Photo by Bruce Bennet/Getty Images
The New York Rangers opened their preseason at home on Wednesday, Sep. 18 with a 4-3 loss to their rivals across the Hudson River, the New Jersey Devils. The team couldn’t get the win but did leave behind plenty of hope and excitement for their upcoming season beginning Oct. 4.
With the Devils having the first overall pick, the Rangers having the second, and both teams making big offseason moves regarding their roster, anticipation was in the air. The first overall pick of the 2019 NHL Draft, Jack Hughes, was not featured on the Devils roster, but newly acquired Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba, and 18-year-old draftee, Kaapo Kakko, were on the Rangers bench that evening.
The first period action did not delay, as Devils star center Nico Hischer scored just 37 seconds in on a deflection that caught Rangers goalie, Alexandar Georgiev, off guard. The Rangers had their first power play of the preseason after Will Butcher was called for delay of game. The power play unit included Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Panarin, Kakko, and Trouba. This powerhouse of a unit could not get the puck past Corey Schneider, but did not fail to impress. With just under 20 seconds left in the period, Mikhail Maltsev scored a noteworthy goal on a takeaway in the Rangers defensive zone, slipping to his knees before tapping the puck in.
The stars were out to play early in the second period when Artemi Panarin hammered a power play slap shot past Schneider, assisted by Kakko and Trouba to make it a 2-1 game. Much to the dismay of Ranger fans, Panarin left the game that period with a ‘mild groin strain’. Not too shortly after, the Devils answered with an even strength goal on a beautiful pass from Brandon Baddock to Nikita Gusev to make the game 3-1. At 12:36 into the second period, it was the Rangers’ turn to answer with their fourth line on display when Greg McKegg passed the puck to Michael Haley for an open net goal.
The third period opened with a glove save by Igor Shestorkin, who replaced Georgiev in the second period. About four minutes in, Shestorkin was unable to keep the puck out of the crease after a couple of saves and the Devils’ Brett Seney scored the game-winning goal, making the game 4-2. The game was not over for the Rangers, though, and Lias Andersson was able to put in a rebound off of Evan Cormier to make the score 4-3 10 minutes into the final period.
Fans were able to get just a taste of what is in store. The Rangers were able to show their highly-anticipated offensive play, but fell short with the amazing efforts of both Corey Schneider and Evan Cormier. It has been made evident that both teams have upcoming seasons with a lot to prove, but a lot of skills within their roster to do so. The rivalry continues.