Friday, February 17, 2017

Islanders 4, Rangers 2

The New York Rangers (37-19-1) lost to the New York Islanders (26-20-10) by the score of 4-2. For a box score, click here.

3 Stars

1st Star - Thomas Greiss (The Isles goalie somehow avoided a concussion despite his own team continuing to hit Rangers players into him)
2nd Star - Barclays Center (It was actually full for an Islanders game!)
3rd Star -  Kevin Klein (Not a single turnover tonight)

Post Game Cocktail Recommendation

Let's join all the Brooklyn Hipsters celebrating their big win over the rival Rangers with a Pabst Blue Ribbon Tall Boy.

Gif of the Game

How dare Rick Nash take a penalty for being crosschecked into the goaltender. If I'm AV I'm sitting him on Sunday vs. Washington to send a message that those kinds of selfish plays won't be tolerated.

Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers

It's hard enough to win in the NHL, so it doesn't help when you're turning the puck over all night. Especially when one John Tavares is on the ice.

The only rationale I can come up with for the Rangers playing hot potato with the puck on all three goals against is that the players finally realized they need to start tanking to ensure the 1st Wild Card spot and avoid the Penguins and Capitals.

Let's take a look at the self inflicted wounds starting with the first Islanders goal.

Matt Puempel pretty much sealed his fate for the remainder of the season by not only needlessly icing the puck and leaving his tired line on the ice...

But also carelessly turning the puck over after said tired line made a nice defensive recovery following the ensuing defensive zone faceoff which ultimately lead to the Islanders tying the game at 1-1...

Meanwhile, Marc Staal's cringe worthy turnover speaks for itself...

And finally Ryan McDonagh gets his pocket picked which eventually results in the short-handed game winner for the Islanders...


Seriously, what kind of insane defense involves three Rangers players below the goal line, another below the top of the crease and a fifth guy along the boards? Nope, no idea how Kulemin got himself so wide open in the slot to bury the short-handed game winner.

Mini Recap

Listen, the Rangers can't win every game, but damn, did the winning streak have to end at the hands of the Islanders?

Besides the turnovers, the Rangers other achilles heel tonight (or better yet, the last month) was the power play.

In my recap of the Columbus game, I pointed out that the Rangers power play could be a significant factor as their schedule ramps up over the next few weeks. And boy was it a factor tonight.

A negative factor that is.

Not only did they allow a devastating short-handed goal against during a four-minute advantage, but they also failed to capitalize on a chance to put a halt to the Islanders second period momentum with two power play opportunities (including a 4-on-3).

It was encouraging that Vesey (who was the Rangers best player tonight) was able to get the Blueshirts within one goal in the dying seconds of that four-minute power play, but by that point the man advantage had already caused the fatal wounds.

The Rangers didn't seize on another huge opportunity, this time in the first period. With all the momentum on their side after killing two early penalties followed by the Holden goal, the Rangers neglected to take advantage of what looked like a very shaky Greiss. Instead of peppering the Islanders netminder, the Blueshirts finished the period with a paltry five shots on goal and a measly one goal lead.

I know it takes a player returning from injury some time to get acclimated to game speed again, but the statute of limitations has run out on Zibanejad who is now goalless in 12 straight games.

That was easily the most benign Rangers/Islanders game I've ever seen. It had the intensity of a game of tiddlywinks.

I always felt the players of both these teams fed off the insanity of the raucous Nassau Coliseum crowds, so it's sad to see it reduced to a whimper in Brooklyn, which is quickly becoming the Rangers new House of Horrors (0-3-1 all time).

Off the next two days then a huge game at MSG against the NHL point leading Capitals.

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