The New York Rangers entered their final preseason game with caution. With opening night just four days away, Gerard Gallant opted to hold out Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Chris Kreider. Recent Gallup Greg McKegg, and just off the injured list Vitali Kravtsov were in the lineup.
Despite missing their top forwards, and losing Ryan Strome to injury the kids got the job done for the Rangers.
Recap: Rangers 5 vs Islanders 4
The Rangers found themselves in a 1-0 hole just 3:03 into the game. Alexis Lafrenière threw a blind pass at the blue line which was intercepted by the Islanders. Andy Greene dropped the puck back and Anders Lee blasted it off Jacob Trouba’s stick and past Alexandar Georgiev.
Obviously not having their best players in the lineup made it hard for the Rangers but Julien Gauthier used his size and speed to draw a penalty at the 15:39 mark. In what was an excellent power play, Kravtsov finished a beautiful cross ice feed from Ryan Strome to tie the game with 17 seconds left on the man advantage.
The second period started all tied up for only 31 seconds. Kaapo Kakko controlled play in the offensive zone and found K’Andre Miller at the point. His blast caused a rebound off Ilya Sorokin for Strome to put it back in for a 2-1 lead.
Sammy Blais took a penalty at the 1:46 mark, but the Rangers PK coming up strong again. The Blueshirts then continued to bring the heat on the Islanders as Sorokin had to thwart several chances, including a huge stop on Filip Chytil. The Isles goalie won this battle but there was more coming from the Rangers talented pivot.
The two teams kept up the pace but frustration was starting to build for the Islanders. Late in the second, Ryan Pulock took a roughing penalty on Morgan Barron at 19:15. On the power play, an accidental collision occurred and Strome appeared to injure his right hand.
After the game, Gallant said that he did not believe Strome’s injury would keep him out of the lineup for opening night.
Before the third period started, the Rangers announced that Strome would not return. That seemed to deject the team and the Isles took advantage. Mathew Barzal scored just 2:06 in, but it served as a wakeup call for the Blueshirts.
Filip Chytil would give the Rangers a 3-2 lead off a beautiful feed from Dryden Hunt, who picked up his second assist of the game.
The Isles took advantage of an Adam Fox penalty as Anders Lee picked up his second of the game at the 7:41 mark. But one good PP goal deserves another, and Chytil would score again off a beautiful feed by Lafrenière to restore the lead at 4-3.
Things got chippy as the Islanders took several cheap shots at Rangers players including an uncalled cross-check on Kevin Rooney. Late in the third, Mathew Barzal tied it off a wild sequence with Sorokin pulled a 19:10.
When OT began it immediately became the Kaapo Kakko show. The 20 year-old #2 overall pick in the 2019 Draft drew a penalty just 27 seconds on Mathew Barzal. Then he along with Lafrenière and Fox, put on a clinic that ended with Kakko from behind the net finding Chytil. He wasted no time and rifled it for the power-play winner, and the hat-trick.
The Rangers 5-4 win gives them a 4-2 preseason record and a good feeling heading into the season.
- Filip Chytil closed out the preseason with a hat-trick on 4 shots.
- Vitali Kravtsov was solid in his return picking up a PPG
- Kaapo Kakko was force all game registering 2 assists
- Alexis Lafrenière recovered from his early turnover with 2 assists
- Dryden Hunt also picked up 2 assists to make one last statement to make the team
- Julien Gauthier and Sammy Blais each played five preseason games; most on team
- NYR PP went 3 for 5
Practice: Monday, Oct. 11 (11:00 AM at MSG Training Center)
Next Game: Wednesday, Oct. 13 at Washington Capitals (7:30 p.m. ET – TV: TNT)
New York Rangers using Jack Eichel trade as a backup plan to signing Mika Zibanejad. Read more here.