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Traverse City Game 1: Columbus 6 New York 2, rough debut in N/A for Igor

September 6, 2019, 6:27 PM ET [7 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers fell 6-2 to the Blue Jackets in the first game of the Traverse City tournament. New York jumped to a 1-0 lead on a Brett Kemp but Columbus scored the next three goals in the first, the last one coming with 18 seconds remaining to take a 3-1 lead. The Blue Jackets added another goal 17 seconds into the second stanza and went out to a 6-1 lead before Kemp tallied his second of the contest. New York faces Dallas tomorrow at 7pm

Kaapo Kakko's Rangers debut had to wait at least one more day as the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft missed the opener of the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City because of illness. In his absence, the lines were:

A few thoughts:

Igor Shesterkin clearly didn't have his best game but he wasn't helped out much by his D. The first goal came on a 2-on-1, the second on a rebound in front of the net and the third on another 2 on 1. That third goal maybe should have been stopped, as it came short side. Overall, the majority of the goals were either odd-man rushes coming into the zone, or partial breakaways where the forward had plenty of time to pick a corner due to turnovers or poor coverage by the defense. Shesterkin looked a bit better as the game wore on, making several nice saves.

Elvis Merzlikins was brilliant for Columbus, robbing New York several times. He showed why the blue Jackets are so high on him and why he has a chance to beat out Joonas Korpisalo to start for Columbus this season. One example of his stellar work is here:

Kemp is a free agent invitee that played for Medicine Hat in the WHL last season. His first goal came from a bad angle and a snipe on the second. A few more solid games and Kemp could get a camp invite.

Adam Fox was by far the best Ranger on the ice. His ability to read, anticipate and react in a second stood out to me. As Mike Murphy said, "he has such command with the puck on his stick and seems to be a few gears ahead of most of his teammates today." he did have some weak moments as well, including some of his breakout passes, but overall, he was the best Rangers' blueliner on the ice, though that isn't saying that much as the D as a whole struggled, turning the puck over repeatedly and failing to connect on passes.

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