NEW YORK, N. Y.– The New York Islanders end their five-game losing streak by beating the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in an overtime shootout 4-3.
The game opened to a familiar setting: Islanders down a goal very early in the game, thanks to Dan Girardi, his first of the season, a result of poor defensive coverage by the Isles.
The Rangers would keep the Isles’s sticks silent for a third of the first period, taking charge along the boards and dominating the neutral zone with strong physical play, prohibiting any type of legitimate shot opportunities in the process.
The Rangers and Marian Gaborik would add another tally in the first, Gaborik’s 7th of the season, due in large part to an egregious defensive error by Andrew MacDonald inside his own zone–a fine example of the type of careless, amateurish hockey that is causing much dismay (not to mention losses) out at the Island:
The second period, however, would constitute the best hockey the Islanders have offered the NHL and Isles fans in over two weeks or so, as Jack Capuano puts his 4th line on the ice to begin what many assumed would be the same mediocrity seen these past five games.
Colin McDonald would begin the comeback, setting the tone early, scoring in 29th second of the period, off a nifty pass by Casey Cizikas, resulting from a quick rush and forechecking inside the Rangers’s zone.
As the second period rolled on, the Rangers made it clear that they had very little respect for the Isles’s forecheck, and within five minutes, John Tavares would capitalize on that lapse of judgement, scoring the equalizer on a 2-on-1 opportunity which he decided to see all the way through to the end, beating Biron glove side with a lazer of a wrist shot:
The momentum most certainly shifted the Isles’s way, in a rare moment of domination, and within a minute-plus after Tavares, Brad Boyes beats Biron low, giving his team the first lead of the game.
Although the Rangers would tie it up on the Power Play with Carl Hagelin‘s kicking and swatting at Evgeni Nabokov glove (goal would be reviewed before officially declared a notch) the period belonged to the Isles, and the game evened-up in all aspects by the close of it.
The third period saw both teams playing conservative, and at times, sluggish hockey, and the Rangers would outshoot the Isles 12 to 7, and 39-31 at the close of the match.
Frans Nielsen and John Tavares bring the Islanders home with two strong penalty shots, and their team tack on two much needed and well-deserved points–come-from-behind win on the road in the unfriendliest of confines.
Remains to be seen if this momentum can be carried back to the Coliseum when the Islanders face the relentless New Jersey Devils.
Follow Rich Diaz @eyesonisles
- Speaking candidly: tonight’s Isles victory spoke volumes more about Rangers deficiencies: Too many odd man rushes offered and their Power Play couldn’t capitalize on a 5 on 3 early in the second.
- John Tavares scores twice tonight, including the game winner in the OT shootout. Rightly so! Tonight’s win should be dedicated to his perseverance and grit showcased on every shift and in every match. My hats off to the best New York Islander in quite some time. (If only he had a Bossy or a Nystrom, etc. he would be an even better, more dangerous Bryan Trottier. He’s that good.)
- Matt Martin had his best game of the season on both ends of the ice: grinding along the boards and creating and attempting to capitalize on scoring opportunities. Stellar game from a player that needs to be more consistent if the Islanders ever hope to improve.
- Casey Cizikas and Brian Strait each end the night at +2, while Lubomir Visnovsky continues to improve (not without some ill-timed passes and clearing attempts inside the Isles zone) assisting in the Boyes goal. I say, no more healthy scratching of Casey.
- Rangers aren’t cup ready, therefore I change my prediction. Don’t know who will win it anymore, but certainly won’t be the Rangers.
- Nothing changes for me: Jack must go.