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Islanders rookies have silver lining in preseason loss to Rangers

A flash the Islanders hope is a harbinger came at 11:18 of the first period of an otherwise dull preseason loss.

While the Islanders were on the power play, Arnaud Durandeau’s pass came out of the backboards and fell on William Dufour’s stick at the right post.

Dufour quickly scored the goal, with the scoresheet giving the first assist to Durandeau and the second to Matt Maggio.

The three young forwards are trying – against all odds – to make the Islanders team after training camp.

A 4-2 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden represented a chance to improve their standing.

Even after a game where they were on the scoresheet, Isles coach Lane Lambert wasn’t about to name any of the youngsters to a higher position.

“I don’t necessarily know if you can really say they changed my mind,” Lambert said after the loss, which also included a third-period goal from Durandeau. “It’s time to see what happens when we play against a different organization. These guys have done some good things and there are definitely some areas that we need to teach, correct and help.

William Dufour celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal in the Islanders’ 4-2 loss to the Rangers.
Robert Sabo for the NY Post

For Maggio, Tuesday was the first time he officially suited up in an Islanders game.

For Dufour and Durandeau, who both made their NHL debuts last season, Tuesday was an opportunity to mark a milestone in the fight for a spot on the team.

“This summer, sometimes when I woke up in the morning and I didn’t want to go to practice, I just thought in my mind, ‘You want to be in the NHL, you have to know the little details to be successful.’ roster this year,'” Dufour said Monday. “I’m working hard to make the roster.”

Afterwards, Dufour gave a cautious assessment of his evening, which included 16:53 of play on the nominal first line with Brock Nelson and Pierre Engvall.

“Offensively, we were good today,” he said. “Some details defensively, but I think in general we’ll build on all the little details and we’ll be better next time.” It was a very good match today, so I’m happy.

Islanders' Ross Johnston (left) confronts Rangers center Matt Rempe during their 4-2 preseason loss.
Islanders’ Ross Johnston (left) confronts Rangers center Matt Rempe during their 4-2 preseason loss.
Robert Sabo for the NY Post

Durandeau, whose goal came at 12:30 of the third period when he finished Hudson Fasching’s pass at the right post, is the oldest of the prospects seeking a spot and has the most experience in the NHL, with a four-game call-up. which was a success last year.

“It’s time for me to take the next step and show that I can play here,” Durandeau said Monday. “I think last year I got a little taste of it. This year I want to stay longer and be part of the team or be the first called up and play as many matches as possible. And I hope to have a place on the team.

Maggio, who is in his first year as a junior, impressed in training camp and especially made an impression with his tenacity on Tuesday.

He returned to the game after a knee-to-knee hit from Vincent Trocheck and sported a cut on his nose in the locker room that he said was detected early on.

“There’s a little transition period where you’re just trying to get used to the pace of the game,” Maggio said. “It’s been good little steps, a kind of transition to the highest level. So I feel good with the pace of play, I don’t feel like it’s overwhelming or anything like that.

Call it a solid first impression. But to make the list, they’ll need more than that.

“It’s different from the AHL,” Durandeau said. “The speed, the game, the players you play with, against. And I think you just have to learn.

“And that’s the best way to learn, playing preseason games.”

New York Post

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