Clutterbuck returns in OT win over Rangers
Scores Twice Before Bailey Gives Isles 3-2 Victory at Barclays Center
Cal Clutterbuck missed the Islanders’ first five preseason games with a lower-body injury.
He made up for the lost time in a hurry.
Clutterbuck scored two goals in his preseason debut at Downtown’s Barclays Center on Tuesday night before Josh Bailey’s overtime tally lifted the Orange-and-Blue to a 3-2 victory over the rival New York Rangers.
“I feel good,” Clutterbuck noted earlier Tuesday when asked how he was recovering from the still-unknown ailment that kept him from participating in the Islanders’ 2-3 start to this exhibition portion of the schedule.
“It’ll be nice to get out there and get the first one out of the way,” he added.
It didn’t take long for the nine-year veteran to make an impact as he evened the contest at 1-1 with an unassisted goal with just under two and a half minutes remaining in the second period, and added the opening tally of the third stanza at the 6:06 mark to give the Isles a 2-1 lead.
“There are always some nerves that go with getting the first one out of the way,” noted Clutterbuck, who was a key member of the Isles’ gritty and ultra-productive fourth line last year, alongside Casey Cizikas and since-departed forward Matt Martin.
“But once the puck drops and the game gets going, you fall back into your old ways and it becomes second nature.”
The Rangers answered Clutterbuck’s second tally five minutes later, forging a 2-2 deadlock that Bailey snapped with only 22 seconds remaining in the extra session off assists from new teammates Jason Chimera and Dennis Seidenberg.
“Obviously we like getting wins, but that’s not our main focus right now,” Bailey said. “Getting back to work and just fine-tuning and feeling 100 percent [healthy] is.”
Jean-Francois Berube made 23 saves for the Isles, who were scheduled to visit New Jersey on Wednesday night before wrapping up the preseason Sunday in Washington.
“It was an exciting game,” Isles head coach Jack Capuano said as his team continues to prepare for the Oct. 13 regular-season opener against the Blueshirts at Madison Square Garden.
“Both teams had some chances. Both teams played well.”
Though he didn’t hit the ice during Tuesday night’s game, team captain and newly crowned World Cup of Hockey champion John Tavares did practice with the team in the morning.
“It’s fun to be back and be in the locker room,” Tavares said. “I felt like I was missing out a little bit, so great to be back and having some fun.”
The two-time Hart Trophy finalist and undisputed leader of Downtown’s NHL team captured the World Cup title as a member of Team Canada, registering a goal and three assists.
He also noted that the 10 days of training camp he missed with the Isles were more than compensated for with his participation in the international tournament.
“I played nine games in a best-on-best tournament, at that pace, physically you’re as ready as you can be,” Tavares told Newsday on Tuesday morning after his first practice of the preseason.
“Now it’s about making sure you get enough rest, maintaining that level and trying to build some chemistry, getting back to our systems here and the role you’re playing here.”
Isle Have Another: The Isles outshot the Blueshirts by a 42-25 margin Tuesday, but Rangers goalie Antii Raanta was up to the task, making 39 saves before Bailey beat him with the game-winner in OT. … Bailey and Berube also assisted on Clutterbuck’s second goal of the night. … Stephen Gionta, who was the first star in Monday night’s 4-3 home win over the Devils, left Tuesday’s contest in the opening period with a lower-body injury. … Berube went 3-2-1 with a 2.71 goals-against average in seven appearances, including six starts, between the pipes last season. Both he and Thomas Greiss, who also recently returned from the World Cup of Hockey, served the Isles well behind primary starter Jaroslav Halak, who missed the stretch run and playoffs last year due to a groin injury. Halak is likely to start Wednesday night or Sunday as he has not yet played for the Isles this preseason after playing 362 minutes, the most by an goalie at the World Cup, for Team Europe, which lost the best-of-3 championships series in two games to Team Canada last week. … In off-the-ice news, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment and the New York Islanders have named WFAN-AM/FM, the most-listened-to sports radio station in the nation, as a broadcast partner of the Islanders Radio Network. WFAN-AM/FM will broadcast 30 games during the regular season on 660 AM and be simulcast on 101.9 FM, starting with the team’s home opener on Oct. 16. AM 970 The Answer will also join the Islanders Radio Network and will broadcast 52 regular season games, starting with the team’s 2016-17 season opener against the New York Rangers on Oct. 13. The two stations will alternate broadcasting Stanley Cup Playoff games. “The Islanders are delighted for our fans that we will have such excellent radio coverage this season,” said new Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky.
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