Islanders furious start enough to hold off late Rangers rally, 5-3

NHL: New York Rangers at New York Islanders
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The New York Rangers may have wished that their preseason game against the New York Islanders would’ve been cancelled instead of postponed.

A furious start by the Isles was enough to hold off a third period surge by the Rangers, who fell to 1-3-0 this preseason after a 5-3 loss.

“It was not good at all,” a very disappointed Peter Laviolette said. “It’s unacceptable the first half of that game. It’s not who we are and who we want to be. We’ll talk about it and get back to work. There’s no excuses for that.”

Related: Rangers trim roster with more cuts

New York Islanders 5 vs New York Rangers 3

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers looked disinterested and a step behind from the opening draw through the first 20 minutes of the first period. Ultimately, the results were disastrous.

One line in particular had a nightmare opening frame. Vincent Trocheck centering Artemi Panarin and Alexis Lafreniere had a forgetful period with each player a -2.

On the first goal, Lafreniere stopped moving his feet and was not ready for a cross-ice pass that J.G. Pageau put by Jonathan Quick at the 7:07 mark. Brock Nelson made it 2-0 just 2:30 later after the Isles forecheck caused a Panarin turnover and sent Mac Hollowell scrambling on defense. The assault on Quick continued, with Bo Horvat catching the Rangers flat footed to score on a wraparound.

When the buzzer mercifully sounded, Quick and the Rangers surrendered 3 goals on 13 shots, while only generating 6 shots of their own.

“It’s some adjustment for sure,” captain Jacob Trouba explained about learning a new system. “We know it in practice, but it’s a little different scenario when you get into games. We just have to get comfortable making the reads and it’s going to take a little bit of time.”

The Blueshirts wanted to turn things around in the middle stanza but it was basically a repeat of the first.

Quick remained under fire and did his best to keep the Rangers in it. Despite a valiant effort, Cal Clutterbuck was left alone in front to extend the lead to 4-0 with 9:26 remaining. The veteran goalie finished the night stopping 21 of 25 shots.

A late power play was awarded to the Rangers when J.G. Pageau roughed up Jacob Trouba. In what should’ve been a golden opportunity to breathe some life into this game, the team just fizzled as Semyon Varlamov was barely tested.

The third period started with Dylan Garand replacing Quick and Laviolette juggling lines.

Brennan Othmann broke Varlamov’s shutout as he tucked home a rebound at the side of the net 5:07 in. Trocheck and another imprressive youngster, Matt Rempe registered the assists. For Othmann, that was goals in consecutive contests.

“I’m learning,” Othmann stated. “I’m going to continue to try and make this team and do the best I can every night.”

One of many areas of concern for the Rangers in the preseason has to be the power play. A roughing call by Scott Mayfield on Rempe with 9:49 left should have made things interesting. However, their ineffectiveness a man-up is now at 0-12 through four preseason games.

Barclay Goodrow got another one back as the Rangers buzzed hard in the Isles zone. Lafreniere made a good play on the boards to keep possesion. The puck eventually got to Trouba sneaking in for a shot that Varlamov stopped. That’s when Goodrow stepped in to swat at a loose puck for the goal earning helpers for Trouba and Lafreniere.

The Rangers would pull Garand for an extra attacker with two minutes remaining. Will Cuylle then cashed in a Jonny Brodzinski’s redirect that landed on his stick for a tap in as 50 seconds remained on the clock.

On the ensuing draw, the Rangers were able to win it and get into the zone to pull Garand again. Of course, it was a little too late as Anders Lee closed it out with an empty net goal for a 5-3 final.

Rangers Notes

  • Jonathan Quick made 21 saves on 25 shots
  • Dylan Garand stopped all 7 shots he faced
  • Will Cuylle recorded a goal on his only shot, his first with the Rangers
  • Brennan Othmann recorded a goal on his only shot
  • Barclay Goodrow had a goal and 17 penalty minutes
  • Artemi Panarin was a -3 in his first preseason game

Rangers next game is against the New Jersey Devils on the road this coming October 4 at 7 PM ET.

The team will have a day off tomorrow and will be back at practice on Monday at 11 AM ET.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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