What a week it has been for Cam Talbot. After being awarded the third star of the week last week (3-0-0, 3 goals on 86 shots, 1 shutout), he came to Long Island and stopped 29 shots from the New York Islanders, holding a 2-1 win for the New York Rangers. This win was another win that had a playoff feel to it, probably because the last four games have been against playoff teams.
The Rangers actually had a pretty terrible first period, surrendering 13 high quality shots. Talbot stopped all but one as the Rangers weathered the storm, but they were lucky to be out of that period down just one. But it was all Rangers in the second and first half of the third, and they used that momentum to get a pair of goals to take the lead. The Isles really turned it on, trying for the equalizer, but Talbot shut the door on multiple high quality chances.
The Rangers are 12-2-3 without Henrik Lundqvist. If you asked me if that were possible, I would’ve laughed in your face. I’m in utter awe at this team right now.
On to the goals:
Isles 1, Rangers 0
Talbot had a great game, but he wants this one back.
Rangers 1, Isles 1
Wow Kevin Hayes. Just. Wow. Strength, skating ability, hockey sense. He just has it all.
Rangers 2, Isles 1
Dan Girardi laid a good hit on Brock Nelson along the boards in the defensive zone, which knocked Nelson off the puck. Marc Staal picked up the pass, got it to Derick Brassard, who moved it up the ice to Rick Nash. Nash’s pass from the point to Mats Zuccarello in the high slot went off Ryan Strome and past Halak for the goal.
The Rangers seem to have an issue with the first period against the Isles. Every single first period, they have issues. But in the last two games, they’ve fallen behind, and then won in regulation. It’s truly great to see.
While the two teams were close to even in shot attempts, the Isles absolutely dominated the quality scoring chances. Talbot really stole this game for the Rangers.
That second line has been an absolute possession black hole, and they were finally split up during the game. Unfortunately, it was Chris Kreider that was sent to the fourth line, on the off-wing no less. I think the biggest issue is Martin St. Louis here, but he finds a way in the playoffs. We shall see.
There’s not much to say on this. Holy Talbot.
Alain Vigneault switched up the lines in the third period, moving J.T. Miller up to the second line to reward his strong play (minus that giveaway to Josh Bailey). Kreider went to the fourth line. Other than that switch up, it was a normal AV game, with McDonagh/Girardi getting the Tavares line when possible.
The Rangers have gone 3-0-1 against Nashville, Detroit, Chicago, and the Isles. All four games had a playoff feel to them, and the Rangers got seven of eight possible points. They are now one point back of the Isles for the Metropolitan Division lead, but have a whopping four games in hand. This team has been unreal to watch. The shooting numbers are starting to normalize, the possession numbers are getting better, and they keep on winning.
Why not THIS team?