Rangers 2: Islanders 1
I suppose some solace could be found in the the fact that the Islanders put in some solid effort against one of the best teams in the East, at least for parts of the first and second periods. After all, expecting a thorough game after a five-day layoff is a bit much.
Not only that, but the interim number one goaltender- Joey MacDonald- is now out with a quite apparent injury, causing the Isles to scramble in order to find a new backup with Yann Danis now between the pipes.
Mike Dunham, the goaltending coach, was emergency backup in the Isles' 2-1 loss to the Rangers on home ice last night, which was won on a second period flurry by the Blueshirts- two goals, nothing more or less needed. Although the Islanders protected Danis well, the speed and talent of the Rangers prevailed on what wasn't the prettiest of games.
In the first, the Rangers came out hard and fast, pelting MacDonald and leading 7-1 in shots at one point. When the Islanders did come out with the puck, they did so focusing too much on attempting the perfect play and not as much on hitting Henrik Lundqvist with shot after shot. Then, midway through, MacDonald appeared slow to scramble back up in the crease after sprawling to stop the puck. A couple of minutes later, he motioned for the trainer to come for him, leaving lumps in the throats and pits in the stomachs of all the Isles fans watching, both in Nassau Coliseum and at home in front of their TV screens.
Shortly afterward, the Isles played about ten minutes of purely inspired hockey, and kept the puck away from Danis completely. They took 11 of the last 12 shots in the period, making the shot total 12-8 in their favor, and finally capitalized on a rocket of a shot by Chris Campoli, who found the net over Lundqvist's shoulder and scored his fifth of the season at 18:50. With the momentum entirely in their favor now, the Isles continued to pressure and get in front of the Rangers' goal, with no payoff.
The Rangers came out ready in the second, however, and picked apart the careful defense. Captain Chris Drury snatched the puck out of the air after a clearing attempt by Campoli didn't go high enough. Then, a Frans Nielsen penalty turned into a 2-on-1 power play goal by Nigel Dawes, his eighth of the season and the game-winner. Despite some great opportunities for the Isles, in this case, persistence didn't pay off, not in the remainder of the second nor in the third, and the Rangers got their third win of the year over the Isles.
Notes: Brendan Witt had five shots on goal last night! He led the team... MacDonald is sidelined with a "groin strain" and didn't return to the game... the Isles may be speaking with ex-backup Wade Dubielewicz once more. Dubie went to Russia but was bought out of his contract, according to Howie Rose.
P.S. Garth Snow also spoke to Billy Jaffe prior to last night's matchup. He basically said what we've heard for a while now; among other things regarding the bright spots on this team, including Mark Streit and Doug Weight, he assessed that "We'll go through tough stretches, but we won't deviate from [our] plan," namely the youth movement that has served well players like Kyle Okposo and Nielsen. Regarding Rick DiPietro, who hasn't had much of a season, he said, "Everything we've done has been with the mindset of being cautious... We're all concerned when our franchise goaltender hasn't played a lot of games, and I understand the fans' concern." Time will tell what happens with DP, as well as with this youth movement as it continues.
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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.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Rangers 2: Islanders 1