There were a lot of positives in the New York Ranger’s 2-1 loss to the Islanders at the Toronto bubble location. The first being that there was hockey being played since the coronavirus shut down the league in March. The second being that the New York Rangers saw enough positives in tonight’s game to give them confidence heading into Saturday’s playoff game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
New York Rangers working off the rust in the exhibition game
It was truly a game that saw both teams looking like they had not played a real game in four months. The timing was off but the Rangers did see some good defense and some good goaltending in the loss. Not to mention, that the Islanders also played solid defense and goaltending.
The Rangers did outshoot the Islanders 27-22 but Islander goaltender Semyon Varlamov was excellent in the two periods that he played in the game.
Anthony Beauvillier opened the scoring at 9:15 of the second period when he scored a goal on a 2-on-1 rush. This was the only goal that Igor Shesterkin gave up as he stopped six of the seven shots he saw. He was replaced by Henrik Lundqvist after that goal, as head coach David Quinn had determined that each goaltender would play half of the game.
After Devon Toews scored at 15:35 of the third period, the Rangers got on the board when Filip Chytil put one in the net past Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss, cutting the lead to 2-1. The Rangers put on a furious rush at the end, but could not push through the tying goal.
Rangers defenseman Marc Staal did not return for the third period after playing 15 shifts totaling 11:08 in the first two periods. There was no reason given for his absence.
Despite the loss, the Rangers felt good about getting on the ice and playing a game. “Especially playing a team like the Islanders, who are structurally very sound, a veteran team, it was good to be able to get your timing and get your legs back underneath you,” Chris Kreider said, ” to get used to that timing and space as you can only get so much from intrasquad scrimmages.”
Kreider also added that “Guys are a little angry right now, we never like losing to the Islanders. So maybe a chip on our shoulder heading into Saturday is not a bad thing.”
Head coach David Quinn had mixed feelings about the game. In his post-game press conference he said: “I liked some of the things we did and I did not like some of the things we did, I thought it was a mixed bag.”
“I thought as the game went on, we became a little frustrated”, Quinn explained. “but it’s going to be hard hockey here. but it was hard hockey here and we knew playing the Islanders it was going to be hard hockey.”
The hard hockey continues for real on Saturday when the Rangers open their playoff series in a noon face-off with the Carolina Hurricanes.