Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.
Rangers Game 2 test in Philadelphia
1. Chemistry between Benoit Pouliot and Derick Brassard. The 6-3 LW, who arrived as a free agent from Tampa, has impressed coach Alain Vigneault with his size and speed and willingness to go to the net, and sense a connection between Pouliot, 26, and the center. Pouliot says most of his goals last season were scored from in close, where he's able to "create some chaos." Mats Zuccarello on right wing with that duo.
2. Martin Biron. He played in just six games last season and faces some competition for the backup role from Johan Hedberg and Cam Talbot. Biron dismisses last season because of the lockout, and says he's aware of the need to show the new coaching staff how he can contribute. Talbot, who played in the third period against the Devils, will be in the net for the second half of the game against the Flyers.
3. Oscar Lindberg. The Swedish rookie center said he believes he is improving offensively, and Vigneault says he's "done everything we've asked of him" in the Traverse City tourney (where he scored five goals in four games) and in camp. Jesper Fast will be on his right.
4. Ryan McDonagh/Dan Girardi. The presumptive No. 1 d-pair gets some quality time tonight, presumably some on the power play, which was 0-for-4 last night.
5. Defensman Dylan McIlrath, the former No. 1 pick, who's always willing to drop the gloves. If Vigneault eventualy decides the team needs more toughness or "pushback" in the East, maybe McIlrath gets a callup from Hartford sooner rather than later.
Heading down the turnpike shortly. Talk to y'all from down south....