Alexis Lafrenière will want to forget his baptism of the National Hockey League on Thursday evening.
But he’s not to blame in the gruesome 4-0 Rangers loss at the hands of their great rivals, the New York Islanders.
> The summary of the meeting
Disorganized, unruly, the Rangers were outrageously dominated, and Lafrenière, the NHL’s first overall pick this fall, was not employed in a situation where he could maximize his talent.
The Quebecker played this game in a third line with Filip Chytil, 21, a 2017 first-round pick in still modest production, with 23 points in each of his first two seasons.
Coach David Quinn did not change his lines despite the poor performance of his men, except swapping his right wingers on a few occasions.
Lafrenière had a position in the second wave in power play, but on two of the three occasions in such circumstances, the first unit retreated to the bench with a few tens of seconds to go by the opponent’s penalty.
Otherwise, the Rangers spent almost a quarter of the game shorthanded and Lafrenière is not used in such circumstances.
In the end, Lafrenière played 15:27 in 17 appearances and got a shot on goal. Only Artemi Panarin, Pavel Buchnevich and Mika Zibanejad played more than him in numerical equality, however.
“He played with confidence,” coach David Quinn said after the game. He was not intimidated by the scale of the event. He improved as the match progressed. But it’s hard when you lag behind. ”
Second overall pick in 2019, Kaapo Kakko has a pretty name, but he was very discreet. He barely played 11 minutes. Kappo had 23 points in 66 games last year.
A game doesn’t make a career and New York has plenty of other concerns. On his first meeting since the departure of Henrik Lundqvist, Igor Shesterkin, 25, had a difficult evening. He allowed two quick goals early in the game and the Rangers never got over it.
The defense is awful. Jack Johnson, a ball last year in Pittsburgh, before his contract was bought, played almost 21 minutes, including six minutes on the shorthand, a high for the team. When relying on such a high-risk player for defensive missions, the chances of success are slim.
In short, the Rangers have played like in the playoffs this summer. They had been beaten in three games by the Carolina Hurricanes and scored just four goals.
“We weren’t ready to play the right way,” added the Rangers coach. We redid the mistakes we made in the bubble (in the playoffs), to cheat. There are no shortcuts in hockey. We didn’t skate and we didn’t make the judicious play choices. ”
Difficult evenings are to be expected this winter in New York. The reconstruction is not complete. They had eight players 23 and under in their roster on Wednesday, and six more 25 and under. It is obviously the youngest club in the NHL.
For the record, Auston Matthews is the last overall pick to score in his first NHL game in 2016. He had four…