On a small winless streak after capturing victories in the first couple of games in the preseason, the New York Rangers will look to return to victory against a team that they began the preseason festivities against, the New York Islanders, on Tuesday night at Barclays Center. The game (7:00 PM, MSG2) will complete a back-to-back for the Rangers, who dropped the first half in overtime last night, a 4-3 overtime defeat in Philadelphia.
Having gone winless (0-3-1) against their Brooklyn rivals last season and slated for an opening night showdown with them when the regular season puck drops on October 13, the Rangers picked up some much needed momentum unofficially entering the 2016-17 season, as they earned a 5-2 win over the Islanders in their preseason debut.
The Rangers’ rivals got on the board first in the first showdown, as longtime nemesis Jason Chimera, newly acquired for the Islanders, put in a goal past Magnus Hellberg to make 1-0 early. Before the period was out, however, the Rangers were not only able to tie, which they did on a Mika Zibanejad power play goal, but they took the lead into the first intermission as well, as Chris Kreider scored in the penultimate minute. Adam Clendening assisted on both 1st period goals.
It was in the second where Brandon Pirri, currently leading the Rangers with four goals in three games during exhibitions, first got on the board. After assisting Zibanejad’s goal, Pirri scored on a power play, capping 2-for-3 night for the unit. The previous goal scorers, Zibanejad and Kreider, would get the assists on Pirri’s first unofficial Rangers score, the lone of the 2nd period that ended with the Rangers up 3-1.
After Nick Leddy drew the Islanders closer in the final frame, putting one past Mackenzie Skapski, defensemen helped the Rangers put the game away. Dylan McIlrath scored from the blue line, with Zibanejad picking up his 2nd assist on the night, and Dan Girardi capped things with an empty netter in the final stages. In shared goaltending duties, Skapski and Hellberg saved 21 of 23 Islander shots, while on the opposing side, Jean-Francois Berube faced 30 Rangers shots, stopping 26 of them in a full game effort.
Back in the lineup tonight for the Rangers will be several heroes from the first game, including Zibanejad, Clendening, Kreider and Pirri. Michael Grabner, who did not play the first preseason tilt, is also slated to be in the lineup. In net, the Rangers are expected to return Hellberg, who will split duties with Antti Raanta.
After tonight’s game on MSG2, be sure to tune into blueshirtsnation.com for Joseph Souza’s complete postgame report!