Vitali Kravtsov celebrates his goal at the Ranger bench. AP Photo via Getty Images courtesy Newsday and Steve Ryan.
In a game that ended over an hour ago at The Garden, the Rangers got their first preseason victory by defeating the Islanders 3-1.
As I noted in the previous post from MSG on the cool WordPress app, they played much better in the fourth exhibition game. Fittingly, it came against their crosstown rivals.
Given that both teams dressed enough regulars along with young players trying to make rosters, the game itself was good. It moved fast and each period seemed to fly by. A nice thing given that it is preseason.
Since I was able to do a second period update, this will be an abbreviated write up.
The highlights included two wonderful goals from Vitali Kravtsov and Artemi Panarin. That’s Кравтсов у Панарин in Russian. A fun new feature I added since the Blueshirts have a nice Russian quotient. Especially when you include Павел бучнеьйч. Pavel Buchnevich, who had a great dish across for a Panarin one-timer goal past Isles starter Thomas Greiss.
Alexandar Georgiev relieved Lundqvist midway through. Lundqvist looked like his old self making some superb stops from in tight on an Islanders flurry. He made 14 saves before departing. Georgiev was just as good in denying a couple of dangerous Isles chances. He was unable to stop Jordan Eberle, who buried a quick one-timer high bar for his fourth of the preseason. He and Mat Barzal have excellent chemistry.
That’s as close as the Isles got. Panarin sealed it with an empty netter for his second of the night. He was superb throughout on the top line with Buchnevich and Mika Zibanejad, who played a complete three zone game.
I highlighted the second line of Kravtsov, Brett Howden and exciting rookie Kaapo Kakko, who sure is fun to watch when he gets a cycle going. The forecheck and puck possession is going to be a lot better thanks to the key additions of Panarin and Kakko.
Throw in smart rookie right defenseman Adam Fox and there’s plenty to look forward to for Blueshirt fans. Jacob Trouba also adds that physical element to the defense while being a shooting threat offensively. Hopefully, he and Brady Skjei can continue to jell.
There’s a lot more to like based off tonight. As you know, PRESEASON MATTAHS!
I also loved seeing Lias Andersson get in the face of an Islander for the snow shower they gave Georgiev. Andersson was having none of it. That’s exactly what you want to see.
Lots of positives in this one. Now, there are only two exhibitions left. Then, finally it gets real with October 3 not far away against Winnipeg.
I would love to see Kravtsov make the roster. He’s certainly making it tough. The goal was a nice reward for a player, who doesn’t look out of place.
Remember when I along with others were complaining over Oliver Wahlstrom. Not anymore. Number 74 could become a popular item among Ranger fans.
That’s all for now. Until next time.