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A blog by a long time New York Islanders fan who stays true to the fellas wearing orange, white and blue…but thinks the Islanders organization has some shaping up to do.

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Friday, April 4, 2008

Rangers, Avery Effect Help Them Clinch

Rangers 3: Islanders 0

The Islanders' young, depleted squad skated off of the Coliseum ice for the last time this season, as the fans dispersed and the scoreboard flashed Islanders 0, Rangers 3. The Rangers had done what they came to do- they'd beat the Isles, collected two points, and gotten into the playoffs, on a shutout to boot.

Had the Islanders had players like Brendan Witt, Andy Sutton and Mike Comrie in the lineup, perhaps their bitter cross-town rivals might have had to wait another day to celebrate a playoff berth. But the youngest faces in the lineup last night were viewing this rivalry with new, albeit reverent, eyes- too far detached from the hostility to really play a part into it. Thus, the intensity that was so heavily featured in these matches was absent until the very end of the game, when mega-pest Sean Avery jumped Rob Davison and was consequently ejected with about five seconds left. And as the Isles missed nets and committed penalties, Jaromir Jagr and the Rangers didn't miss a beat- and made them pay.

It started with the power-play goal 13:57 into the first, converted by Jaromir Jagr on an effective rotation by Martin Straka and Christian Backman. Then, another Isles penalty turned into another goal- this time eight seconds after the guilty party (on this occasion, Freddy Meyer) went into the penalty box. Wade Dubielewicz, doing his best with 33 saves, couldn't overcome a defense that left Jagr open continuously and made more than one mistake with the puck.

I'm sure last night Sean Bergenheim lost a little sleep over the two point-blank chances he missed- beating Lundqvist and faced with an open net, he got just a little too much on the puck, sending it just wide. An otherwise effective, high-octane player, Bergie simply needs to give just a little on the puck to get it into the net. If not, the Isles would have at the very least gotten on the board.

Sean Avery didn't have a goal, but he had his usual spunk- and got under the skin of a couple of Isles. In that spat near the end of the game, he'd been simply asking for something to happen, as he'd taunted players like Davison and Drew Fata all night, smiling his oafish smile and letting the Isles get hot and bothered. It's simple logic for the Isles, just as it is with Jarkko Ruutu- these guys love attention. Deny it to them. They're like little kids who want their mommies and daddies to look at what they can do. Ignorance is a powerful thing, kiddies. And Avery doesn't bode well with it, believe me.

The Isles finished off their home season battered and with another indignation- having the Rangers beat them on their own ice to clinch a playoff spot. At the very least, it's not the top of the Atlantic, and they can be consoled with the fact that it was easier for the Rangers this time around. But as they face-off against them tonight at Madison Square Garden, for the last match of their season, they'll need to find a way to make it harder- and at least end their plight on a high note.

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