Starting to type this one up quickly after the game, which only means that the other game that truly matters to the Rangers tonight, the Hurricanes/Sabres game in Buffalo has yet to be decided yet. At 9:53 pm Carolina leads Buffalo 1-0 with 9:05 to go in the third. Rooting for the Sabres to make a miraculous regulation comeback, but would much rather just have the game not go to OT.
So back to the game we care about, the game that essentially makes the outcome of that other game obsolete as the Rangers got 2 points at home VS the Islanders.
They were able to avoid the typical letdown home game that they would usually fall victim to after coming back from a moderately successful west coast trip.
All started by getting the first goal early in the game on the PK from Prust. After that you could just sense that the Rangers had that confidence, that swag that they were playing with in the beginning of the season and the swag that was getting them points early on in the season. After the first goal the Rangers were able to get another one and gain a very important 2 goal lead.
However all good things may not be as great as they seem as even though the final was 6-3, the Rangers had a serious let down in the second period. Coming out of the gate taking a 2-0 lead into the locker room the Rangers could not go into that intermission and get complacent, they needed to put their foot to the throat of the Islanders and really finish them off. Sadly this was not the case for the Rangers tonight as the Islanders came out all over the place and actually ended up tying the game at 2. It looked like the Rangers were beginning to fall apart, that Torts might have needed to call a timeout and get their heads back on the shoulders and get back to grinding away a win. But a well timed TV time out saved Torts the embarrassment of having to call his team out and I’m sure he used that given time out wisely in order to get the Rangers back to their game from the first period. And they did. The Rangers were able to hold the Islanders to 0 shots on goal for the final 11:53 of the second period while they scored 3 goals and took an insurmountable 5-2 lead into the second intermission.
Not exactly the game anyone wanted from Avery tonight as he took 3 poor minor penalties. The first boarding one was a good call, Avery needs to let up there but you gotta understand that he’s probably got a ton of adrenaline going, he knows he needs to battle hard to stay in the lineup and he’s trying to grind. The second penalty called on him was a joke of a goalie interference call and the Rangers were lucky the Islanders negated that one for them. The third Avery penalty was the one that killed him, the one that may have set in stone his spot in the press box. It was a roughing call while he was battling post-face off and again you have to feel for Avery because he’s grinding hard but he HAS to be smarter than that. He knows the target is on his back from the league, he knows he’s on a short leash with the coach, he needs to be smarter when he sees ice which has become all the more rare as the season has gone on.
Torts just asked what the final score was in his post-gamer…someone is pre-occupied with Avery on the mind (haha)
During the first period I tweeted that the special teams will win you games in the new NHL. The Rangers tonight went 3-5 on the power play with big additions from McCabe and Gaborik, not to look past the short-handed goal that Prust scored to get the Rangers going early in the first period.
Tortorella was asked that he looked upset when Sean took the penalty: “That’s my business.”
Back to special teams…
Gaborik and McCabe really turned it on for the Rangers on their special teams today. They combined for 3 points on the power play to help the Rangers go 3 – 5 on their game tonight.
The way Gaborik played tonight is the way he needs to play night in and night out. Even before the points started rolling in it was obvious to see that Gaborik really had his feet moving and wasn’t afraid to try to dance around a defender in order to set himself up for a shot. That’s the key for Gaborik. When he’s moving his feet and going as hard as he can he’s nearly unstoppable, just as he appeared tonight.
Final in Buffalo: Hurricanes 1 – Sabres 0
What happened tonight needs to happen 11 more times for the Rangers. We need to see that swag, that effort, that we’re never too far ahead and never too far behind mentality that wins you games in the NHL. The special teams needs to click like it was clicking tonight.
The Islanders were not an easy team to beat tonight, they’re one of the hottest teams in the NHL since the turn of the new year with the leagues highest goal scorer since that date. They have nothing to lose and they come out hard and fierce all the time. The main point here is that they can’t be taken lightly right now, and the Rangers were able to make it happen by beating them huge 6-3 and gaining a big two points in the standings.
The Rangers next game is Friday night on home ice against the Canadiens. What’s interesting about this game is that if the Habs lose on Thursday night to the Lightning, it could be a huge four point swing game for the Rangers that could set them up for a 6th place finish at the end of the year.
It’s gonna be a fun finish, and by winning 4 of their last 5 games, the Rangers need to put the pedal down harder, foots on throats, and grab themselves that playoff spot.
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Written by Adam Gavriel