Islanders 3, Rangers 2 (OT).
1) Tough one to watch, tough one to review.
2) You could see a lot of urgency from the bubble guys, for sure. Not sure any of them helped or hurt their causes, or how many might have gone one way or the other, but there was urgency.
3) Especially for a guy like Brady Skjei, whose spot on this season’s opening roster was supposed to be a slam dunk, but is anything but that with one preseason game to play.
4) Skjei looked like somebody put some pepper in his shorts in this one. Played with a bit of an edge. Drew a penalty to Casey Cizikas that was very “France in the Air.” Had a chance to win it in OT. Much better all-around game, IMO. But was it good enough after a mediocre camp, and two mediocre games? He’s going to get another shot, based on what Alain Vigneault said post-game.
5) “I haven’t honestly seen him play with the same speed and decision-making that I saw him playing last year,” Vigneault said. “Obviously we’re early in the season. Guys are trying to – everybody’s trying to find their rhythm, young players and older players. Brady is, without a doubt, a skilled young defensemen that we have a lot of confidence in. But like some veteran players he needs to do a little bit more here and hopefully it will start next game.”
6) There will be some cuts today, but not the full cutdown until after Thursday’s game against NHLDPS’s favorite, Teflon Radko and the Flyers. Vigneault had said he wanted that game’s to be pretty much his opening roster, maybe minus Mats Zuccarello. But that plan has been altered because Vigneault needs to see more from his bubble guys.
7) The way I see it, if Nick Holden moves to the right side with Ryan McDonagh, then it’s Marc Staal and Kevin Klein, and Skjei could stick as the third pair with Dan Girardi or Dylan McIlrath. But it’s possible that Skjei misses, Holden stays on the left and Adam Clendening makes the team, meaning he or McIlrath would be the seventh D. Still molto intrigue.
8) So Max Lapierre was released, which to me was not surprising. I thought he had a tough time keeping up. I also know that, over any long stretch, he’s going to be a minor-penalty machine. Probably a tough call for AV, who had him in Vancouver and gave him the tryout chance. But that fourth-line center job is another one up for grabs, not to mention the wingers. With Oscar Lindberg and Josh Jooris hurt, it’s Nathan Gerbe and Marek Hrivik, I believe, for the third-line pivot. I imagine Michael Grabner and Jesper Fast have done enough to play the wings on that line. And it is still somewhat possible that Brandon Pirri – hardly a prototypical fourth-liner – plays some there if Pavel Buchnevich is in the top nine. Vigneault praised Buchnevich Tuesday – see the Go Time! thread for more.
9) Pirri popped some eyes with the play in the crease in front of Antti Raanta early. Kid wants it here. Had a couple more scoring chances, as did Robin Kovacs.
10) Which brings us to Tanner Glass, who wore an “A” again in Brooklyn and had a nice battle with Eric Boulton, desperate to get himself any NHL games he can. Not sure how Glass makes this team, but like you, won’t be shocked if he does.
11) So the refs were just making stuff up. Glass’s hit on Ryan Strome was clearly interference, or late, or whatever. The puck wasn’t there. Boulton charged over and clearly instigated the fight. What a clown show. Love it when tough guys do this: After the fight, Glass said, “Good job” to Boulton.
12) J.T. Miller was feisty, too. Had that takeaway and semi break and missed the net. Cannot. There.
13) Clendening showed how players defended themselves in the olden days, from the Mark Messier school – deposit a couple of splinters to the mouth of the guy coming in high on you. A lesson for McDonagh, Derek Stepan and Jimmy Vesey to learn. And of course, Officer Joe Boulton negated the coming power play with a ridiculous retaliation.
14) The Brooklyn scoreboard had McIlrath with 21:32 of ice time through the first 25:49 of play. Which would be a lot.
15) I thought Raanta had another strong game. Robbed Josh Bailey in alone early third. Seemed, afterward, to enjoy the number of shots he got to face in an exhibition situation.
16) Hrivik was pretty strong on the forecheck again, dependable defensively, can skate. I really think he might be the fourth-line center opening night.
17) Rangers had several odd-man chances where they played fancy-boy passing and never got a puck to the net … remember when it looked like they were in a shoot-first mindset those first two preseason games? No more. That and shooting it wide helped keep the Rangers to 11 shots on goal through two periods.
18) My buddy Arthur Staple of Newsday asked new Islander Dennis Seidenberg if he’d ever worn his current No. 4 before. Seidenberg said, yes, he’d worn it at a couple of stops, but when he got to Boston it really wasn’t available.
19) The Islanders went with the leave-two-guys-open-in-front defense and Chris Kreider tipped Staal’s shot out of the air and past J-F Berube to break the 0-0 tie and give the Rangers the lead. I think Staal’s shot would have been on goal.
20) That lasted a few seconds. It didn’t feel like :41. Clutterbuck’s toss to the front, which was going way wide, hit the skate of McIlrath and ricocheted past Raanta. 1-1.
21) Of course Clutterbuck broke the tie – it would have been Jason Chimera if not Clutterbuck, right? – as Staal and McIlrath both ignored him in front on the power play.
22) Finally, a pass worked. I think it was a pass … we had the baseball game on the monitor, so didn’t see a decent replay. Anyway, Kreider cross-ice to Nicklas Jensen for a wrister top corner. 2-2. I don’t see how Jensen makes the team, but he’s a pretty good player.
24) AV was in the skybox. Hence, the Rangers used a timeout.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1. Chris Kreider.
2. Antti Raanta.
3. Nathan Gerbe.
Photos by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images.