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New York Islanders

Islanders Top Rangers 2-1 in Qualify Round Tuneup game

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Devon Toews of the New York Islanders scores against the New York Rangers

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.

Wednesday is the only warmup game the Islanders will have before they face the Florida Panthers in a best-of-five game series.

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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.

Isles Insights: Beauvillier, Varlamov Impress in Islanders Exhibition Victory | NYHN+

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.

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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New York Islanders

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

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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

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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

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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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