Well, with a new season comes new disappointments, and today's matinee against the Islanders will be the first to go into that category this season. The Rangers, who took a 4-3 lead at 12:46 of the third on an Artem Anisimov goal, gave up two quick goals on the penalty kill, and ended up losing in heartbreaking fashion 6-4.
Let me go over something quickly. The Rangers should have never lost this game, and the game should have never been as close as 4-3 in the third period. Also tip your hat the Islanders, who were really strong on the fore-check all game. With that being said, the turning point of this game for the Rangers was the refereeing in the third period.
A blatant hook on Erik Christensen, which saw Christensen leave the game with an injury, went uncalled. And shortly after that, a late crosscheck to Derek Stepan's face (which happened directly in front of a referee) went uncalled as well. Then the very soft tripping call on Ryan Callahan and the appropriate high sticking call on Marc Staal did the Rangers in.
The Rangers went down 1-0 on an early goal from Blake Comeau, courtesy of a horrific Michael Del Zotto turnover. The Rangers would answer back a minute later on the power play, when Brandon Dubinsky would cash in on his own rebound to tie the score at one. Josh Bailey would break the tie with three minutes remaining in the period, to put the Islanders up 2-1.
The second period was a much better one for the Rangers. Del Zotto scored a power play goal at 8:28 to tie the score at two. The Rangers would take the lead five minutes later with an absolute blast by Dan Girardi from the point. The Islanders would have the last laugh though, with Matt Moulson scoring a garbage goal (which was completely Henrik Lundqvist's fault) with 21 seconds remaining.
If you've made it this far, join me after the jump for more.
The third period got off to a quiet start before Marian Gaborik fed a pass to Anisimov, whose shot snuck through Rick DiPietro's pads for a 4-3 lead. Then the barrage of bizarre penalty calls and not calls gave the Islanders a five-on-three advantage, which they cashed in on. Then Comeau scored his second of the game on the ensuing five-on-four.
It wasn't all bad though, join me for the empty netters.
- Although Marian Gaborik only had an assist on the day, he had a pretty good game. I'm not upset with his attempt on the penalty shot, DiPietro is coming off of a knee injury so it was a smart try to test his knees early. DiPietro shut the door, but I don't mind the shot selection.
- Del Zotto had a pretty weird day. Offensively he was a genius, making brilliant cross-ice passes, shooting from the point and completely controlling the power play. Defensively he made one brutal error that lead to a goal, couldn't control the puck on another play which lead to a goal and every time he was the last man back I held my breath. On the other hand, I have no problem with this kind of play. He is still 20-years-old, and his offensive play is well worth the growing pains that you will see out of him this year.
- One of the major positives to take from the past two games is the secondary scoring. If I were to have told you that the Rangers would score 10 goals in their first two games, and Gaborik and Alexander Frolov wouldn't have contributed to one of them, you would have called me crazy. But that's the reality of the situation, and when Gaborik and Frolov do start kicking things should get exciting.
- Derek Stepan had another great game, even though he didn't post any points. He hit players, his positioning was perfect and he always seems to know what to do with the puck. Oh, he also sits in front of the net every chance he gets. This kid is going to be a star one day.
- Dubinsky had another great game today, and is really starting to prove that he deserves to be taken seriously. He now has three goals and one assist on the season, and he was dominant all game today. With a goal and an assist, along with countless hits and a few caused turnovers, Dubinsky was great all day.
- I'm sure that the "Henrik Lundqvist cost the Rangers another game" birds will start chirping after this game, but let's be real here. There was nothing he could do on any of those goals (except for Moulson's), especially the two he gave up in the third period.
- Steve Eminger better see the press box on Friday. He was brutal all day and really proved to me that Matt Gilroy needs to see the ice.
- As for all of you Chris Drury haters, today proved how important he can be to this team. With Staal and Callahan in the box Drury would have been a major part of defending that five-on-three. The Rangers need him back, period.
OK guys, have at it. Don't get too down, it's only one game, even if it is against the Islanders.