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John Moore impresses Rangers as quarterback on power play

John Moore of the Rangers controls the puck

John Moore of the Rangers controls the puck in the first period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden. (April 10, 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- It's really no big deal that John Moore is running the Rangers' power play during their playoff series with the Capitals. He's done it before.

In the Ontario Hockey League.

Moore, the 22-year-old defenseman who came over from Columbus at the trade deadline, sparked the Rangers' moribund power play in Monday's 4-3 win at the Garden.

Playing the point on the first unit, Moore played 5:37 on the PP. The Rangers had been 0-for-7 with a man advantage in the first two games of the series (both losses).

On Monday, the Rangers scored one goal just as their power play was ending and another, by Derick Brassard, with the man advantage. It's a big reason they are down two games to one and not facing elimination in Wednesday night's Game 4.

"Here's Johnny Moore," a gushing coach John Tortorella said. "What's that, his third [playoff] game? He's running our power play now and we're asking an awful lot. He made some mistakes, but I thought he handled himself really well."

It's an opportunity the 6-3, 202-pound Moore wasn't given in Columbus. But he did it in the OHL with Kitchener in 2009-10.

"At the NHL level, I haven't really been given that responsibility," Moore said Tuesday after practice. "To get a chance like that is huge for me. Anything I can do to help this team win. In the playoffs, the power play especially, that's a huge part of it all."

Moore has opened his coach's and teammates' eyes with his overall play.

"He has everything you need to be a great defenseman," goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. "His skating ability is what really stands out. I think he reads the game really well."

Said Tortorella: "I think he's understanding as far as stick-on-puck just to use his range to the best of his ability because he takes up a lot of space."

In Game 3, the Rangers used six defensemen, from Moore's 15:50 of ice time to Dan Girardi's 22:58. They were buoyed by the return of Marc Staal, who logged 17:17 in his first game since March 5 because of a serious eye injury.

Michael Del Zotto, whom Moore replaced on the top power-play unit, saw 17:02 of action.

"It's healthy competition," Del Zotto said. "He's played well since he's come here. I thought our power play was good."

Said Moore: "I think I've come a long way. Confidence, especially for a young player, is such a big thing. Every day I'm getting more and more comfortable. I've been fortunate with the opportunities I've gotten."

New York Sports