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Rangers thicken Alexis Lafraniore, K’andre Miller to debut

The Rangers received Alexis Lafreniere and K’andre Miller’s first taste of the NHL – and it was sour.

Igor Shesterkin, who is technically a rogue despite the 12-game regular-season cameo he had last season, will probably say the same on the night of his debut as he allowed the Rangers’ four goals to defeat the Islanders in Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

But head coach David Quinn said he wants his young players to learn from the loss in this way, it may be sooner than they thought.

“It’s a great lesson for a young player to play like a team,” Quinn said after losing 4–0 on a zoom call. “[The Islanders] Epitomize what is a supporter at this level. It’s not going out so much and making a great game, it’s playing smart hockey and sometimes you come out of a change and nothing happens, it’s a good innings.

“Unfortunately for us right now, after one night, it’s not how we want to achieve it, but I think it was a great lesson for those people.”

Alexis Lafrinier (L.) debuted for the Rangers on Thursday night.

Miller, who made his NHL debut on the second defensive pairing with Jacob Troba, recorded a shot in just 14 of ice time. He made a turnover at the start of the second round that left Shusterkin to dry as Islanders captain Ander Lee scored on a two-run score of 2–0.

“Obviously, the National Hockey League is a tough league to win” Miller said. “So I think this first game is a good example of that, every game is going to be a fight. You’ve got a full 60 to play and hope to do it on the other side.”

Laffrenier had a similar performance as Miller, with a shot of about 15 of of ice time, mainly in the third line with Filip Chitil and Julin Gauthier. In a game where rookie mistakes were being made throughout the lineup, Lafreniere was no exception when he played the puck while making a change and called the Rangers to a lot of men on ice penalties at the end of the first period.

The first-overall pick of 2020 put up his second penalty of the night when he was called for hooking at 14:13 of the second period, which led to a power-play goal by Jordan Eberle nearly 50 seconds later.

“Definitely, of nerves,” Lafreniere said. “After some changes, [I] felt better. I’m trying to work as hard as possible, obviously the first game is hard. But we will get better and we will work on our game and try to come back on Saturday. “

The Rangers were 0-for-3 on the power play, but their eight penalties allowed the Islanders to record two power-play goals.

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