JIM: Though Tuesday's loss to the Oilers was often not pretty, there were several bright spots for Alain Vigneault's team, starting with the all-around play of 20 year-old forward J.T. Miller. Making his pre-season debut following a hamstring injury, Miller inserted himself right into the mix of players fighting for a spot on this team. Though perhaps he started Tuesday behind some of the other forwards on the depth chart due to the fact he had missed the first three games, Miller likely leapfrogged several by being strong on the puck, confident and diligent in all areas of the ice, and by doing what not a lot of Rangers forwards have done so far in the pre-season, scoring a goal. J.T. went hard to the net to gather a rebound of Arron Asham's shot and then made a sweet move to beat the flailing Jason LaBarbera. He handled himself well in all game situations---playing on the PK and power play, as well, and won 8 of 14 faceoffs. For me, J.T. MIller was the clear cut No. 1 star last ight for the Rangers, with Marc Staal---second goal in as many nights, team-high five shots on goal in just under 20 minutes of ice-time, and Dan Girardi---a late goal, four shots on goal, strong in his own end, following as No.s two and three last night.
MATT: I hate to keep agreeing with you, but you're spot on with Miller. He was by far the team's best forward and showed the coaching staff that he wants to be on the roster in eight days in Phoenix. After missing an extended period of time in training camp and the preseason, I felt the hole would be too deep for Miller to get out of to secure a spot, but in one fell swoop, he more than likely got his name at the top of the depth chart. Due to outside circumstances, it appears there could be an opening on the third line for a center, and Miller may have penciled his name in there. Staal again was the team's top blueliner, scoring his second goal in as many games. He was by far the biggest question mark entering this season, and so far, he's had all the answers and is looking like the Staal of old. My third star was Conor Allen, who once again made a case for a long look from Alain Vigneault and the rest of the coaching staff. Due to his age and inexperience, it could be a long shot that he makes the team, but boy has his impressed many with his poise and skating ability, albeit just months out of college.