundqvist also robbed Viktor Kozlov point blank with a glove save and made a couple of other key stops.

The Rangers had just two power plays in the period, unable to convert either. Shots were nine apiece.

In the second, they had plenty of chances on a man-advantage to tie it, with a couple of near misses that trickled through Brodeur just wide. Brodeur also robbed Max Kondratiev on one chance with a nice pad save while sliding across the ice.

Unable to beat Brodeur, the Blueshirts found themselves down two goals when Vlad Malakhov's wrister beat Lundqvist shortside on a 5-on-3 power play at 11:39.

Lundqvist allowed a shaky goal to Alexander Mogilny with 1:01 left in the second when the former Maple Leaf surprised him going short side for a 3-0 lead. Sergei Brylin and Sean Brown registered assists.

In the third, the Rangers scored their only goal when Jed Ortmeyer surprised Ahonen, one-timing a Bryce Lampman feed thru the wickets at 5:35 to make it 3-1. It came just after a power play expired. Tyutin also picked up an assist, making a smart play under pressure to keep the puck alive. That's as close as they got.

Though they fell short against mostly Devil starters, coach Tom Renney had to like what he saw from Petr Prucha. In almost 18:00 of action, the Czech product had five shots and created several chances. He was arguably the best forward for New York. Tyutin was particularly sharp on the blueline in 27 shifts, logging 23:45 and blocking three shots. He also finished with a team high six shots.

Ortmeyer and Betts continued their stellar play and Jarkko Immonen was more active while free agent pickup Ville Nieminen was a pest, drawing a cross checking penalty on Malakhov late. Kondratiev and Lampman also were steady on D.

The Rangers (1-2-0-0) were without Jaromir Jagr, Darius Kasparaitis, Marek Malik, Steve Rucchin, Martin Rucinsky and Jamie Lundmark.

Devils (2-0-0-0) didn't dress Brian Rafalski, Richard Matvichuk, Jay Pandolfo and Grant Marshall.

In the shootout, the Rangers improved to 3-0, outscoring New Jersey 2-1. Prucha scored in his second straight on a deke but Mogilny tied it for his second in as many games. With a chance to win it, Kozlov's backhand deke sailed wide. Martin Straka scored the winner and Lundqvist denied Aleksander Suglobov.

Rangers return to action Thursday night when they host the Islanders at 7 PM. The game will be televised on MSG.

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