Isles drop final Barclays Center dress rehearsal
Petrov Scores, Hickey Injured in 3-1 Exhibition Loss to Capitals
The dress rehearsals are over for the New York Islanders at Downtown’s Barclays Center.
The next time head coach Jack Capuano’s squad hits the ice on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, it will be squared up against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the regular-season opener, a historic inaugural contest for Brooklyn’s newest major pro sports franchise.
The Islanders, who will officially complete their preseason slate Sunday night in our nation’s capital, got a goal from Kiril Petrov with just less than two minutes remaining in Monday’s 3-1 exhibition loss to Washington.
“I thought we had some pretty good jump for the most part,” Capuano said on the team’s website following Monday’s defeat, which dropped New York to 2-1 in its three preseason contests at Barclays.
“It was one of those games, there wasn’t much for two periods,” he added. “In the third period, it opened up a little bit more. It was a pretty tight game.”
More important than the result of a game that doesn’t count in the standings was the potential loss of Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey, who suffered what Capuano called an “upper-body injury” during the game and did not return to the bench or the ice.
“He’ll see the doctors Tuesday and then we’ll figure it out,” Capuano noted.
Thomas Greiss, likely to be starter Jaroslav Halak’s back-up on Opening Night, stopped 22 of 24 shots for the Islanders, who were edged in shots on goal, 25-24, and went 0-for-3 on the power play against the team that knocked them out of the first round of the playoffs during their final season on Long Island.
“It was a little sloppy,” left wing Josh Bailey admitted. “I thought we played [well] at times and played poorly at times. You try and build on the positives, touch on the things we need to work on and we have a lot of time to do that over the next week and a half.”
That time will doubtlessly be spent preparing for the reigning NHL champions as the franchise kicks off a new chapter in its rich history.
Winners of four Stanley Cups in the 1980s, the Islanders have not advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs since 1993.
Doing so during their first season here in Brooklyn would be a sure way to rev up interest in a building that has supported the Nets to the tune of more than 17,000 per fans per night since their arrival in 2012.
With 10 days to go before they hit the Barclays Center ice in earnest, there are plenty of Islanders still vying for a spot on the team.
One of those players, diminutive 18-year-old left winger Anthony Beauvillier, is still grinding toward earning one of those Opening Night sweaters.
At 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds, Beauvillier hardly cuts an imposing figure on the ice. But watching him throw his body around against much bigger opponents, and putting five shots on goal during last week’s 2-1 exhibition victory over New Jersey in Downtown Brooklyn certainly piqued the interest of Islander fans and Capuano.
“He plays big,” Capuano said of the scrappy forward, who also delivered two glass-rattling hits during the game. “For me, tough is taking a hit to make a play, winning your battles in those small areas of the ice, and he’s done that. He’s a gritty guy, he goes to the dirty areas.”
“Whatever it takes to make the team,” said Beauvillier, who was so coveted by Isles general manager Garth Snow that the team traded up in the June draft to grab him with the 28th overall selection. “Here, I’m playing more of a support role, just get under the skin of the opponents.”
Regardless of whether he makes the cut for Oct. 9, Beuvillier clearly has a bright future in orange and blue (or black and white if you happened to get a peek at the team’s new Brooklyn-themed alternate jersey), as indicated by Capuano’s continued praise of the hard-working youngster.
“He’s got tremendous hockey sense, he’s got good intelligence of the game and a lot of skill to go along with it,” Capuano said. “When you add that together and add that with grit and determination, that’s a great combination to have. He’s got a bright future in this league.”
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