New York Rangers open preseason with 4-0 loss to Islanders; Nils Lundkvist solid in debut
The New York Rangers came out of the gate with some good pace, but a string of penalties, which included a 5 minute major to Barclay Goodrow put them on their heels. Unfortunately, the team never recovered.
One bright spot to come out of the game was the play of Nils Lundkvist, who did not look overwhelmed in his first taste of NHL action. His partner, Patrik Nemeth was also a standout playing physical and smart, just as advertised.
Recap: Islanders 4 vs Rangers 0
The Islanders jumped out to a 1-0 lead 11:28 into the game when Brock Nelson got behind Ryan Lindgren to cash in a fortuitous bounce off the post. Things went from bad to worse, when Barclay Goodrow, who also whiffed on a great feed from Vitali Kravtsov, took a 5-minute major.
Goodrow who was buzzing, caught Kyle MacLean turning towards boards. The hit resulted in an injury which is why he received the boarding major. Casey Cizikas would score to make it 2-0.
Things weren’t much better in the second period down a man. The Blueshirts really had no flow and most of their chances were not of the grade-A type. The Rangers did finally get a power play but could not do much with it. Cal Clutterbuck would make it 3-0 at 12:44 and end Alexandar Georgiev’s night with 13 saves on 16 shots.
Goalie Adam Huska wouldn’t fair any better as Ross Johnston converted a beautiful Clutterbuck feed to make it 4-0 less than five minutes into the third. The Rangers would get a back-to-back power play opportunities soon after, but failed to score.
In the end, the Rangers did put forth an effort all game but were not as cohesive a unit as the Islanders. The next game is Tuesday night against the Bruins at 7PM.
- Dryden Hunt was moved up to the second line and played very well. He signed a one-year, two-way deal for $767K this summer. Hunt scored 8 points for Arizona last year in 26 games, and is fighting for a 4th line role. He could be a candidate as the 13th forward.
- The defense pairing of Nemeth and Lundkvist was very solid. Considering the Rangers were on their heels most of the game, both looked very good together under pressure. Most importantly, Nils did not look out of place and adjusted quickly to pace of play and the smaller rink size. Expect him to take some more chances offensively as he grows more comfortable.
- Vitali Kravtsov also looked good all game. His size and speed were evident all night. At times he looked like the Rangers best player thanks to his elite hockeyIQ.
- The new top line of Kreider, Zibanejad, and Lafrenière were good but not great. They certainly are getting a feel for each other as a unit, but promise is there.
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