Wednesday, January 28, 2015

We Can’t Beat The Damn Islanders (lose 4-1)

It’s only three games – but the Rangers just can’t seem to beat the Islanders – who have finally put together the best team they’ve had since the 1980s. 

I try to focus on positives – but there aren’t many.  We did finally score a goal.  Hagelin at least got to test that the islander goal light was working – breaking up the shutout with 10 seconds left (assists by Moore and Fast).  The final was 4-1.

The islanders are bigger – and deeper – and we couldn’t outskate them.  Their forecheck created turnovers – and kept us from having momentum moving up the ice.  So they ended up creating a ton of shots.  And to top it off – Halak was brilliant in goal.  We were pretty much outplayed at every position.  And the Rangers had some time off to rest and prepare for this one – it just didn’t seem to help.

We actually outshot them 41-38 – but the Islanders had more quality chances.  Hank played well for much of the game – but Halak played better. 

What does all this mean in the bigger sense?  Well, the NHL is about matchups and this Islander team seems to match up with us better than anyone else does.  If we never meet them in the playoffs it doesn’t matter – but they are looking very strong at the moment.  Or to look at it another way – we don’t have to beat them now – 
just later – if at all.

Did Special Teams Determine The Outcome Of This Game?  No.  Both teams were 1 for 3 on the power play – and it took a 5 on 3 for the Islanders to score theirs.  We lost this game at even strength.

Where Do We Stand?  Some goodness here.  The Capitals somehow lost a game in regulation.  So we’re still alone in third place at 27-14-4 with 58 poin
ts.  So we’re a point up on Washington with 2 games at hand.  And we’re just 4 back of the Penguins with 2 games at hand also.  And most important – we’re 8 points ahead of the line-of-death 9th place Florida Panthers.

What Will Happen Next?  The Montreal Canadiens come to town on Thursday.  They are 30-13-3 with 63 points – good enough for third place in the Atlantic division.

Non Sequitur of the day:  Thursday is Dave Pucks birthday!  Still waiting for some of that wisdom that comes with age.   

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