Dec 20, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Brian Strait (37) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the New York Rangers during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Snap Shots: New York Islanders @ New York Rangers - [The Michael-Grabner-Scored-Twice-Tonight Edition] 12/20/13

Dec 20, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) scores a goal against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Snap Shots, our condensed post-game recap of the New York Islanders latest NHL matchup

New York Islanders (10-19-7, 27 pts) @ New York Rangers (16-18-2, 34 pts)

Madison Square Garden

7:00pm EST    

Islanders (5) – Rangers (3) 

SOG: 20-24 Rangers

 

Starting Lineup

 

26 Thomas Vanek – 91 John Tavares – 21 Kyle Okposo
40 Michael Grabner – 51 Frans Nielsen – 12 Josh Bailey
29 Brock Nelson – 18 Ryan Strome – 15 Cal Clutterbuck
36 Eric Boulton – 53 Casey Cizikas– 17 Matt Martin

44 Calvin de Haan – 3 Travis Hamonic
47 Andrew MacDonald – 14 Thomas Hickey
37 Brian Strait – 7 Matt Carkner

20 Evgeni Nabokov
60 Kevin Poulin

Notable Scratches: Colin McDonald; Peter Regin; Aaron Ness

 

Game Summary

 

First Period: Both teams begin the evening skating well, and doing a good job of transitioning through the neutral zone, creating shooting chances once inside enemy territory. Evgeni Nabokov denies Rick Nash on an open-ice scoring attempt, coming off a neutral zone turnover by the Islanders; on that same play, Nabokov was forced to make another save in close. By the 7:00 mark, the Rangers’ forecheck was much more aggressive than at the onset, hemming in the Islanders deep. Isles called for Unsportsmanlike midway through the first, but the PK unit does a great job of killing it off. The Rangers with the momentum through 13:00, but the Islanders did a decent job of matching the skating speed and physicality on the ice at present. Islanders would be called for another penalty, this time a High-Stick on Andrew MacDonald, to force the PK back on the ice for another 2:00. Within seconds, however, Cal Clutterbuck gets a breakaway opportunity, while on the PK, and is gifted a penalty shot when Ryan McDonagh is handed an outlandish penalty; Clutterbuck would eventually score on it and give the Isles the first goal of the evening. The Isles kill one penalty and go right back on it, though, as Carkner gets 2:00 minutes in the sin bin for Hooking.  And if things couldn’t get any stranger, Michael Grabner breaks up a pass on the Isles’ blueline and goes on a breakaway, scoring his first goal since opening night; two short-handed goals within minutes–an anomaly to say the least. But the Rangers answer back not too long thereafter while on the PP, as Pouliot gets one back before the period ends. So: bad calls, bad passing, yet good entertainment, nonetheless. SOG 7-9 Rangers

Point of Interest: The New York Islanders score 2 SHG in one period, and Michael Grabner gets his first goal since opening night. 

 

Second Period:  The period opens with some much more tempered play, and the shifts rather quick for each team. Dorsett ties it up early on with a strong shot in front of Nabokov, catching Hickey in no-man’s-land. John Tavares trounces on a Girardi miscue inside the Rangers zone and gets two scoring chances in close on Lundqvist, and both denied by the Rangers netminder. Islanders pickup their forechecking midway through, but not before being called for their 4th penalty of the evening. Rangers capitalize on their puck pursuit and a lone Stepan, hang in the high slot, buries the Rangers 3rd of the night, and get their first lead of the game. (Michael Grabner hits the crossbar while on SH not too long before, almost getting his 2nd of the evening.) Islanders get their own PP opportunity this period, but all for naught.  Brian Strait gets his first of the season and in the NHL, seconds after the Isles PP ends, with assists by Ryan Strome (his first NHL point) and an astute Josh Bailey, and the Islanders tie it up. Both teams playing equal parts physical and speed, and through 16:00 the score and the momentum are even. The Isles will take 1:25 man-advantage to the next period. SOG EVEN 7-7

Point of Interest: Islanders with 24 FO wins through 40:00 to the Rangers 14

 

Third Period: While on their PP, Girardi called for Interference, and the Isles on 5-on-3 they would eventually capitalize upon, with help from a Kyle Okposo point shot and a Thomas Vanek deflection. Islanders kill a crucial 4-on-3 penalty to grab the momentum through the first 5:00.  Both teams continue their strong, physical play, as the penalties keep on coming, this time Del Zotto called for Charging, giving the Isles another chance with the man-advantage. Isles do nothing on the PP, and shortly thereafter, Casey Cizikas is called for Kneeing. Islanders had the better offensive entries for most of the period, but the Rangers for the last 5:00. Momentum still even at this juncture, but Islanders playing with a bit more tenacity and desperation. Josh Bailey called for Boarding with about 2:00 left in the game–a crucial kill for the Isles upcoming.  The Isles PK unit continues their strong efforts, and after Lundqvist is pulled, a lone Grabner scores his second of the evening. Can. You. Believe. It? The Islanders with their more impressive win of the season. Onward and upward. SOG 6-8 Rangers

 Point of Interest: Michael Grabner scores two goals in one game, and the Isles win in regulation after a month+ drought

 

Statistics

 

Goals

1st Period

2nd Period

3rd Period

  •  Thomas Vanek (11) (1:18) Assists: Kyle Okposo, Andrew MacDonald4-3 Islanders

Penalties

1st Period

2nd Period

3rd Period

 

Turning Point

The Brian Strait tying goal before the end of the second.

What’s Ahead

The Islanders head back to Long Island to face the brooding Anaheim Ducks tomorrow evening.

 

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