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New York Islanders

Exhibition Gameday: Islanders vs. Rangers Preview, Lines and How to Watch



Islanders vs. Rangers at Nassau Coliseum

Under normal circumstances, a gameday in July would seem crazy, but these are far from normal times.

The puck will drop on the Islanders’ quest for a fifth Stanley Cup tonight when they face the New York Rangers in their first and only tune-up game before Saturday. Tonight’s game will give us a pretty good look at what the lineup will look like for Game 1 vs. the Florida Panthers and we will see both Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Gress in net tonight.

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One thing to keep an eye out during the game is when it comes to the goalies and how they’re tracking the puck. Head coach Barry Trotz seems to have an idea of who he’s leaning towards to start against Florida, but he does want to see how each netminder tracks the puck tonight.

“Are they seeing and tracking the puck? It’s no different than a batter in baseball,” Trotz said. “Is he seeing the pitch? Is he picking up the ball early? That type of thing. You’re just looking for sharpness and for me, it’s which goaltender is tracking the puck really well.”

The Islanders will also utilize the extra forward and defenseman that the NHL is allowing teams to have for the exhibition game. Trotz called it an opportunity to ready the expanded lineup.

It’s likely that whichever extra forward is used they will likely get time on the line of Tom Kuhnhackl, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Derick Brassard. In the Islanders final practice on Long Island, Kuhnhackl was splitting time with Ross Johnston on that line.

Defensively, it will likely be Andy Greene or Noah Dobson that serve as the extra blueliner. The two are the likely candidates that will be called upon should another defenseman suffer an injury.

Projected Islanders Lines:

Anders Lee — Mat Barzal — Jordan Eberle

Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey

Tom Kuhnhackl/Extra Forward — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Derick Brassard

Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck


Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock

Devon Toews — Scott Mayfield

Nick Leddy — Johnny Boychuk

Noah Dobson/Andy Greene


Semyon Varlamov

Thomas Greiss

Islanders Focused on Preparation, Not Rivalry in Exhibition Game

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers are keeping things a little close to the vest in the lead up to tonight’s game. Head coach David Quinn wouldn’t reveal which goaltenders would dress against the Islanders, telling reporters on Tuesday he hadn’t spoken with them yet. Similar to Trotz, Quinn has not announced who his starter will be for their opening game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Blueshirts will utilize the two extra players tonight, dressing forward Brendan Lemieux and defenseman Libor Hajek. Lemieux is suspended for the first two games against Carolina.

Projected Rangers Lines:

Chris Kreider — Mika Zibanejad — Pavel Buchnevich

Pavel Buchnevich — Ryan Strome — Jesper Fast

Phillip Di Giuseppe — Filip Chytil — Kaapo Kakko

Brett Howden — Greg McKegg — Julien Gauthier


Brendan Smith — Jacob Trouba

Ryan Lindgren — Adam Fox

Marc Staal — Tony DeAngelo


Igor Shesterkin

Henrik Lundqvist

Extras players: Forward Brendan Lemieux and defenseman Libor Hajek

Game Notes:

When the season paused the Islanders had dropped seven straight games, which included a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers on Feb. 25. The Islanders last win came on Feb. 23 when they defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-1 at Nassau Coliseum.

The Blueshirts hold the edge in the season series, with a 3-1-0 record against the Islanders. The New York Rangers were also a team headed in the right direction before the COVID-19 pandemic, winning seven of their last 12 games and picking up points in eight of those contests.

How to Tune In:

Locally the game will air on MSG and MSG+ and nationally on NBCSN. The game can be streamed on MSG GO and NHL.TV. Anyone looking for a radio feed can catch the game on 88.1 FM WRHU and 103.9 LI News.

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New York Islanders

Three Takeaways: Dobson, Bellows Look Good, Barzal Finds Two-Way Game in Win | NYHN+



New York Islanders players

The New York Islanders started off the 2020-21 NHL season off on the right foot Thursday night with a 4-0 win over the New York Rangers.

The Islanders capitalized on the power play on several occasions, they received timely goaltending when they needed it and their top-six forwards found the back of the net. Not to mention, the play of several young Islanders hoping to maintain their spots on the roster.

Let’s take a look at three takeaways from the Islanders’ season-opening win over their Manhattan rivals:

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New York Islanders

GARDEN PARTY: Lee, Barzal Lead Islanders Shutout Thrashing of Rangers



New York Islanders Anders lee Mathew Barzal

The New York Islanders will take a start like that any day.

The Islanders scored three times in the first period, anchored by goals from Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal, and kicked off the 2020-21 season with a 4-0 win over the New York Rangers. Brock Nelson also scored for the Islanders on Thursday.

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“I think we just wanted to start on the right foot and get to our game early,” Lee said. “Find that momentum by playing the way we play and I think we did a pretty good of that. It was the result of a good camp and everyone being ready for tonight, and Varly playing a great game as well. Just a good team effort.”

The season-opening win was anchored by a strong effort in the first and third period by the Isles, and a good performance in the net when they needed it from Semyon Varlamov. It was the 10th consecutive opening night start and second with the Islanders for Varlamov, who finished the night with 24 saves.

The opening night shutout was the Isles’ first since Chico Resch accomplished the feat in 1976 against Philadelphia.

“It’s always easy to play like that when we score first,” Varlamov said. “Overall I’m pretty happy with how we did today. I thought the team played very well.”

The Islanders finished the night with 33 shots on net, while holding the young Rangers to 24 shots.

The Isles special teams unit got plenty of work to start the season, with the Rangers giving the Islanders eight power-play chances on Thursday. They capitalized on two of their chances.

It didn’t take long for the Islanders to find the back of the net on Thursday night. It was a mere 2:33 into the game when Nelson lit the lamp for the first of four goals on the evening from the Long Island visitors.

The goal was the fourth fastest the Islanders have scored in a season-opening game in franchise history.

Anthon Beauvillier went for a shot inside the faceoff circle, but had it redirect off the skate of Adam Fox and went right to Nelson in the slot. Nelson quickly put it past Igor Shesterkin for the Isles’ first power-play goal of the year.

Just over a minute later, the Isles struck paydirt again. After Lee took a stick up high he stayed on the ice and after a Rangers turnover was able to create a two-on-one. The Islanders captain fired a shot of the New York goalie’s arm and in for his first of two goals on Thursday.

“I was a little upset. Took one to the teeth and I was making my way back,” Lee said about the goal. “I kind of got lucky that the puck got to Ledds and I could kind of take a chance on hoping that that one got out. He made a great play getting the puck down and it came right to me.”

Barzal capped off a strong first for the Isles with an impressive goal to make it 3-0 after weaving by three Rangers.

Despite a Rangers push in the second, the Islanders were the ones to add a goal in the third. Jordan Eberle threw the puck towards the net and Lee redirected the puck in the slot for his second of the night.

The goal was officially credited to Eberle, but video evidence clearly shows the puck was tipped by Lee.

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New York Islanders

County Exec Laura Curran Cheering on New York Islanders from Quarantine



Nassau County Exec Laura Curran

As the New York Islanders open their season this evening many Islanders fans will be watching the game from home, which includes Nassau County’s most influential fan of the team county executive Laura Curran.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran will be watching the Islanders battle the New York Rangers from quarantine after she was recently exposed to someone with COVID-19. Curran tweeted out a video this afternoon about her excitement for being able to watch the season opener in its entirety.

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“I guess the small silver lining of quarantine is that I get I watch TV tonight,” Curran said in the video. “And that means I get to watch the entire Islanders game.  Game one,  taking on the Rangers, 7 p.m. puck drops. I am ready.”

Curran’s office announced that the county executive had been exposed to COVID-19 on Wednesday night and she is at the beginning of a 10-day quarantine. Officials from the county executive’s office declined to disclose to Newsday where Curran had been exposed to the virus for privacy reasons.

Curran has been an unabashed fan of the Islanders and today was the second time in five days the Nassau County politician tweeted about the Islanders. The county executive tweeted “YES! YES! YES!” along with a GIF of Mathew Barzal following news that the Islanders star had re-signed for three years with the team on Saturday.

Curran has been a vocal supporter of the UBS Arena project at Belmont Park and of getting the Islanders back on Long Island before the opening of UBS Arena in the fall. Curran twice lobbied NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to allow the Islanders to play at Nassau Coliseum before their new home opens.

In 2019, Curran wrote to Bettman to help persuade him to allow the Islanders to play home playoff games on Long Island. The NHL eventually came to an agreement that allowed the Islanders to play their first-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nassau Coliseum and then after that all home postseason games would move to Barclays Center.

Last year, she called on Bettman again to allow the Islanders to play their final full season before UBS Arena at the Coliseum. The NHL eventually allowed the Islanders to do so after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stepped in.

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