Pouliot-Brassard-Zuccarello line impresses in Rangers' win over Flyers
PHILADELPHIA - A 3-2 defeat of the Flyers in the second preseason game of the Alain Vigneault Era didn't come easily. A night after the Rangers fell to the Devils, 2-1, with a largely different lineup, the newly-minted line of Benoit Pouliot, Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello scored twice, with Pouliot firing the puck past Steve Mason at 5:30 of the third period for the winner.
"For the most part we accomplished what we wanted to," Vigneault said. "Philly came at us real hard, but we moved the puck in a fashion that I think enabled us to break their forecheck."
Brassard's line was the most impressive, with the center finishing a pretty pass from Zuccarello at 1:10 of the third, and then setting up the 6-3 Pouliot, who camped in front of the net whenever he had the opportunity.
"In the scrimmage we had on Sunday, we had four of five good scoring chances," said Brassard, who led the club in playoff scoring this past spring. "Ben is someone who is really athletic, and a really good skater. He's got a long reach so he wins a lot of pucks for us and Zuke sees the ice really well. Tonight we just made plays."
Pouliot, 26, who signed a one-year, $1.3 million contract in July, said he scores most of his goals in front.
"In this league, if the goalie sees it, we're not gonna score," said Pouliot, who played last season in Tampa and scored 16 goals for Boston in 2011-12. "It's always nice to score a goal whatever game it is . . . It's a confidence booster."
Martin Biron started in goal, played 31:22 and stopped the six shots that the Flyers let fly.
"Some of those shots were Grade-A scoring chances," Vigneault said. "Give him full marks, he came in there and made saves that he had to."
Cam Talbot played for the second consecutive night, relieving Biron, and got his arm on Jakub Voracek's high wrister in the final seconds to knock the puck over the net.
"At the end of the third period Cam did what you need from your goaltender," Vigneault said. "He gave us a chance to win the game with a huge save."
Biron, 34, who appeared in just six games last season, is facing competition from Johan Hedberg to remain Henrik Lundqvist's backup. He denied that there was added pressure. "I think the urgency is there's a new coaching staff, new people in here," he said. "I want to show them what I can do."
Notes & quotes: Darroll Powe, whose goal, an in-the-crease deflection of Andrew Yogan's sharp angle shot at 19:26 of the second that provided a 2-1 lead, was his first in 39 games. "It's been a while since I scored a goal," said Powe, who has a one-year, $1-million contract. He was waived during the summer but was not claimed. "I got a little preoccupied with some things last year. This time, I just want to play hockey. It's a competitive camp. I'm trying to play as hard as I can and let the chips fall where they may." . . . D prospect Dylan McIlrath had a tough night, his giveaways opening the door for goals by Max Talbot and Sean Couturier. But it was the rebound of his point shot in the third that gave him an assist on Pouliot's winner . . . The Rangers are 6-for-6 on the penalty kill in two games . . . Rookie D Conor Allen played 20:27, and improved as the game progressed. He assisted on Powe's goal.