Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NYR 4, NYI 2: Islanders Show Pulse, Left Heartbroken

The New York Islanders had a golden opportunity to come away with a resounding victory over the NY Rangers last night, but instead fell short to their crosstown rivals, 4-2 at Nassau Coliseum. 

Make no mistake, the Isles came out to play this one. They were buzzing alright, early and often. 

Unfortunately, they ran into Henrik Lundquist, who was simply phenomenal in this one, snuffing out most of the Islanders' scoring chances. 

After 20 minutes of regulation time, the Rangers held a significant advantage in shots-on-goal, taking 14 and holding the Isles to just five. 

Despite this, the Islanders were able to outshoot the Blueshirts, by a 26-18 margin, over the next two periods. They finished with 33 shots to the Rangers' 30. 

Just over two minutes after Sean Avery put the NYR ahead 1-0, Frans Nielsen answered for the Isles with his fourth goal of the season, wristing one high to the glove side and past Lundquist. P.A. Parenteau continues to prove he's an effective player at this level, recording his 11th helper (13 points through 15 games) on Frans' tally. Travis Hamonic was also credited with an assist on the play, just his second of the campaign.  

Six minutes into the middle stanza, Steve Eminger was able to put the Rangers back in front 2-1. The Islanders would not respond until the third period, when the Isles got a timely power play. 

With the man-advantage, Matt Moulson put the finishing touches on yet another John Tavares masterpiece; a perfectly-threaded pass into the slot. Lundquist had no chance whatsoever; the play was simply too precise. Tavares and Nielsen were credited with the assists on Moulson's goal, his fifth of the season. 

The Islanders continued to play up-tempo hockey, but their defensive lapses, which had luckily not backfired to that point, would ultimately come back to bite them with just under four minutes to go in regulation. Josh Bailey fired an errant pass into the slot and the Rangers made him pay for it, as Brandon Dubinsky found a wide-open Brad Richards who fired an absolute cannon past Evgeni Nabokov for the go-ahead goal. 

Ryan McDonagh sealed the deal with an empty-netter. 

On defense, the Isles were better than they've been recently, but there were still a handful of miscues. I can't complain about what I saw from Mark Streit, Travis Hamonic or Steve Staios, at least for the most part. 

I'd like to publicly apologize to Mike Mottau, who played his heart out last night. I questioned his value but he sure showed it in this game. If Mottau can keep that going, it'll be a huge boost for the Islanders. 

Evgeni Nabokov was certainly on his game too, regardless of what his motives may or may not be. He made several big stops and kept the Isles alive to the very end. 

Making his 2011-12 debut, Nino Niederreiter received 11:17 of ice-time and recorded one shot-on-goal. He played a solid game and used his body, but there was a little bit of a rust, which is perfectly normal. Whatever expectations you have for Nino this year, make sure they're reasonable and realistic. Have patience; the chances and points will come. 

It was nice to see Matt Martin making his presence felt in this game. He had some big hits, particularly the one on Steve Eminger, and a fight against Brandon Prust. Martin gave the Islanders momentum and energy nearly every time he stepped onto the ice. 

The Islanders need build upon the positives (and there were plenty) from this game. Let's see if the wheels have in fact started to turn, because if last night was any indication, they have. 


Comments are welcome.  

4 comments:

IslesPassion21 said...

Its hard to take a team seriously when they trot out a subpar goalie simply because of who he is...A team with playoff aspirations do not behave like this...How deflating it has to be to the team when DP cant make a save when he needs too most...Thats what NHL goaltenders do...they make SAVES...He is not what he used to be, far from it...You can see in the way he moves or doesnt move in a methodical way...No more cat like reflexes w his glove... Instead he goes down and gives the high shot away every time...

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