New York Teams Kick Off 2019–20 NHL Season


Bob Fina/Inside Hockey

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The NHL season is in full swing, with each New York team completing two games by Sunday’s end. For the Rangers, it was an opening-night win against Winnipeg at the Garden by a score of 6–4, followed by a 4–1 beatdown of Ottawa on Saturday night. The Devils suffered a brutal defeat to the Jets, losing a 4–0 lead to fall 5–4 in overtime. They followed that up the next day by losing 7–2 to Buffalo. The Islanders started their season with a 2–1 loss to Washington before a 4–1 win over Winnipeg on Sunday.

Starting with the Blueshirts, who had a near picture-perfect opening night at the Garden: They welcomed the Winnipeg Jets into MSG on Thursday night and walked away with a 6–4 victory. Goals from big-time acquisitions Jacob Trouba and Artemi Panarin rang in the new year just how the optimistic Ranger fans wanted it to. This offseason was full of positivity for the Rangers, and that came to fruition on Thursday.  That’s not to mention Kaapo Kakko’s stellar performance and Henrik Lundqvist’s 43 saves.

Then on Saturday, they traveled up to Ottawa to take on the lowly Senators, a game they should have won and did. The final was 4-1. Mika Zibenejad had a hat trick to get his season total to four goals already, and Alexander Georgiev made 31 saves. All in all, a stellar start for the Rangers, who don’t play again until they face Edmonton at home on Saturday.

The Devils’ start was exactly the opposite. Their home opener against Winnipeg started out great, as they built a 4–0 lead in the second period. That was until Winnipeg scored four unanswered goals in the final 10 seconds of the second and third periods. The game went to a shootout in which the Jets prevailed. A goal from newly-acquired Nikita Gusev provided a slim silver lining. They then traveled to Buffalo to take on the Sabres on Saturday, a game they dropped 7–2. They did not test Carter Hutton, who only made 18 saves on 20 shots, and Mackenzie Blackwood gave up all seven goals on 36 shots. Less than ideal for a team that improved drastically this offseason. Jack Hughes has zero points, P.K Subban and Gusev each have just one.

The Islanders kicked off their 2019-20 season at the Nassau Coliseum against their divisional foe, the Washington Capitals. In a tightly-contested game, they could not provide enough offense to match their stellar defense, only mustering up one goal on 26 shots. They lost 2–1. On Sunday, they played Winnipeg back on Long Island, coming out on top by a score of 4–1. The offense was much better than it was against Washington, with Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, Anders Lee and Anthony Beauvillier all scoring their first goals of the season. Goaltender Thomas Greiss was superb on Sunday, while newcomer Semyon Varlamov was a little shaky against Washington. They take on Edmonton on Tuesday.

The Rangers have had the ideal start to the season, the Devils have experienced the opposite and the Islanders fall somewhere in between. Early games prove important come playoff time, they can certainly make the difference.