Devils still have New York Rangers number with 3-2 preseason win
The stakes for this matchup were obviously less since it was only preseason, but the New York Rangers would’ve liked to had come out victors anyway.
In an exciting game, the New Jersey Devils reminded their Hudson River rivals who won their playoff series in May. Backstopped by excellent goaltending, primarily from Akira Schmid, the Devils came out on top 3-2 Thursday night at the Garden.
“Coming out of the gate we were a little slow,” Peter Laviolette admitted. “I really liked the second period as we played a much better brand of hockey. In third, we were chasing but the guys continued to push through the game trying to tie it up.”
New Jersey Devils 3 vs New York Rangers 1
The opening frame had a quick pace as these two rivals reintroduced themselves to one another. A Mika Zibanejad penalty on Jesper Bratt 3:18 into the match led to a tilting of the ice in Jersey’s favor early. Igor Shesterkin stopped all five shots sent his way to help kill the penalty, but the Rangers were a step behind the rest of the period being outshot 12-9.
Tyler Toffoli would capitalize on some sloppy Rangers zone play late in the frame. His quick shovel shot towards the net went off Shesterkin’s stick and between his pads for a 1-0 lead with 1:10 remaining.
New York opened up the second period with plenty of buzz, led by two young players in Will Cuylle and Brennan Othmann. In the opening five minutes, Cuylle had one close-in chance and hit a post to nearly tie the game. Meanwhile, Othmann just shanked a one-timer off a beautul pass from Adam Fox, but the offensive pressure yielded a power play to keep the momentum going.
On the man advantage, Akira Schmid continued to stymie the Rangers including a point-blank stop on Kaapo Kakko. New York kept the momentum going as even the fourth-line generated chances with Alex Belzile thwarted after splittig the defense.
Erik Kallgren replaced Schmid at the 10:37 mark, who stopped all 19 shots he faced, including 10 in the half a period he played in the second.
The Rangers were happy to see him go as defenseman Erik Gustafsson went top shelf over Kallgren’s blocker just 15 seconds after he took over. Braden Schneider was the man who made the play to set up his partner, and Cuylle picked up the other helper.
“My game got better as it went on,” Cuylle said. “I’m getting more comfortable with the puck, the systems, and speed. It’s great that I’m getting lots of opportuities to show what I can do and that I’m not just a one dimensional player.”
Shesterkin was not called upon much in the middle stanza, however he made a huge breakaway save on Graeme Clarke to keep things even heading into the third.
Louis Domingue took over for Shesterkin to start the final frame and Bratt took advantage just 26 seconds in to regain the lead scoring on an odd man rush. That sent the Devils off to the races putting the Rangers on their heels leading to several misplays and Grade A scoring chances that either went wide or Domingue stopped.
The Rangers didn’t make much of a push until late in the period with their goalie pulled, but a prime chance by Zac Jones sneaking in was gobbled up by Kallgren. Unfortunately, Michael McLeod was able to take the puck away from Fox on the next play for an empty-netter.
Peter Laviolette pulled Domingue again, and Brennan Othmann would give the Rangers’ fans something to smile about on a snap shot goal with just 34 seconds. Assists went to K’Andre Miller and Gustafsson before the final buzzer sounded.
- Igor Shesterkin finished the game with 19 saves on 20 shots
- Louis Domingue stopped 4 out of 5 shots
- Brennan Othmann scored his first NHL preseason goal, and was a +1 with 3 hits
- Will Cuylle had 1 assists, 3 shots, and 3 hits
- Erik Gustafsson had a 1 goal and 1 assist
The Rangers are back at it tomorrow versus the New York Islanders at UBS Arena. Puck drop is at 7 PM ET.
Prior to the matchup, the game group will skate 10 – 10:30 AM ET at MSG Training Center, followed by the non-game group from 11 to 12:30 PM ET.