The New York Islanders suffered their first loss of the preseason on Monday, falling 1-0 in overtime to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Neal Pionk scored the game's only goal 2:31 into the extra frame, as the Islanders lost a closely-contested and tightly-called game. Jaroslav Halak (22 saves) and Eamon McAdam (19 saves) combined for 41 saves in the loss.
"It was a tough game, but we battled," Head Coach Doug Weight said. "The goaltending was outstanding for us. Jaro was great and gave us a chance and Eamon came in and was stellar, so it was good to see."
Video: NYI@NYR: McAdam stretches to rob Schneider's shot
Penalties were the central theme on Monday, as the Islanders and Rangers combined for 36 penalty minutes. That's without any fighting majors or a brouhaha, but rather a steady drip of stick infractions including seven slashing minors to the Islanders alone. The NHL has made a point of enforcing slashing calls for the upcoming season.
"We have to adapt to the new rules," Weight said. "Neither team did a great job of adapting today."
The Islanders PK regulars - including the Cal Clutterbuck-Casey Cizikas duo and Nikolay Kulemin - got a lot of reps in as a result, though the lack of extended even strength time hurt player evaluations.
"I get it, we have to get it in the league and set a precedent with the sticks and things like that, but it's tough to get guys involved," Weight said. "You have guys trying to make hockey clubs and make a statement, but they are generally not going to be guys killing all the penalties or on the power play. It's tough. No blame, but it was tough."
A pair of coincidental penalties to Scott Mayfield (slashing) and Lias Andersson (cross-checking) also cost the Islanders a goal, as Brock Nelson's would-be opener in the second period was called back on the play.
Video: NYI@NYR: Halak steers away Fontaine on a break
HALAK SHUTS THE DOOR
Jaroslav Halak looked sharp in his preseason debut, turning aside all 22 shots he saw through two periods of play. Halak has played well at Madison Square Garden during his Islanders career and though Monday's game didn't officially count, the trend continued, as the Islanders goalie was tested on a few backdoor plays and one-on-one chances in tight.
"I felt good. It was a long summer, but it was good to get the first one away," Halak said. "It would have been nicer to win the game, but here we are just trying to get better and learn as we go."
Halak, who finished last season on a five-game winning streak, was named the game's second star.
Known for his dynamic offensive game, Josh Ho-Sang showed some defensive chops on Monday night. Ho-Sang hustled back to help breakup a Rangers' shorthanded rush in the first period, laying out to get a stick on a pass from a trailing Ryan McDonagh.
"He did it all game," Weight said of Ho-Sang's hustle. "Josh is one of those players that when things aren't going well for your team, he tries to take a little more on his shoulders. He overhandled it a little bit, but I thought he was really good. He was working hard and creating opportunities in a game where we didn't have a lot."