Hockey From The Blind Side, Islanders Lose to Rangers At The Garden, A Tale Of Two Halves
By John Panarese
The New York Islanders lost the first of their games that will be played at Madison Square Garden within a four evening span. It was a 4-2 loss to their cross-town rivals, and one that saw a few defensive break downs form the forwards cost them the game.
I was not able to catch any of the game, so I don’t have much to offer as far as specific comments go. I was only getting ESPN updates via my iPhone and spent some time reading about the game earlier today.
It was, from all reports, a tale of a period and a half of good play and a period and a half of not so good play for the Isles. The Islanders, though they gave up the first goal of the game, played quite well throughout the first period and the first half of the second period. PA Parenteau tied the game on the power play in the first period, but the Rangers ended up getting 2 more goals in the second stanza to take a 3-1 lead going into the third period.
In the third, the Rangers had the better of the play, as much as Matt Moulson’s power play goal brought the Isles within 1 of tying it. The Rangers closed it out with an empty netter with a minute and a half left in the final period, despite Matt Martin doing his best to fire up his team with several hits and a couple of scraps..
Evgeni Nabokov played fairly well for the Islanders with 2 of the 3 goals scored on him not really being his fault. Whether or not having had Al Montoya in net would have made a difference is difficult to say. When the Rangers took the 2-1 lead, it seemed that the Islanders became somewhat deflated and the Rangers slowly took over the play. Once again, it seems the lack of consistency bug bit them on the collective backsides, which, against a team like the Rangers, proved to be costly.
As some basic “blind observations” that come to mind from all I read,
• The first line can’t be relied on to do it all. There is a serious need for secondary scoring that is consistent and regular.
• Scoring only 2 goals on the Rangers when King Henrik was not in net was quite a poor showing.
• What happened to Frans Nielsen’s offense over the last dozen or so games? I believe he has had only 3 assists over a 12 plus game stretch.
• Only the Islanders can end up having one of their 3 “starting” goaltenders healthy at this point in the season…..
• The rematch Monday at MSG better have a 60 minute, inspired Islander team on the ice because Henrik Lundqvist will most likely be in net for that one.
The Maple Leafs come into town tonight before the Christmas break. So, the Isles don’t have much time to collect themselves and rebound. They must come out strong and ready, and be ready to deal with Phil Kesel and company.
Lastly, on behalf of Eyes on Isles, I wanted to take the opportunity to wish those who are celebrating a merry Christmas. I hope you have a fantastic holiday and enjoy sharing it with family and friends, even if they happened to be Ranger fans …..
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