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Stepan, Grachev highlight Traverse City

The Rangers’ roster of prospects dropped its second game at the Traverse City tournament, but not before generating a little buzz Saturday with a dramatic 5-4 win over Columbus in its tourney opener.

Evgeny Grachev scored the game-winner with just over six seconds remaining, converting on a set play from an offensive zone faceoff win by center Derek Stepan. It was the perfect capper to a game in which the baby Blueshirts’ top line of Stepan, Grachev and left wing Ryan Bourque accounted for four of five Rangers’ goals and eight of 10 points.

The game-winner was Grachev’s second goal on the night, while Stepan put the Rangers on the board just over midway through the first period. Bourque added a power-play tally in the second after RW Christian Thomas pocketed an unassisted goal to start the period.

Netminder Scott Stajcer, a fifth-round pick from 2009, stopped 20 of 24 shots to earn the win. The club’s top pick in the 2010 draft, Dylan McIlrath finished plus-one with two shots on goal.

Sunday’s game didn’t lack for drama, but the Rangers failed to get a positive result, watching Carolina Hurricanes prospect Zac Dalpe score the game’s only goal with under a minute left. Netminder Mike Murphy (sixth-round, 2008 entry draft) stopped all of the Rangers’ 33 shots to steal the 1-0 win.

Cam Talbot, a University of Alabama at Huntsville product, stopped 25 of 26 shots for the Rangers.

The split leaves the Rangers among four teams with a 1-1 record (Carolina, St. Louis, Dallas), trailing undefeated Minnesota. Detroit’s squad stands at 1-0-1 with an overtime loss to Tampa Bay. The Rangers skate at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday against the unblemished Wild. You can follow the game here.

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