The New York Rangers weren't able to get the job tonight after blowing an early 2-0, and later falling 4-3 to the New York Islanders in a shootout. Martin Biron was solid all throughout tonight's game, but was horrendous in the shootout with his gaping five hole.
The Rangers jumped out to and early 1-0 lead with a snap shot from Dan Girardi, just above the right faceoff dot. Carl Hagelin made an excellent play on the puck, and made a perfect feed out to the cutting Girardi from behind the net. Just like that they jumped out to an early lead, and gained the momentum. Just over seven minutes later, Marian Gaborik gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead as he jammed home a rebound on the third attempt in front of Evgeni Nabokov. Brad Richards made a great play to the net and kept slamming away with knocked the puck right back out to Gaborik.
Throughout the rest of the first period, the Rangers carried most of the play and were pinning the Islanders in their own zone quite a bit. Something must have happened in between periods, as the Rangers came out completely flat, and the Islanders were eating them up in every area of the ice. It only took 29 seconds for them to rebound as Colin McDonald redirected a pass from Casey Cizikas to cut the Rangers lead to 2-1. It definitely wasn't the type of start the Rangers wanted, especially after that spectacular first period performance they put on just 15 minutes prior.
The Islanders kept on surging and eventually came away with the tying goal, and the go-ahead goal in a span of a minute. John Tavares capitalized on a 2-on-1 rush and snapped a shot right under the glove of Martin Biron, and just like that the game was all knotted up. But the bleeding didn't stop there. Brad Boyes would come down the wing just a minute later and snap one low on Biron, and the Islanders took a 3-2 lead. Now I get that third goal was a little soft, but the other two? It was terrible coverage in front of Biron, and he was basically left out to dry on the odd-man rush. After the first ten minute collapse for the Rangers, they finally found their leg and got back to work.
Carl Hagelin, who was a complete beast all night long, eventually chipped home a power play goal to tie the game up once again at 3-3. The goal was actually reviewed at first, and it was determined that the puck just barely crossed the line for it to be a goal. It wasn't pretty, but sometimes that's how you have to score them. Both teams went into the intermission deadlocked, and with a huge period ahead of them.
The third period had tons of back and forth action from both sides, which included a late surge by the Rangers in the closing minutes. Unfortunately this game would head to overtime, where the Rangers and Islanders traded chances for a majority of the five minutes. Michael Del Zotto had a golden opportunity in the dying seconds of overtime, where he redirected a perfectly placed pass just wide of Nabokov.
Off to the shoot we went, where John Tavares, and Fans Neilsen were the only goal scorers for the Islanders. Both Marian Gaborik, and Rick Nash were denied and the Islanders came away with the win, and the extra point in the standings.
Just a few quick notes about tonight:
- As I said earlier, Carl Hagelin was absolutely lights out tonight, and basically controlled the play for the offense throughout most of the game. He also had a hand full of chances, and could have easily put away for the game for the Rangers single handily
- What's the heck is going on with Brad Richards? He hasn't been remotely close to what he was last season. He's making blind passes to no one, and has been making horrible decisions with the puck lately. He took only one shift throughout the third period, and started back up in overtime. Not really sure why Tortorella let him out of the dog house, because I wouldn't have.
- Brian Boyle came back with vengeance tonight and was a hound in the corners and while protecting the puck. Tortorella said that he wanted Boyle to get pissed off, and guess what? It worked. He played very well tonight.
- J.T. Miller didn't play very much in the second half of the game, actually, I'm not even sure he played at all in the second and third periods. He wasn't playing bad at all, it just appeared that Torts shortened the bench when the game become tight. Regardless, that was J.T. Miller's fifth game, and the Rangers will have a decision to make before Sunday. Either they send him back down and let his ELC slide, or they burn the first year and keep him up with the big club.