First off, this is the craziest game I've ever seen. Ever.
Derek Boogaard and Johnny Cakes Gillies go at it just a few minutes into the game, but that was nothing compared to what was to come in the Rangers thrilling 6-5 victory over the Islanders last night in front of a
sell out crowd some people at Nassau Coliseum.
The buzz among Ranger fans all day was about Sean Avery playing on the first line with Marian Gaborik. How did they do? Well, Gaborik had a hat trick, Avery had three assists, and Erik Christensen had a goal and an assist. The line had eight points, and was a plus eight overall.
Not too shabby.
Christensen gets the Rangers on the board early in a first period dominated by the Rangers, with an absolutely perfect shot over DP's shoulder from the side of the net, and then Ryan Callahan put the Rangers up by two on a beautiful feed from Brandon Dubinsky.
Zenon Konopka got his first goal of the season for the Islanders late in the first, the dreaded "late goal", that was just a precursor of the nuttiness that would ensue for the last forty minutes of this game.
After the Islanders killed off a penalty early in the second, Matt Moulson ties the game after deking Martin Biron out of his skates. Then just three minutes later, Rob Schremp gave the Islanders the lead, and pulled off a celebration that would make Ovechkin jealous. Premature Rob, premature.
Sensing his team was letting the game slip away, John Tortorella pulled Martin Biron, forcing Henrik Lundqvist to get down from his folding chair somewhere in the thirtieth row and come into the game. It was sort of a live version of "The Price is Right" at Nassau Coliseum. "Hey Henrik Lundqvist, COME ON DOWN!!!!"
Anyway, it worked, at least temporarily, because after Hank made the trek out onto the ice, the Rangers responded just fifty one seconds later, when Brandon Prust was credited with a goal that deflected in off of an Islander defenseman that tied the game at three.
Three minutes later, the Rangers were back on top, when Gaborik scored his first of the night, a power play goal to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead. Gaborik would give the Rangers a 5-3 lead three and a half minutes into the third, and Ranger fans breathed a little easier.
For nine minutes. That was when Michael Grabner brought the Islanders back to within one with a tip in goal. Islander fans were barely done screaming "Woo" at the end of their horrendous goal song when Ranger killer Blake Comeau scored his first goal since the last time these teams met, and the game was tied.
The "woos" were short lived because just twenty five seconds later, Marian Gaborik picked up his second hat trick of the season when he beat DiPietro for the third time, to put the Rangers finally ahead for good.
I'm exhausted just writing this recap. Not going to sugar coat it, this was a pretty awful defensive performance by the Rangers, and neither goaltender was great, although Henrik did stop the bleeding long enough to get the Blueshirts back in the game. But a win is a win, and even sweeter when it's the Islanders.
Game two of the home and home is in less than twenty one hours.