New York Rangers Reaction: YES! YES! YES!
Brad Penner, USATSI

The New York Rangers opened their season in impressive fashion last night when they defeated the New York Islanders 5-3 at the Garden.

When the New York Rangers faithful start chanting YES! YES! YES!, then you know things are going well.

Right off of the bat, I have to say that the little ceremony held by the Rangers before the player introductions was short, sweet, and effective.

It was a nice homage to have players present from different generations, and not just the usual suspects. Listen, I love the ’94 team as much as the next guy, but it was nice to see some unusual suspects.

You have to give respect to the Rangers for including Brad Richards, who loved being a Ranger, in the festivities. Martin St. Louis received an ovation that rivaled Mark Messier‘s.

On to the game.

Before the game I said that it will be interesting to how Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich adjust to the physicality of the game. As far as Buchnevich is concerned, he looks like a player who has been in the league for a few years.

That Buch/Chris Kreider/Mika Zibanejad line is dangerous. They have some serious jump, already have built some solid chemistry, and cycle the puck effectively. This line can be something special if they can be consistent.

I have to say, I’ve been very skeptical of how Alain Vigneault emphasizes the first pass out of the defensive zone, but there’s obviously a reason why he is an NHL and I’m not.

The defense were making accurate and quick first passes throughout the evening, and the results spoke for themselves. As a result, the Rangers were able to move as one unit rather then individuals.

This is something that the team couldn’t do effectively or consistently last season, and promoted the speed which we witnessed last night.

The Blueshirts were also making more cross-ice passes through the neutral zone than we have seen in past seasons. This allowed the Rangers to keep moving north/south while breaking up the Islanders’ coverage in the neutral zone.

Michael Grabner wasn’t exactly stealing the hearts of Rangers fans with his lackluster preseason, but hey, it looks like the team may have an effective fourth line for the first time in three years.

The cynics will say that Grabner couldn’t have missed that opportunity if he tried, but what was impressive was how Grabner went straight to the net without hesitation.

Brandon Pirri also made a great decision to just throw the puck at the net and boom, Rangers were up 1-0.

Chris Kreider finally looked like the player that fans have been waiting to see. He played loose and aggressively.

 RELATED: Chris Kreider Opened The Season Like A Man Possessed 

The best part of Kreider’s play is that he approached the game in a very controlled fashion, which is important. The out-of-control Kreider which we have seen on many occasions is not a sustainable way to approach the game.

Having said that, it’s looking like Kreider has matured over the summer.

For all of the junk that Dan Girardi received over the past year, I thought he had a strong game last night and I’m convinced that his knee cap injury was something that hindered him last season.

He even handled the puck well of the blue line, which is more than Ryan McDonagh can say this morning. He not only mishandled the puck on more than a couple occasions, but also didn’t have a great night defensively.

Captain Mac allowed Clutterbuck to walk right into the slot, which is something the team struggled with all of last season. This is slightly frustrating too, because the defense did a great job of covering the slot for most of the game.

Similar to Kredier last season, McDonagh may be trying to do too much. It’s only one game, but McDonagh should simplify his approach because he’s stretched pretty thin right now.

Henrik Lundqvist looked to be in mid-season form last night.

How about that power play? The passes were crisp, players didn’t hold onto the puck for too long, and there was constant movement and cycling. What a concept.

While it’s only one game, the Rangers gave their fans a reason to ditch their doom and gloom outlooks for the 2016-17 season. This young and energetic group will be a fun group to watch moving forward.

 NEXT: Rangers Edge Islanders 5-3 On Chris Kreider’s Explosive Night (Highlights) 



NYY

NYM

NYG

NYJ

NYK

BKN

NYR

NYI

NJD

SJU