New York Rangers hellish preseason continues, lose to Devils 5-2

NHL: Preseason-New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday night in Newark, the New York Rangers fell to the New Jersey Devils, 5-2, in their second meeting of the 2023-2024 preseason. The loss now drops the Blueshirts to a miserable 1-4-0 record and continues to raise concerns about their play even though it’s just the preseason.

With both teams sending out their most complete lineups of the preseason, this game looked eerily similar to last year’s playoff series that saw the Rangers lose in seven games. From the get go, New Jersey dominated the pace of play with their speed and skill, something the Blueshirts painfully know all too well.

Unfortunately, the team also lost forward Tyler Pitlick to an upper-body injury prior to the start of the third period. Head coach Peter Laviolette said afterwards that it is day-to-day.

Related: Filip Chytil getting better

New Jersey Devils 5 vs New York Rangers 2

NHL: Preseason-New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Quick got the start in net for the Blueshirts, opposed by Vitek Vanecek, who is entering his second season with the Devils.

The first goal of the game came after New York was assessed a bench minor for having too many men on the ice. Jesper Bratt wristed a shot past Quick, picking up his fifth goal of the preseason and giving the Devils a 1-0 lead. New Jersey’s power play is now 9/19 through six preseason games.

Devils’ promising young defenseman, Luke Hughes, added on to the lead just 32 seconds later with a wrist shot from the point, giving the home team a 2-0 lead after one. The Rangers registered just three shots in the opening frame.

The Rangers came out more inspired in the second period, as highly regarded prospect, Will Cuylle, continued his impressive preseason with a goal after Braden Schneider’s missed shot bounced right to him. New Jersey’s lead was cut in half to 2-1.

The Devils quickly responded with a goal of their own, once again on the power play, as Dawson Mercer followed up a strong drive to net from Timo Meier and buried a shot past Quick to make it 3-1 New Jersey.

The Rangers got their first two power play chances of the night after Brendan Smith took a slashing penalty and Tomas Nosek went off for the same minor. After turning the puck over to John Marino for a short-handed chance, Artemi Panarin fed Adam Fox for the Blueshirts’ first power play goal of the preseason. The Devils’ lead was trimmed to 3-2.

With just over seven minutes to go in the period, New Jersey’s power play struck again, as Jack Hughes ripped a onetime feed from newcomer Tyler Toffoli past Quick, giving the Devils a 4-2 lead after two.

The lone tally of the third period came on an empty net goal from Devils’ captain Nico Hischier, but the Rangers showed some positives in the final frame.

The line of Kaapo Kakko, Mika Zibanejad and Panarin exhibited some life with a strong period together. Known for his offensive skills, defenseman Erik Gustafsson showed that he can play physically as well, as one of the newer Rangers laid a big hit on Michael McLeod.

Unfortunately, outside of the play of Cuylle, there wasn’t much else to like about the Rangers in this one.

Rangers Notes

  • Jonathan Quick made 15 saves on 19 shots
  • Braden Schneider registered his second assist of the preseason
  • Adam Fox got his first point of the preseason
  • Artemi Panarin notched his first preseason point (assist on Fox goal)
  • Will Cuylle recorded a goal in his second straight game, he has 2 goals and 1 assist this preseason

The Rangers’ final preseason game will be on Thursday, October 5th at 7:30 p.m., as they welcome the Boston Bruins to Madison Square Garden.

No morning skate is scheduled, and coach Laviolette will address the media at 4:45 p.m. ET.

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