The preseason is over. The Islanders finished their preseason with a 4-4-0 record. They beat the Devils in both their meetings, went 1-1 against the Flyers and Rangers, and went 0-2 against the Capitals. Here is a short game-by-game recap of the preseason…
Game One: Islanders vs Flyers 3-0 Win:
The Islanders went with a mostly rookie lineup with little to no NHL experience for game number one of the preseason
The Islanders kicked off their preseason at the Barclays Center against the Philadelphia Flyers. JF Berube got the start but would split the game with Christopher Gibson. Berube turned aside all 14 shots he face and half way through the game the Isles switched goaltenders, as did the Flyers. At that point the game was scoreless, the scoring opened in third. It came when the Islanders were on the power play. Shane Prince had the puck on the right side and passed it to the slot, likely looking for Fritz or Beauvillier. It never got to Fritz or Beauvillier as it bounced of the Flyers’ goaltender and into the back of the net for a 1-0 Isles lead. Later in the period Mathew Barzal was in a similar place as Prince but a little more down low and he passed into in the slot. The pass got through to Josh Ho-Sang who gave the Isles a 2-0 lead. Christopher Gibson made 13 saves in his half of the game and Michael Dal Colle scored in the empty net for a 3-0 win and a combined 27 save shutout for Berube and Gibson.
The Islanders won their first game of the preseason 3-0 behind a combined shutout from Berube and Gibson as well as goals from Prince, Ho-Sang, and Dal Colle.
Game Two: Islanders @ Rangers 5-2 Loss
The Islanders went with a mix of NHL regulars and prospects for this one. Andrew Ladd, Stephen Gionta, and Jason Chimera made their unofficial Islander debuts. Meanwhile PA Parenteau suited up with the Isles for the first time since the 2011-2012 season.
On this night the Islanders played two games so they had one group at Madison Square Garden to play the Rangers and one at Wells Fargo Center to play the Flyers. The Islanders opened the scoring early with a goal by Jason Chimera, who the Isles signed in the opening day of the free agency this summer. The Rangers would then go on to score three unanswered goals including a power play one-timer for newly acquired Mika Zibanejad and a goal from free agent signing Brandon Pirri. The Islanders would bring it back to within one as Mathew Barzal, while on the ground, was able to hook it back to Nick Leddy for the goal. Later on in the period Dylan McIlrath’s shot from the point would beat Berube, who played the whole game while the Rangers’ goaltenders split time, for a 4-2 lead. The Rangers also scored on the empty net to secure the victory, a 5-2 win for them.
The Islanders lost 5-2. Chimera and Leddy had the Islanders’ two goals.
Game Three: Islanders @ Flyers 4-0 Loss
The Islanders sent a young lineup to Philly with a lot of prospects and few NHL regulars.
As I just mentioned, the Islanders also played the Rangers on this same night and sent their more experienced lineup to the Garden. Christopher Gibson split the game with Eamon McAdam. The Islanders lost the game 4-0.
The Islanders were shutout 4-0 by the Flyers.
Game Four: Islanders vs Capitals 2-1 Loss
The Islanders hosted the Capitals at Webster Bank Arena, home of the Islanders’ AHL affilate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Capitals went with Braden Holtby in net, last season’s Vezina winner, who just came back from Toronto after winning the World Cup of Hockey with Team Canada. The Capitals scored in the first period and held that lead after two periods of play. Berube got the start and played the whole game, as did Holtby. Berube played well including a couple of big saves. The Islanders had trouble staying out of the box as they took way too many penalties. The Islanders got on the board in the third period as Ryan Pulock’s shot was stopped by Braden Holtby but Anders Lee got the rebound and scored to tie the game up at 1-1. Anthony Beauvillier got the secondary assist on that goal, he had a very strong game including a great chance in the opening seconds. The Capitals would score later on in the period to take a 2-1 lead and that would stand as the final score, a 2-1 win for the Washington Capitals.
The Islanders lost their game against the Capitals in Bridgeport 2-1. Anders Lee scored the only Islanders goal.
Game Five: Islanders vs Devils 4-3 Win
The Islanders went with a mixed lineup. They had a mix of prospects and NHL regulars. Thomas Greiss made his preseason debut after coming back from the World Cup of Hockey.
The Islanders hosted the New Jersey Devils at the Barclays Center with a lineup looking a lot more like an NHL roster compared to the ones they put out in the previous four games. Thomas Greiss got his first start of the preseason and played the whole game following his return from the World Cup of Hockey. The Islanders struck first with a goal by Colin Markison. Barzal started the play with a good entry into the zone and then he dropped it back to Boychuk. Boychuk who made his preseason debut had shit shot deflected in by Markison for the 1-0 lead. The Devils would then tie it and then take the lead at 2-1. Responding was Andrew Ladd with a wrist in his second unofficial game as an Islander scoring his first unofficial goal as an Islander. In the third, Steve Bernier had a shot take got through and Stephen Gionta put into the back of the net for a 3-2 Islanders lead. Bernier and Gionta are both ex-Devils looking to make the Islanders roster and are both currently on PTOs. Not long after Bernier would again take a shot on net take was stopped but Mathew Barzal got to the loose puck and scored. The Devils would come within a goal but the Islanders would hold on for a 4-3 win behind 25 saves from Thomas Greiss and two-point nights from Barzal and Bernier.
Colin Markison, Andrew Ladd, Stephen Gionta, and Mathew Barzal all scored in a 4-3 win for the Islanders over the Devils.
Game Six: Islanders vs Rangers 3-2 Overtime Win
Dennis Seidenberg made his unofficial Islanders debut, Cal Clutterbuck made his preseason debut, and the lineup consisted of a mix of NHL regulars and prospects.
The day after beating the Devils 4-3 the Islanders played the Rangers for the second time of the preseason. The first time was a 5-2 loss at the Garden, this one was at the Barclays Center. Brendan Burke, the Islanders new play-by-play man for MSG Networks made his debut. No one scored but in the second period it was the Rangers who opened the scoring. Not too long afterwards, the Islanders tied it as Cal Clutterbuck threw it on net in his preseason debut and it went off a defender and through Raanta. Raanta was the Rangers goaltender while the Islanders went with JF Berube. The Islanders took the lead in the third period as Josh Bailey weaved his way into the zone and took a shot on net that was stopped but the rebound went to Cal Clutterbuck who spun around and slipped it through Raanta for his second goal of the night and a 2-1 Islanders lead. The Rangers would tie it with under nine minutes to play and overtime would be needed to decide this one. In overtime the Rangers found themselves on a breakaway. Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei came off the bench and received a breakaway pass from the Rangers defensive zone by Hayes. Brady Skjei was stopped by JF Berube and the overtime went on. With under 30 seconds to go in overtime Jason Chimera dropped the puck for the newest Islander, Dennis Seidenberg. Seidenberg took his time and cut to the opposite side of the ice before taking a shot on net. The shot was stopped but the rebound came free and Josh Bailey put it in the back of the net for the overtime winner. Final score in overtime, Islanders 3, Rangers 2.
The Islanders beat the Rangers 3-2 in overtime. Cal Clutterbuck had the Islanders’ first two goals and Josh Bailey scored the overtime winner.
Game Seven: Islanders vs Devils 3-2 Win
The Islanders went with an interesting lineup. Their defense looked like one you would see in a normal NHL game, Thomas Greiss got the start, and their top 6 forwards were mostly NHL regulars with exception of Mathew Barzal who is trying to make the team.
The Islanders played for the third straight day as they took on the New Jersey Devils in New Jersey. Anthony Beauvillier has had an impressive preseason and was in the lineup once again, centering a third line full of former first round picks, him, Michael Dal Colle at left wing, and Josh Ho-Sang at right wing. The Islanders struck first in the game as Alan Quine opened the scoring. The Devils would tie and the first period would end at 1-1. In period two the Devils took the lead, the lead was to be tied later on in the period as Pulock’s shot was stopped and Andrew Ladd jammed the rebound home for a power play goal and a 2-2 game. With just a couple of minutes to go in the game Anthony Beauvillier broke the tie and the Islanders hung on for a 3-2 victory.
The Islanders beat the Devils 3-2. Alan Quine, Andrew Ladd, and Anthony Beauvillier had the Islanders goals.
Game Eight: Islanders @ Capitals 4-0 Loss
The Islanders went with a lineup that could be very similar to the one we see on opening night. Jaroslav Halak and John Tavares made their preseason debuts after coming back from the World Cup of Hockey. The only people really missing from this lineup are Brock Nelson and Ryan Pulock. Maybe the Isles sat Nelson so that they could use this game to decide between Barzal and Beauvillier or see who would sit in favor of both of them? Maybe they sat Pulock because he has played in most of these preseason games and Seidenberg has only played in one prior to the game against the Capitals?
The Islanders concluded their preseason in Washington. It was pretty important game for Anthony Beauvillier and Mathew Barzal, both are players looking to make the team and if they don’t they will be sent back to their junior teams. They both played well. Barzal had a chance that went off the crossbar and Beauvillier played well on the penalty kill. Jaroslav Halak made his first start of the preseason after his impressive play at the World Cup of Hockey with Team Europe. The Capitals started Holtby. At the end of the game they lost 4-0 to the Capitals.
Is it possible that the six defensemen and three defensive pairings in this game are the ones we see come opening night? If so, that would mean no Ryan Pulock. Pulock does have a two-way deal meaning he can be sent down to Bridgeport without waivers so could it be possible that they send him down to make room for either/both Barzal and Beauvillier? The pairings were Leddy-Hamonic, Hickey-Boychuk, and de Haan-Seidenberg.
How we got to a 23 man roster:
First cuts (following the split-squad games): Parker Wotherspoon, Mitchell Vande Sompel, and David Quenneville (all returned to their junior teams)
Second Cuts (a couple of days after the split-squad games): Ben Holmstron and Bracken Kearns (placed on waivers and cleared so they will play in Bridgeport)
Second Cuts Part Two (a couple of days after the split-squad games): Loic Leduc, Carter Verhaeghe, and Kyle Schempp are sent to Bridgeport and Josh Winquist is released from his PTO.
Third Cuts (following the fourth preseason game): Eamon McAdam sent to Bridgeport, Connor Jones and Patrick Cullity released from their NHL PTOs.
Fourth Cuts (following the seventh preseason game): Scott Mayfield placed on waivers. (went unclaimed and will report to Bridgeport)
Fourth Cuts Part Two (following the seventh preseason game): Steve Bernier, Colin Markison, and Tanner Fritz released from their NHL PTOs.
Fourth Cuts Part Three (following the seventh preseason game): Ross Johnston, Michael Dal Colle, Josh Ho-Sang, Devon Toews, Kyle Burroughs, Matt Finn, Jesse Graham, and goaltenders Christopher Gibson and Stephon Williams are all sent to Bridgeport.
Fifth Cuts (following the eighth preseason game): PA Parenteau placed on waivers.
Fifth Cuts Part Two (following the eighth preseason game): Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock are sent to Bridgeport.
IR: Eric Boulton