Do Ranger players even know this is a rivalry?
Time was, Rangers-Islanders meant intensity, bad blood, emotion, heart. The current edition of the Blueshirts showed none of that, and lost the first of a crucial eight game stretch 2-1 to the Islanders at Madison Square Garden tonight.
Throughout the game, the Islanders fore-checked the Rangers to death, and the home team seemed content to stand still and let the Isles cycle around without so much as a hint of physical play. Eventually this bit them in the shorts when Jack Hillen threw the puck towards the net (a novel idea, one apparently the Rangers will take under advisement), and it bounced off Jon Sim and past Henrik Lundqvist to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead.
Sean Avery tried to get the Rangers emotionally involved as soon as the second period started, mixing it up with Hillen, then again later in the second period. The Rangers need more of this, every night. Ranger fans have begged, pleaded, prodded this team to show emotion, to play with urgency and intensity. It has to come from more players than just Sean Avery, but he just doesn't seem to be getting through to his teammates.
The Islanders tallied what turned out to be the game-winner late in the third, when Blake Corneau scored to give the Isles a 2-0 lead.
Ranger fans voiced their displeasure early and often, with most of the venom directed at the General Manager. The Blueshirts gave them little to cheer about until the final minute, when Enver Lisin scored to break the shutout, but considering it had been well over 200 minutes since the Rangers last even strength goal, to expect them to get another one in less than a minute seemed to be asking a bit much.
Another night to forget for Chris Higgins, who should just be nicknamed "fanned on the shot" because that's all Sam Rosen ever says about him.
Lots, lots more after the jump......
- Someone, anyone, explain to me how after the Rangers score to make it 2-1, they take a timeout to discuss strategy, and somehow decide that Michal Rozsival should be on the ice for the final minute with the goaltender pulled.
- Speaking of Number 33: 24 minutes of ice time, seriously? Are they that scared of Ilkka Heikkinen?
- Marian Gaborik's delay of game penalty in the first period, how is he supposed to stop his momentum after he trips over a players skate and slides into the net?
- As someone said in our open game thread, you know the Rangers are playing bad when even Joe Micheletti criticizes them. Joe also said its time for the Rangers to "reassess playing time".
- I loved seeing Enver Lisin get that late goal, even though it was meaningless. Lisin was glued to the bench for most of the game again, for whatever the reason, and I liked seeing him get some redemption. Out of all the issues the Rangers have, to single out Enver Lisin is just plain stupid. I can think of at least five players who are a bigger problem than Lisin.
- One plus is that it may have been the Rangers best night on face-offs, only Brian Boyle lost more face-offs than he won.
- Full marks to the Islanders. Yes, we hate them, but they come to play most every night, and will rarely be outworked. We can't say that about the Rangers.
- Props to you guys that were with me in the open game thread, we had over 700 comments, great job by all of you.
I will add the notes and quotes from the Rangers either later tonight or in the morning.
[Note by Jim Schmiedeberg, 12/16/09 10:44 PM EST here are the notes, no quotes tonight]
NEW YORK RANGERS POST-GAME NOTES
December 16, 2009 - New York Rangers 1, New York Islanders 2 (Game #33, Home #17)
- The Rangers were defeated by the New York Islanders, 2-1, in front of a sold-out crowd (18,200) at Madison Square Garden.
- New York have sold out 173 consecutive regular season games, dating back to Nov. 5, 2005 against New Jersey; the last regular season non-sellout was Oct. 31, 2005 vs. Montreal (17,697); including the playoffs, the Rangers sellout streak is now at 187 games.
- The Blueshirts are now 14-16-3 (31 pts.) on the season, including a 7-9-1 mark at home.
- The Rangers won 31 of 51 faceoffs for a 61% success rate; Vinny Prospal led all skaters with 11 faceoff wins and went 11-16 (69%) in the faceoff circle.
- Enver Lisin tallied one goal and two shots in 9:14 of icetime; he now has two points (one goal and one assist) in four career games against the Islanders.
- Brandon Dubinsky recorded one assist and won 10 of 17 faceoffs (59%); he also logged a season-high 24:28 of icetime.
- Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves while starting in his seventh straight game, which ties his season-high.
- Dan Girardi notched an assist on Lisin's third period goal and recorded three shots in 22:57 of icetime.
- Marian Gaborik led all skaters with six shots and 26:51 of icetime; Christopher Higgins led the team and tied for the game-high with five hits.
- The Rangers return to action tomorrow, Dec. 17, when they will face-off against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum (7:00 p.m.), in the second game of a home-and-home set and the Rangers fourth game in six days; the game will be televised live on MSG Network and can be heard on 1050 ESPN Radio.
- Prior to the game, the Rangers pre-game skate is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at Nassau Coliseum.