You will never hear me complain of the New York Islanders beating the New York Rangers. Ever. Although the rivalry may have died down on the ice over the years, it has not died down for the fans, and a win is a win however they may come. Despite the Isles being on a two game winning streak after playing back to back games, the Isles were lucky to come out with a "W" after their performance last night.
The Rangers showed that this year they are a far superior team. The way they carried the puck and set up in the offensive zone was that much better than the Isles. I counted a handful of times where I noticed our players sliding across the ice after a blue shirt dangled through their opponents. It was frustrating...making it a HUGE relief when we got those two short-handed goals.
But let's keep in mind that these goals were only a result of Ranger mistakes. Being at the Garden last night, with an old buddy of mine who is a Rangers fan, we got to hear plenty of Ranger fans calling for Rozsival's head. I even heard one fan say Zherdev is beginning to look like Kovalev (obviously not the current Kovalev that has become one of the Habs best players, but the one that got himself traded to Montreal in the first place). So as you can see, I was not the only frustrated fan in attendance.
Joey MacDonald almost played a perfect game if it was not for the sneaker that went between his pads with 1:41 left in the third period. There was one glove save that he made where the puck was actually behind his head...he was fantastic. Goaltending, even with DP sidelined, is not going to be this team's problem. The fact that in the second period the shots were 25-9 in favor of the Rangers is the issue; we do not have offense. Our goals last night were a result of the Rangers' inability to convert on their struggling power play.
We were out played, out matched, and out worked. We got lucky.
Some positives to take out of the poor win - Jeff Tambellini dropping the gloves with Nigel Dawes. Kudos to Tamby as we all know he is not a fighter. He is trying to earn his stripes with his coaches and teammates, as well as the fans, because he has yet to provide the offense we've been waiting for. Okposo once again got some good shots in, but he needs to score. I hate to admit this but it's not going to happen with him playing on a line with Guerin and Weight. The Isles are lacking that one dynamic forward that can open up the ice and create chances. If Okposo had at least one better line mate I am sure he would start scoring. Either way, let's hope he can start creating his own chances like he did last Monday after his first goal of the year. Sutton was also a force on the blue line, willing to drop his knees to the ice and block plenty of shots. Campoli and Streit had a strong game as well.
At the end of the day it's a win...two in a row. Hopefully this momentum will carry with them as they head to Georgia to take on Ilya Kovalchuk and the Atlanta Thrashers.