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Quick Hits: Rangers Top Islanders 1-0 In Overtime To Open Preseason

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NHL: Preseason-New York Islanders at New York Rangers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

This will be straying away from our normal recap format, but being that it’s preseason and there’s plenty to keep an eye on, I’ll just cover some of the more important topics. Aside from the game being an absolute penalty fest, there was quite a bit to takeaway especially from some of the younger guys fighting for spots.

  • Neal Pionk gets the first bullet point tonight after his ridiculous spin-o-rama move in overtime to seal the game. Pionk was extremely noticeable tonight and certainly put his offensive instincts on full display. He was also very reliable in the defensive end and made several impressive outlet passes to generate rushes. He’ll be a name to keep an eye on moving forward.
  • Also on the backend, Anthony DeAngelo was equally as impressive. Like Pionk, a lot of the hype surrounding DeAngelo stems from his play with the puck. He was given several chances to run the power play and did so in convincing fashion. His outlet passes were also very crisp and clean, which just shows the type of offense he can bring to this team if given a chance.
  • Lias Andersson got his first taste of North American hockey this evening, and didn’t look out of place at all. He was hard on the forecheck, creatively put pucks into open areas, and picked up an assist on the game-winning goal in overtime. There was certainly a lot left to be desired with Andersson though, but that’s expected for an 18-year-old adjusting to a new style of hockey. He’ll definitely get his fair share of chances with five more preseason games on the docket.
  • Nick Holden had a rather lackluster game, and that might be putting it a bit lightly. He was harshly criticized last year, and deserving so, for his ill-timed pinches and overall lack of awareness in the defensive end. Much of that was still on display tonight, and unfortunately for him, he may be looking over his shoulder here pretty soon. With the likes of Pionk and DeAngelo impressing early on, he could be passed over relatively quickly.
  • Ondrej Pavelec split the game with Brandon Halverson tonight and the pair of goaltenders only faced 17 total shots combined. Pavelec had a pretty easy night in the blue paint aside from a big miscue on Brock Nelson’s disallowed goal early in the second period. It’s pretty much Pavelec’s job to lose at this point, so we’ll see how that plays out the rest of the preseason.

The Rangers will be back in action again this coming Wednesday, where their second group of players is expected to step into the action. That list will likely include free-agent acquisition Kevin Shattenkirk and 2017 1st-round pick Filip Chytil, among some of the other notable returning players from last year’s team.