New York, NY—The New York Islanders kicked off their preseason slate with a 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. A slow start plus a lack of offensive production sank the Islanders early.
#Isles in warmups:
— Stefen Rosner (@stefen_rosner) September 26, 2022
Special Team Lines:
PP1: Lee-Barzal-Wahlstrom, Dobson-Holmstrom
PP2: Bardreau-Pageau-Parise, Salo-Durandeau
PK1: Parise-Pageau, Romanov-Mayfield
PK2: Andreoff-Clutterbuck, Wotherspoon-Hutton
How it Happened:
Jimmy Vesey gave the New York Rangers a 1-0 lead at 10:51 of the first period as he banked a puck off the helmet of New York Islanders netminder Semyon Varlamov and in. The power-play marker was assisted by Filip Chytil and Brennan Othmann.
Chris Kreider gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead at 15:48 of the first period as Jacob Trouba’s point shot deflected off him before he held on for a split second to get around Varlamov and send the puck into the open frame. Trouba with the lone assist on the goal.
K’Andre Miller finished off a short-handed odd-man rush to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead with just 3.7 seconds remaining in the opening period. Brennan Othmann made the back-door pass for the primary assist, with Mika Zibanejad collecting the secondary helper.
Zac Jones shot deflected off a New York Islanders defenseman to give the Rangers a 4-0 lead. Upon the deflection, the puck went under the glove hand of Varlamov at 11:41 of the second period. Kaapo Kakko and Braden Schneider were credited wit the assists.
Cal Clutterbuck got the Islanders on the board 16:10 of the third period as a Robin Salo point shot deflects off his skate and past New York Rangers netminder Dylan Garand. Ross Johnston gets the secondary assist on the Islanders’ first tally of the contest.
*The goal was credited to Robin Salo, but we shall see if that lasts.
Out of Sync Start Sinks Islanders
The New York Islanders were not in sync for the majority of the night, which can be expected when players are with new personnel, especially after a long summer.
Alexander Romanov lost his man, Kris Kreider in front which allowed the Rangers to take a 2-0 lead. Then the Islanders allowed a shorthanded goal as a failure to communicate gave the Rangers an easy tap-in to put the Islanders down three before the first period ever came to a close.
Throughout the remainder of the contest, the Islanders still struggled on the power play when the puck came out of the Rangers’ zone, allowing them quality scoring chances.
In the third period, Robin Salo, who had a strong night, made a drop pass in the neutral zone to no one, which allowed Rangers forward Gustav Rydhal to get in alone on Jakub Skarek, but was denied.
Varlamov Shaky in Preseason Debut
For New York Islanders starting netminder Semyon Varlamov, he was a bit behind in his first action of the preseason. Through 31:15 TOI, Varlamov stopped 16 of 20 shots that came his way.
Although not all four goals were on him, there were certainly a few he would want back. Jimmy Vesey’s goal off his head and in was a tough break, as Varlamov expected a pass, which is why his head was facing the slot.
No angle, no problem. 👌 pic.twitter.com/luF5drkS3s
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) September 26, 2022
The second and third goals against came off blown coverages, two plays he had little to no chance on.
Varlamov’s final goal against, a Kreider deflection, saw the puck go right under his arm. It’s not an easy save to make, but one that Varlamov certainly could have stopped.
Zac from downtown. 🚨 pic.twitter.com/afBkJvvwmy
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) September 27, 2022
Head coach Lane Lambert: “There’s some things that we obviously have to work on. And, you know, special teams are one of them. We hadn’t had a chance to practice them so far. So we’ll move forward.”
Grant Hutton: “I think it was one those deals where a lot of rust was shaken off tonight. That was kind of coach’s message after the game. Everything that went against us tonight is correctable things.”
Robin Salo: “We got some stuff to better on. I mean, it’s the first game. So, I mean, I just tried to do my best, you know, that’s, that’s all I can do. Just try to be active. Try to make plays and, you know, play my own game out there, and then that’s what I tried to do.”
Up Next: The New York Islanders will be in New Jersey on Tuesday night as they face the Devils for game two of their preseason schedule. The game is at 7 PM ET.