The New York Islanders closed out their preseason on a winning note, scoring a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers at Webster Bank Arena on Saturday night.
Mathew Barzal broke a 2-2 tie with 2:20 to play, one-timing a cross-ice seam pass from Ryan Pulock past Alexandar Georgiev for the go-ahead goal. Michael Dal Colle and Josh Bailey each had power-play goals, while Adam Pelech iced the game with an empty-netter. The Isles finish the preseason with a 5-2-0 record.
"The last few preseason games have been good for us," Barzal said. "As a group we look like we're getting in sync and hopefully and we can get it clicking right next Friday."
Vladislav Namestnikov and Tony DeAngelo scored for the Rangers, who finished the preseason 2-4-0.
Video: NYR@NYI: Barzal snaps quick shot by Georgiev
SPECIAL TEAMS GET LOTS OF WORK:
Special teams were the theme of the day, as Islanders went 2-for-6 on the power play and 7-for-7 on the penalty kill. In total, the teams combined for 15 minor penalties, as well as a pair of fighting majors and game misconducts.
The constant barrage of penalties slowed the flow of the game, but allowed the Islanders - who were icing a veteran-heavy lineup - to get lots of live reps in on both of their special teams.
"Our PKers did a heck of a job tonight again. I think they are one of the best crews in the league and again, our power play wasn't bad," Barzal said. "We buried a couple of rebound goals, which is nice, but I'd like to generate a bit more grade-A scoring looks. It's a step in the right direction and hopefully we can keep it going into the regular season."
The Isles started 0-for-3 with the man advantage, but scored on consecutive power plays at the end of the second and start of the third periods. Nick Leddy led an end-to-end rush up the ice that Dal Colle ultimately finished on the doorstep with 17.4 seconds left in the middle frame, while Bailey pulled the trigger on a Jordan Eberle feed early in the third. (The power play nearly had a third, but Anders Lee's would be go-ahead goal was whistled back to a high stick.)
Video: NYR@NYI: Dal Colle cleans up rebound for PPG
The two-goal night matched the Islanders output from the whole preseason, as they entered the game 2-for-20 on the man advantage. Barzal said it felt like a breakout for the power play, especially as they get acclimated to Jim Hiller's changes. Trotz was a little hesitant to call it a breakthrough, but said seeing the puck go in the net should help the confidence of his two units.
"You get a couple and it gives you confidence," Trotz said. "Sometimes you're going to score on a power play and spend little time, but when you execute it you end up in the back of the net. Other times you're going to have to grind it out a little bit and you may get chances and it doesn't go in the back of the net. I thought we had a little bit of both. We grinded it out when we had to and we executed when we had to."
The Islanders penalty kill went 7-for-7, looking solid against an albeit undermanned Rangers power play that was without Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba or Mika Zibanejad.
Video: NYR@NYI: Bailey puts big rebound into twine for PPG
CIZIKAS "FINE" AFTER LATE SCARE:
Casey Cizikas "should be fine" according to Barry Trotz after being shaken up on a late collision at the end of the game. Rangers defenseman Adam Fox collided with Cizikas and Vitali Kravstov, causing Cizikas to hurdle through the air. The Isles center skated gingerly off the ice, but should be okay according to the coach.
GOALIES SPLIT GAME:
Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss split Saturday night's contest. Varlamov stopped all 14 shots he faced in his 31 minutes of action, while Greiss stopped five-of-seven and picked up the win.
The next one counts as the Isles kick off the regular season on Friday, Oct. 4 against the Washington Capitals.