It had been 141 days since the New York Islanders last played a competitive game. If Wednesday’s exhibition tilt is any indication, then the Islanders are off to a good start heading into Game 1 of their Qualifying Round series.
The Islanders defeated their cross-town rival, the New York Rangers, 2-1. Goals from Anthony Beauvillier and Devon Toews, and a 19-save effort from Semyon Varlamov helped propel the Islanders to the win.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) July 30, 2020
Wednesday is the only warmup game the Islanders will have before they face the Florida Panthers in a best-of-five game series.
Varlamov and Thomas Greiss both got time in net, with Varlamov playing the first 40 minutes and Greiss entering for the final 20. Greiss made eight saves during his stint in net.
“You just want to go out there and stop a couple of shots,” Varlamov said about his comfort level during the game. “Then usually you already feel better right after. That’s what happened today. I made a couple of saves in the beginning. The shots were kind of outside and then started feeling better right away.”
In a surprise move, Ross Johnston was dressed in place of Tom Kuhnhackl and Trotz opted to play Andy Green and Noah Dobson as his two extra skaters. Greene and Dobson have spent training camp working with one another. The two are expected to be the first called on if an Islanders defender goes down.
Johnston has been a player that Islanders coach Barry Trotz has taken a liking to and took time to praise the bottom-six forward several times during camp.
“He’s worked very hard on everything from the skating, the Skills, all of that,” Trotz said. “Now he’s learning the game because he’s getting more reps. He’s playing. He’s a big guy that can get around the ice.”
Beauvillier’s goal at 9:15 of the second period kicked off the scoring. The Islanders forward took a pass from Andy Greene just as Beauvillier was entering the offensive zone. He charged to the net, looked off Igor Shesterkin and fired a hard wrist shot past the stick side of the Rangers goaltender.
— Isles on MSG Plus (@IslesMSGN) July 30, 2020
The goal was the icing on the cake for Beauvillier, who had already had a strong start to the game with several scoring chances early on. He also saw 2:31 of ice time during the man-advantage. Trotz had used Beauvillier on the power play during training camp last week.
“I thought we had really good pace in our scrimmage back in New York. It was just easy to kind of translate that to today’s game,” Beauvillier said. “Just trying to get ready for Saturday for the real bullets. It felt pretty good out there and like I said our pace in our scrimmages and practices have been hard. I think it helped everyone to be ready for today’s game and games moving forward.”
The goal forced the Rangers to make a change in net. Henrik Lundqvist came in to replace Shesterkin, who made six saves on the night.
Devon Toews gave the Islanders a 2-0 lead at 15:35 of the third period. Toews picked up the puck in the offensive zone and fired the puck past Lundqvist. The Rangers snapped the Islanders shutout when Filip Chytil found the back of the net 47 seconds later.
The Chytil goal was the only one Greiss or Varlamov gave up Wednesday night.
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