Rangers – Islanders Post Game ThoughtsNovember 15, 2011, by
Chris and I split the post game wrap up tonight. I had a dinner with other movers and shakers early this evening (of course I wore a pocket square, don’t be silly), so we kind of mixed and mashed our thoughts. Here’s what we got.
- For the first half of the first period, the Rangers applied great pressure on the puck carrier and didn’t let the Isles have much time on the puck. It was Tortorella hockey to a “T”. If they can maintain that kind of pressure game to game, then the puck will invariably be out of their own zone more often than not. Puck pressure leads to turnovers and turnover leads to goals.
- It’s impressive how good the Rangers are defensively with their sticks. Using the stick intelligently means less diving to block pucks and less players out of position.
- Not just in this game, but more and more as the season goes on it appears Anisimov has gained an extra step. He looks more explosive on the ice. One example early on saw him burst into the offensive zone creating a chance for himself. If he can get stronger on the puck, combined with the extra foot speed, he could be a monster.
- Avery likely pleased his coach on the the first goal, which was about pressuring the puck carrier (see above) creating a turnover and going to the net. Simple, effective hockey right there.
- No hiding the fact that the Isles first period goal was a weak effort all round by the Rangers. First came the turnover, which led to the Islanders 3 on 2, the backcheck was absent and Neilson’s shot was one that Lundqvist should be saving. The puck caught him between glove and shoulder, but it was a weak goal in my opinion.
- Following their first period penalties expiring, Avery and Mottau came straight out of the box and fought. Avery shouldn’t have taken himself out of the game like that as he was playing well. He also didn’t need to help give the Isles an emotional lift. This was the definition of an unnecessary fight.
- Del Zotto received PK time and defended well throughout. His increasing PK time is a sign that he’s earning more and more trust in defensive situations.
- C.M. Punk’s “Best In The World” t-shirt is one of the hottest merch sellers right now in sports & entertainment, but perhaps it should be Henrik Lundqvist’s name on the back. Although he was called upon too often, it was yet further evidence that this team can get away with occasional dips in their play because of the guy they have in their net.
- The second goal was one part Ryan Callahan, one part Steve Eminger, and one part Islanders brain fart. Cally makes a great pass after a lot of efforting along the boards. The Islanders completely abandoned defending the point, and Eminger makes a nice read on the lack of coverage and provided the finish. Great goal.
- The Rangers once again failed to convert on a 5 on 3 power play despite several good looks, a post from Richards and spending almost the entire power play deep in the Isles zone. Richards had a few blasts from the point that made the Islanders flinch. They clearly weren’t anticipating or respecting his shot. If the Rangers are going to succeed on the power play, they will need to utilize Richards in more than just his passing game…plus Gabby is missing too many nets on the PP lately.
- When the Rangers play disciplined hockey they control the play. Once they start taking penalties it puts guys like Gabby on the bench. They have to find a way to not get sucked into the Islanders trap. The Islanders didn’t make them pay on special teams, but the elite teams will.
- Speaking of penalties, the Islanders are third to last in the league in minor penalties. Though, you wouldn’t know that just by watching them play the Rangers. As I said in the game preview, discipline goes right out the door.
- What did I say about using Richards for shots from the points? Great goal. Keep feeding him. It changes the way teams will defend against us.