TORONTO, ONTARIO - JULY 29: Brendan Lemieux #48 of the New York Rangers and Johnny Boychuk #55 of the New York Islanders scuffle in the first period during an exhibition game prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on July 29, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario.
(Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)

Opening night could not have gone worse for the Blueshirts.

The New York Rangers are back and that isn’t all fans have to be excited for. They opened the season against their in-state rivals, the New York Islanders, and some new and exciting players took the ice for the first time.

Top prospect K’Andre Miller and the team’s number one pick of the 2020 draft, Alexis Lafrenière, made their NHL debuts.

However, opening night didn’t exactly go as planned for them.

1st period: Missing Hank.

Nothing went right for the Rangers in the first period and the best word to describe their performance was sloppy.

Jack Johnson was as bad as advertised, committing a penalty less than two minutes in that proved to be costly and put the Islanders up 1-0.

The Rangers did get a chance on the power play and it was a disaster.

The Rangers had had the same goalie in net on opening night every year since 2005: Henrik Lundqvist. Igor Shesterkin has come in as his heir, but the first post-2005 Lundqvist-less opening night period didn’t look pretty.

Shesterkin, himself, was as bad as he’s ever been. The Calder Trophy favorite looked nothing like the guy we saw last season, failing to come up with big saves.

The Rangers’ inability to win faceoffs proved to be a problem, as well.

Lastly, it looks like Tony DeAngelo still hasn’t figured out how to play defense- Mathew Barzal completely torched him to get one past Shesterkin for the Islanders’ third of the period. It looks like it’s going to be a long season for him and Johnson.

Overall, the team looked rusty, slow, and incompetent.


Period 2: Can’t go a game without trouble from Lemieux

The second period was much better from the Rangers, but they were outscored 1-0.

They did look better on both the power play and penalty kill.The Rangers got a little unlucky after a play that seemed to be a goal was deemed not to be by the referees.

Lafrenière committed his first penalty, and that led to another goal.

Of course, enforcer Brendan Lemieux can’t go a game without stirring up some trouble.

He engaged in a back-and-forth with Jean-Gabriel Pageau immediately as the period came to a close, leading to penalties on both sides to begin the third.


Period 3: Well-wishes for Rooney

While the Rangers were short-handed, DeAngelo was penalized for a double-minor, and his playing time subsequently took a hit, as a result.

The Rangers caught a break when Barzal stripped Adam Fox of the puck for a one-on-one with Shesterkin, but the Rangers’ netminder came up with a great save.

In his Rangers debut, Kevin Rooney took a bad hit by Ross Johnston and had to be taken to the locker room. We’ll be wishing the team’s fourth line center well.

The Rangers had quite the scare with Shesterkin, who was taken down while making a save. Seeing him get up and return was a relief, and a good challenge by head coach David Quinn allowed the goal to be called off.


Key Moment: The final buzzer

This game was brutal to watch and praising the play of the Rangers, who looked like they were laboring all throughout, is nearly impossible. Seeing them be put out of their misery surely was their key moment of the game.


Player of the Game: Julien Gauthier

A player to watch this year, Julien Gauthier was the Rangers’ only “positive” of the game. He was unable to score, but he used his big body to maintain possession of the puck on multiple occasions and played with good effort.


Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.