The New York Islanders suffered their second loss of the preseason on Tuesday, falling 3-1 to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Jordan Eberle scored his fourth goal of the preseason, but it was not enough to overcome a 2-0 Rangers lead. Artemi Panarin scored a pair of goals, including the eventual winner and an empty-netter, while Vitali Kravtsov also scored for the Rangers, who picked up their first win of the preseason. The Islanders dropped to 4-2-0.
While the loss doesn't count in the standings, Head Coach Barry Trotz was not pleased with some Islanders' details on Tuesday night, citing puck management, face-offs (the Isles lost 24-of-38) and line changes among his grievances.
"We needed to play a lot faster," Trotz said. "Our puck management was not where we need to be. The Rangers got some steady, they transitioned and they worked. They countered on us… You get what you deserve."
Video: NYI@NYR: Eberle sneaks nice wrister by Georgiev
Eberle put the Islanders on the board at 12:07 of the third period, netting his fourth goal of the preseason. Mathew Barzal set up the play, stripping the puck off Adam Fox in the corner, skating behind the net and feeding Eberle out front for the roof job. If the past three games are any indication, the Isles top line has found its groove and the Barzal-Eberle connection is as strong as ever.
"It's clicking," Barzal said. "Our chemistry is there between the three of us… I thought again we had some good plays, some good chances, I thought we let it slip there in the second period. I don't know what it was, a lack of forechecking, a lack of speed. I think we're pretty satisfied with where we're at."
DOBSON PLAYS IN BACK-TO-BACK:
After overhauling his lineups for each of the Isles first five preseason games, Barry Trotz put a handful of players in a back-to-back situation on Tuesday night.
Mathew Barzal, Jordan Eberle, Anders Lee, Nick Leddy and Noah Dobson all suited up in consecutive games, but Trotz said back-to-backs are a reality of the season, so he had no issue sending some of his top horses out for a second straight night. The Islanders' coach did see it as a new challenge for Dobson, curious as to how the 19-year-old would react.
Dobson said he felt fine physically, logging 15:08 with two hits and two blocked shots. The 19-year-old also had three giveaways, but lining up against players like Panarin and Mika Zibanejad - the most skill he said he'd encountered in the preseason - was a new experience and bound to incur some growing pains.
"When those highly-skilled guys start roaming and get moving around and finding space he's got to be a little more disciplined at times," Trotz said. "It's going to come. He's 19-years-old. I'm sure we can fix that. He's a bright player, he's smart. I'm pretty sure that he knows. If he watches it he'll know and say, 'I got it.' He's really good that way."
Video: Panarin scores twice as Rangers defeat Islanders, 3-1
FIRST PRESEASON GAME FOR BAILEY:
Josh Bailey played in his first preseason game on Tuesday night, skating on a line with Brock Nelson and Josh Ho-Sang. Bailey's late debut was the result of a minor lower-body issue, but the team decided to take a cautious approach rather than risk aggravating the injury.
Bailey played 13:53 with a shot, a hit and two takeaways.
"It's always nice to get that first game under your belt," Bailey said. "It doesn't matter how long you've been in the league, you always get those jitters before your first one. You just want to go out there and feel like a hockey player again. It's one thing to do it in practice and scrimmages. I felt good."
Oliver Wahlstrom was all over the ice on Tuesday night, recording a game-high five shots. Trotz took notice of the inspired effort from Wahlstrom, who played alongside Anthony Beauvillier and Derick Brassard.
"I liked his determination. I liked the fact that he wasn't taking the long road. He was going pretty straightforward and he was trying to use his big body and his capability. He did pretty well."
(Editor's note: Read more about Wahlstrom's first pro training camp experience in Sasha Kandrach's article here.)
ROSTER TRIM COMING:
With six-of-seven games in the books, Trotz said the Islanders will cut their training camp roster down to 30 players or fewer over the couple of days. The current training camp roster stands at 52.
The Islanders wrap up preseason play on Saturday night against the Rangers at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT.