The New York Islanders (4-8-3) were feeling blue, after a round two loss to the New York Rangers (10-3-3) in NHL action on Tuesday night. Jack Capuano’s crew battled throughout the night in front of an energetic 16,234 in attendance at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
“We are a desperate hockey team and I thought we were dangerous tonight,” said Capuano. “We really came out and got off to a bit of a slow start, but I liked the way we competed throughout the course of the game.”
With ‘El Nino’ Nino Niederreiter, returning to the team, after missing the first 13 games of the 2011-12 season with a groin injury. In what was a fast-paced hart hitting game in front of a crowd that was clearly divided between the two New York teams.
“He was away for quite a while, but I thought he played well tonight,” said captain Mark Streit of ‘El Nino’s’ performance on the ice tonight. “I wasn’t sure how much ice time he was going to get, when he was out there-he played hard and had a bit of a scoring chance at the end there. He is a big and young guy and his game will only get better.”
The captain had this to say of the game, “It wasn’t a very good start, but we came back and fought hard and tied it up in the last period. There are a lot of positives that we can take out of this game, it is a tough loss but we have got to learn from it-turn the page and move on.”
Sean Avery (2) started the scoring for the Rangers at the 14:43 mark of the first period, recording a 19 foot wrister on a rebounded shot-that was assisted by Brian Boyle (3) and Michael Sauer (2). The Islanders responded with a Frans Nielsen (4) wrister at the 17:06 mark.
The Islanders displayed some beautiful passing as P.A. Parenteau (11) and Travis Hamonic (2) got the puck to Nielsen, who tied the game up on a top-shelf shot. For Parenteau, the forward now has 12 points in the last eight games.
Fans of the Orange and Blue experience a scary moment at the 1:43 mark, when keeper Evgeni Nabokov was ran into by a flurry of players from both teams. Thankfully ‘Nabby’ was able to skate and continued the game under his own power.
Nabby shined during the course of the game, named as the Third Star thanks to the 26 stops made in the cage. The Isles keeper was outdone by Second Star Henrik Lundqvist, who made 31 saves in the game.
“It is all about confidence I think,” Hank said of the win tonight. “When things go against us we don’t panic, we stick to our system and work really hard. This was a huge win for us, they really battled us throughout the night-but we stayed focused and confident and were able to pull out the victory.”
The physical play came to a boiling point at the 1:09 mark of the second period when Sean Avery and Mike Mottau exchanged blows. The two players started to go at it before the end of the first, and resumed their give-and-take with the fight.
Brandon Prust and Matt Martin kept the physical battle of the big apple going with the second fight of the game with 2:54 on the scoreboard. Steve Eminger gave the Blueshirts a lead at the 6:07 mark, on a 19 foot wrister, which was assisted by Ryan Callahan (3) and Jeff Woywitka (3).
For Eminger, it was his first goal of the season, as blueliner went 30 games without a tally. The Islanders had a huge moment in the game, was when the Islanders killed a 5-on-3 power play opportunity by the Rangers.
The Islanders defense was totally unselfish, sacrificing their bodies and blocking shots to keep the Blueshirts off the board. Capuano’s bunch was rewarded for their fine effort at the 6:58 mark-when Matt Moulson (5) recorded a power play goal to tie the game up for the second time.
Moulson received two beautiful passes from John Tavares (7) and Nielsen (5), tipped-in the second Islanders goal of the game. With the Coliseum crowd growing more electric with each passing second.
Tavares had this to say of the losing streak, “We don’t like it, we don’t enjoy it, but I think we are trying to get better. It is not easy all the time and we don’t enjoy this feeling. I believe we have got the team with the right tools, approach and work ethic-it is just a matter of us putting it all together.”
Nabby made the save of the game around the 13:50 mark when Derek Stephan and Artem Anisimov, both attempted shots at the Islanders cager. Evgeni dives from one side of the net to the other to stone both players.
The Blueshirts regained the lead for good, when sniper Brad Richards (6) tallied a 38 foot slap shot at the 15:05 mark, for the 3-2 lead. Rangers captain Callahan (8) capped off the seventh straight victory on an empty-net goal before the horn sounded to end the third period of play.
“Richie has scored some points for us early on,” said Rangers head coach John Tortorella of his star forward. “I think that was one of his better games with the puck, as far as how hard he was on the puck.”
Things will not get any easier for the Islanders, who have now lost four straight games. The guys form the Island will face the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night, with the puck drop slated 7:00 p.m. The Rangers will also face the ‘Habs ’on Saturday.
Charity Note: Prior to the game the wives and girlfriends of the New York Islanders players were selling ‘Love for Lokomotiv’ wristbands. The proceeds of the charity bands will go to the families of the fallen members of the KHL plane crash that happened prior to the start of the NHL season
Click here for more information on the Love for Lokomotiv foundation:
Article seen originally on the Examiner.com site on 11/15/11 seen here: