The Isles lone goal scorer on the evening (Michael Grabner) was responsible for a hooking penalty in overtime that set the Rangers up for their power play to put the Isles away. They did surrender another 3rd period lead though and for the second time in a week, they did not draw a powerplay of their own. (Note that one of the referees left the game in the 3rd due to illness. Not sure if that played into it)
This was a back and forth affair with everything you’d want in a hockey game (unless you’re a coach probably). There were some odd man rushes, big saves, a lot of physicality, an electric atmosphere and an Islander lead. The energy was certainly there tonight from the get go which hasn’t been the norm lately (especially in a game where the Isles can get back to .500 or get beyond a two game win-streak).
Evgeni Nabokov was exceptional on the evening stopping 35 of the Rangers’ 37 shots, but it was not enough. It seems like the Isles can never get every facet of the game going at the same time.
Everything but the win. Everything but the win.
The line of Colin McDonald, Marty Reasoner and Michael Grabner was put together to account for the re-insertion of Eric Boulton into the lineup (Haley control) and it paid off. Andrew MacDonald chipped a puck deep that Colin MacDonald dug out from behind the net and wheeled into the slot. Grabner finished it with a wrist shot to the top right corner for his 10th of the season.
Evgeni Nabokov was huge coming up with 13 saves and off a couple of goal mouth scrambles where the Ranger’s forecheck was buzzing. The forwards collapsed well to support the defense though and generally, the Isles were able to break out relatively well.
The Isles started the second a bit slow with the Rangers getting the better of the play. ut they withstood an early onslaught and turned it around toward the end of the period.
Both goaltenders stood on their heads and Rangers coach John Tortorella probably had to spend time on urban dictionary for some new curses. The Isles had three odd man rushes, one breakaway and a partial breakaway in round two.
Nabokov mad a nice pad save on Taylor Pyatt early on after he beat MacDonald wide and crashed in from the left circle. Moments later, he stoned JT Miller who was all alone out front, but then the tides started to shift.
Travis Hamonic sprung Matt Moulson for the partial breakaway that Moulson elevated too much over the glove side of Lundqvist’s net.
The first penalty of the game was called at 11:07 on Casey Cizikas for holding and Joe Finley and Stu Bickell followed him to the box each getting unsportsmanlike penalties for attempted pugilism and glove stink swiping. The Isles killed it efficiently and Michael Grabner had another breakaway that he fired off of Lundqvist’s blocker.
But five minutes later, Kyle Okposo took a tripping penalty. During that kill, the Isles generated three or four quality scoring chances notably a Matt Martin breakaway that he shot off of Lundqvist’s shoulder (aiming glove high) and Grabner and Frans Nielsen on a semi 2 on 1 that fell apart but the were still a tip-in away from a goal. For a very back and forth period, shot totals were low and tied 7-7.
Again, the Isles started slow in the third, but were able to withstand an early Rangers’ push with Nabokov coming up with big stops on JT Miller, Marion Gaborik and Ryan Callahan. Rick Nash came out possessed and bull rushed his way through everyone but Nabokov as well.
Things leveled out after a few minutes and the Isles pushed back as Grabner again was driving play forward. The Tavares line put up a shift where they hemmed the Rangers in so long, they were able to begin changing and maintained possession. Lundqvist came up big on a Tavares loft pass and Moulson tip.
The Rangers finally broke through with 5:23 left when Rick Nash tipped a Derek Stepan shot past Nabokov from the point. Nash was left relatively unchecked on the play.
The remainder of the period, the Rangers pressured the Isles hard and ended up outshooting them 15-9.
At 26 seconds in, on a Rangers rush, Grabner got tangled up with Michael Del Zotto who was driving the net and was called for hooking on the play. On the resulting 4 on 3, Marion Gaborik threaded the needle with a long distance slap shot through a Ryan Callahan screen, and a great game ended poorly.
- According to the broadcast, JT has 21 points in 19 games against the Rangers. It’s nice to be on the other side of (X player kills team).
- I was actually about to tweet an interesting ice time statistic right when Grabner took that penalty, and it will probably be met with some venom now, but in the third period, Eric Boulton had 3:00 of ice, Grabner had 2:20. You know who had zero? Micheal Haley and Stu Bickell. That is playing with fire.
- It was great to hear the barn rocking, but it is really unfortunate that I can heat “Potvin Sucks” chants on TV.
- Matt Martin seemed kind of frustrated/choked up in his post gamer. Tavares was upset as well. These are good things because these guys are really learning to battle.
- On “Passengers”: Cappy – “…a couple of guys battle level’s gotta be better, it has to be. They’ll see it, we’ll talk to them, but but if they’re gonna want to stay in the lineup they’re gonna have to pick it up. We can’t have 10 or 11 forwards going, we need all 12. It was there for the most part, but it wasn’t there for the full 60”. Stan Fischler then asked him “Are they aware, these guys, that you’re talking about?” To which Capuano replied, “I think some guys are aware. If they’re not, they’ll be aware tomorrow. But again, I don’t want to take anything away from the guys, we battled tonight…I was pleased with the effort of our guys…” A very mixed message indeed.
- If this is what Isles/Rangers games are going to look like going forward, this rivalry will be back with a vengeance.