Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Rivalry: Islanders Show Rangers Who's Number One

From the desks of:


Islanders lead series 2-0
I - NYI 6; NYR 3
II - NYI 3; NYR 0
III - @Long Island
IV - @ Long Island
V - @ Long Island

Look What The Long Islanders Did To The Rangers..., Again!

That's twice this season the Islanders have beaten the Rangers by a factor of three.

The majority of Tuesday night's much anticipated game took place in the Rangers end.   Whatever offense the Rangers mounted, usually resulted in a blocked shot, a turnover, or otherwise ended quickly.  To their credit, they did hit 3 posts, but this ain't horseshoes, Tex.

The Islanders had 19 SOG in the 2nd period alone, and out-shot the Rangers 44-27 for the game; the most shots on goal the Rangers have allowed this season.

In the battle of net minders, Jaroslav Halak wound up making 27 saves, and faced just 6 shots in the 3rd period en route to a shutout.  At the other end, Henrik Lundqvist was pulled in favor of Cam Talbot after falling behind 3-0 after two periods.  Henrik faced 32 shots in two periods.

During intermission after that 2nd period debacle, Ron Duguay said the Rangers looked tired.

Okay Ron, I'll play.  The Rangers wrapped up their west coast trip on Saturday, flew back home, and had an extra day off to shake whatever jet lag....

Perhaps the Rangers were tired because they kept having to back peddle after numerous neutral zone turnovers, or a general lack of puck possession, and having to chase the Isles in transition.

Asst. Coach Ulf Samuelsson was a little closer to the truth.  After the 2nd period, he said the team's energy level was down, the Rangers were too slow, and that their execution was poor.

I'll buy that.

After the game, Ryan McDonagh said they didn't work hard enough.  I'll buy that too.

Dan Boyle said Long Island shifted into another gear, particularly in the 2nd.  That's troublesome.

Now here's my angle.

Plain and simple - the Islanders were more tenacious to loose pucks, and more physical around the net.

Matt Martin and Johnny Boychuk led with 6 hits each.  Boychuk put one particularly big hit on Rick Nash, and Derek Stepan was a game casualty with an undisclosed upper body injury.  Meanwhile, Lee Stempniak was the lone Rangers forward with at least 4 hits.

Fact is, Long Island's four lines are generally bigger than those of the Rangers.  If anything, the Rangers unfortunately waited for time to expire before finally showing a backbone (thank you 38-year old Dan Boyle).

The Islanders already had one goal waived off.  Then on Long Island's first official goal, Dan Girardi (6'2'' 203lbs.) could do little in the way of preventing Anders Lee (6'3" 230lbs.) from establishing position and cleaning up a rebound.

Michael Grabner, who is still getting his game legs back, likewise created disruptive traffic in the crease on Nikolay Kulemin's goal.

Frans Nielson's interception and shorthanded goal was just..., just...,

We know the Rangers are not a physical team.  Now the Islanders just wrote the book on how to neutralize their speed.

That's also troublesome.

The series will shift to Long Island for the remaining three games of this series.


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