For Rangers, final auditions

As John Tortorella mulls the final cuts of Rangers training camp, reportedly coming after Saturday’s game, his players gave him plenty to think about after a 5-1 smackdown of the Red Wings at MSG last night.

The line of Ruslan Fedotenko, Derek Stepan and Sean Avery earned the game’s first, second and third stars, while combining for two goals, three assists and each finishing with a plus-two rating. Stepan could have added a second goal to his night had he been able to covert after a shifty drive to the goal mouth in the mid-second period.

Box Score

Fedotenko and Stepan certainly made solid strides towards securing the final open spots on the Rangers’ opening day roster. In all likelihood, the Rangers will cut two more forwards and two defensemen to reach the roster limit of 23 players.

On the blue line, Pavel Valentenko and Mike Sauer also looked strong – though the Red Wings did not dress any of their premier stars, with Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom all sitting out. Sauer scored a 4-on-4 goal late in the third period on a behind-the-back pass from Erik Christensen. Valentenko asserted himself physically all game long and returned to action after breaking his nose in the first period, according to the Post’s Larry Brooks.

Also from the Post write-up, waivers may play a role in which D-man is kept and which are demoted. Sauer and Steve Eminger (a healthy scratch last night) must pass through waivers to reach the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford. Valentenko and Ryan McDonagh (another scratch) would not be subjected to waivers.

One of the team’s top prospects, McDonagh needs to get ice time wherever he lands. That likely means he’ll need crack the Rangers’ top four in order to stick in New York.

Afternoon Links