Alexis Lavrinier and Kandry Miller got a taste of the Rangers rookie for the first time in the NHL – and it was bad.
Technically novice Igor Chesterkin despite last season’s regular 12-game veil would probably say the same on his first opening night as he allowed four goals in the Rangers’ loss to Islanders at Madison Square Park on Thursday.
But coach David Quinn said he wanted his young players to learn from such losses, it could be very close to what he thought.
“It’s a great learning lesson for a young player to play against a team like this,” Quinn said in a phone call on Zoom. After losing 4-0. “[The Islanders] Summarize what is professional at this level. It’s not so much about going out and putting on a great play, it’s just playing smart hockey and sometimes you get out of a shift and nothing happens, that’s a good turnaround.
“Unfortunately for us now, after one night, we didn’t want to get close to this, but I think it was a great lesson for these guys.”
Miller, who made his National Hockey League debut in their second defensive duo with Jacob Trouba, scored one shot in under 14 minutes of icy time. He made a spin early in the second period that left Shesterkin in a drought as the Islanders Anders Lee captain switched to a two-to-one dash for a 2–0 score.
“The National Hockey League is clearly a difficult league to win,” Miller said. “So I think only this first match is a good example of that, that every match is going to be a battle. You have to play a full 60 minutes and hopefully you will be on the other side.”
Lavrinier performed similar to Miller, with one shot on goal in about 15 and a half minutes of icy time, mainly on the third streak with Philippe Chittel and Julen Gaultier. In a game where rookie mistakes were made throughout the line-up, Lafreniere was no exception when he played the puck while making a change and had Rangers summon too many men on the ice penalty kick at the end of the first half.
The first public selection of 2020 committed his second penalty kick in the night when he was called up for pinning at 14:13 into the second half, leading to Jordan Eberle’s power-play goal after about 50 seconds.
“Sure, a lot of nerves,” said Lavrinier. After two shifts, [I] I felt better. I try to work as hard as possible, the first match is clearly tough. But we will improve and work on our game and try to recover on Saturday. “
Rangers were 0-3 in tough play, but the eight penalties allowed the islanders to score two goals in the power game.