Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, and Pavel Buchnevich led the New York Rangers to an impressive 5-3 victory against the Islanders.

  • New York Rangers 5 (1-0-0, 2 pts)
  • New York Islanders 3 (0-1-0, 0 pts)
  • NHL, Metropolitan Division, Final, Box Score
  • Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Upon witnessing the play of the New York Rangers opening night game against the Islanders at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, one particular idea immediately came to mind.

These aren’t your father’s Rangers. Actually, these aren’t your Rangers.

These aren’t the Rangers you’ve been accustomed to watching over the last several years — the Blueshirts who struggled on the power play under the offensive minded guru named Alain Vigneault.

In the Blueshirt’s opening night 5-3 victory against John Tavares‘s Isles, AV’s club used the power play to tally the game-winning goal in the form of Brandon Pirri, his first as a Ranger:

While the power play finished just 1-for-5 on the night, it was the carry over from the preseason that saw crisp passing and swift offensive movement that had all onlookers impressed. Particularly, the Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Pavel Buchnevich line was stellar.

Speaking of that Kreider guy, it was his explosive night that ultimately propelled New York to the win over its Brooklyn counterparts.

Finishing as the No. 1 star on the night, Kreider collected a goal and an assist on the first regular season night of the year. The goal was a dandy setup by young Buchnevich in the third period breaking a 2-2 tie:

The reason a 2-2 tie was needing to be broken was because the Islanders, who were outplayed for the better part of the first two periods, came out on fire to begin the third period.

Nick Leddy scored just 47 seconds into the final frame while Cal Clutterbuck provided the equalizer just 3:43 later:

John Tavares was relatively quiet all night. He was dealing with midsection pain after a hit taken on from J.T. Miller. It was Tavares’s penalty late in the game that led to the Rangers fourth goal, coming via the power play variety.

It was the ex-Islander Michael Grabner who opened the scoring on the season on this beautiful 4-on-2 rush in the first period:

Mats Zuccarello found a little luck on his goal late in the second period as it deflected off Ryan Strome‘s skate:

In the end, the Rangers tallied 39 shots to the Isles 28. If not for Jaroslav Halak, AV’s squad could have scored more than just five goals. He stopped 34 of the 38 shots he faced.

34-year-old Henrik Lundqvist sported a quality brand of goaltending in his first test of the 2016-17 NHL season. He was steady all night in shutting down 25 of the 28 shots he faced. All three of goals he relented came on the rush thanks to defensive breakdowns by the offensive-minded Rangers.

Next up for the Rangers will be the Blues in St. Louis on Saturday night. The Isles will skate in D.C. and take on Alex Ovechkin and the Caps on Saturday night as well.

Game Notes:

Zibanjed collected two assists on the night. Jesper Fast, playing solid defensively on the fourth-line alongside Grabner and Pirri, finished with an assist and a +2.

Kreider’s mad-man type of night ended with seven shots on goal.

J.T. Miller collected the empty-net goal in making the score 5-2.

Isles center Brock Nelson scored the game’s final goal, one that saw the Isles make the game look closer with a 5-3 score at the 18:25 mark of the third period.

Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (Sold in 2020). SEO: XL Media. Email: robby.sabo[at]