Scratch your head and rub your eyes all you want. The score was 6-2 for New York, but not the team you’d expect. Spoiler alert: the Rangers blew it.
The Islanders unraveled the Rangers who looked lifeless in what was supposed to be a match for their playoff lives. The Isles – second to last place with nothing to play for – were party poopers looking for payback. They were hungrier, grittier and better.
This was supposed to be the Rangers night to shine. They owned the Isles winning the last four meetings by a margin of 25-16. Marian Gaborik had six goals and three assists in his previous five games against the Islanders this season.
Vinny Prospal got the Rangers on the board in the first period. Their short lived lead was undermined thanks to an all around poor effort, especially on a long stretch of power plays. They spent roughly twelve minutes with an extra man on the ice and finished with not a goal to show for it.
There was nothing special about the special teams tonight. PP didn’t stand for power play but rather pointless and pathetic. The Blueshirts were 0 for 8. It was 1-0 game and the Rangers had a 5-on-3 advantage. They couldn’t convert, let alone put serious pressure on Al Montoya, their former first round draft pick. Granted Marian Gaborik was out of pocket for an unnecessary boarding penalty along with Bryan McCabe for roughing. The struggling Erik Christensen and Mats Zuccarello looked confused at the point.
The Isles exploded for four goals in the second period to make the Rangers pay. Henrik Lundqvist was chased out of the crease. He didn’t look particularly shaky despite the injury speculations before game time. A puck hit him hard near the knee last night and there were the lingering prior concerns about a stiff neck. Coach Tortorella gave the King a start but opted to go with Chad Johnson in the third period after the Isles outburst. Johnson allowed two goals on 11 shots.
Brandon Prust was awarded the Rangers second goal in the dying seconds of the third off an awkward bounce to add insult to injury. To make matters worse, Nassau Coliseum became a mock boxing ring with the emotionless fights that ensued. Brandon Dubinsky, Sean Avery and Ruslan Fedotenko dropped the gloves against the Isles’ Reese, Konopka and Haley. Trevor Gillies and Brandon Prust were chased away to avoid further shenanigans.
This wasn’t pretty. Ranger fans were left speechless and so was Coach Tortorella who wouldn’t even answer the media’s questions in the post game interview.
With two straight losses, the Rangers need to rebound quick. Will the Philadelphia Flyers once again be the ones to wedge the playoff dagger in the Rangers’ hearts? The Rangers head to Philly on Sunday.
Stand still: Stuck in eighth place with 87 points, the Blueshirts have four games left to get their act together. The Carolina Hurricanes, only three points back, take on the Islanders this Saturday. The Canes have five games remaining.
About the Author
Written by Margaret DeJesus
I'm a recent college graduate looking for a dream job covering hockey. I've been watching the New York Rangers since my grade school days of VHS and Gordon Bombay's "ducks fly together" speech. While studying journalism at Boston University (COM '10), I wrote for the Daily Free Press, the student newspaper. I worked two summers at the Staten Island Advance, my hometown newspaper, writing city news and features. I've also written CD reviews for Music-Reviewer.com. One of my favorite gigs was interning for hockey analyst extraordinaire Stan Fischler covering the Boston Bruins and attending all their home games in the 2009-2010 season. (Yes, including the crushing defeat against the Flyers in the Eastern Conference playoffs.)