The Rangers lost forward Kevin Rooney early in the third period when the former Devil ran into the Islanders’ Ross Johnston. Rooney was helped off the ice and to the dressing room at 6:37 of the period.
Little more than two minutes later, they escaped another potential injury when goalie Igor Shesterkin was crashed into by Jordan Eberle and stayed down for a few moments. He eventually got up and stayed in the game.
The Islanders’ Ryan Pulock had jammed the puck in on the play and originally was credited with a goal, but the Rangers challenged, citing goaltender interference. After review, the goal was overturned.
Mika feeling better
Mika Zibanejad tested positive for COVID-19 just before training camp and was limited to two practices and two morning skates before the season started. But he was in his usual spot on the Rangers’ first line on Thursday night, and coach David Quinn said he wouldn’t be restricted in any way.
"He’s a go tonight, and Mika only goes full-bore, so we will see full Mika tonight,’’ Quinn said at the morning skate.
"I’ve been feeling good,’’ Zibanejad said. "Each day that’s been going by, I think it’s been better. And I felt really good Monday, felt good [Tuesday] and it just gets better every day.’’
‘D’ is American-made
For the first time in team history, the team dressed a lineup in which all six defensemen were American-born. Brendan Smith, the lone Canadian defenseman on the roster, was scratched. That meant the defense corps for opening night consisted of Jacob Trouba, Tony DeAngelo, Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren, K’Andre Miller and newcomer Jack Johnson, all of whom are American.
Last season the Rangers often dressed five American defensemen but never six.
According to the Rangers, the average age of the roster is 25.5 years, which makes the team the youngest in the NHL. They start the season with two teenagers (Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere, both 19), a 20-year-old in Miller, a 21-year-old in Filip Chytil and 22-year-olds in Fox, Lindgren and Brett Howden. Johnson (34 as of Wednesday) and Smith (31) are the only players on the roster 30 or older . . . Phillip DiGiuseppe wore a full facemask at the morning skate, indicating some kind of injury, though Quinn did not elaborate . . . Despite the fact that there was no crowd, PA announcer Joe Tolleson nevertheless welcomed people to "Madison Square Garden, the world’s most famous arena" and proceeded to introduce the lineup, by number, starting with the forwards.