A lot of folks wanted the Rangers to throw last night’s game. In reality, the best case scenario was a well played game, win or lose. The Rangers played a very strong game, controlling the majority of the game and limiting the Isles at even strength. However it all changed in six minutes in the second period, when the Islanders scored three goals to really put the game away and chase Henrik Lundqvist.
The scoreboard will show domination by the Isles, but it was the exact opposite. The Rangers spent most of the time in the offensive zone, but couldn’t solve Thomas Greiss, who played exceptionally well making 36 saves. After a flukey goal hit off Dan Boyle, Greiss made a fantastic stop on Miller, and the Isles quickly turned the momentum and a blown read into a 2-0 lead. A bad penalty kill read made it 3-0, and it was all she wrote there.
Isles 1, Rangers 0
Marek Zidlicky took an innocent slap shot from the point that was going wide, but it hit Dan Boyle on the way to the net. Shane Prince got credit for the goal, but it doesn’t look like he touched it. Definitely hit Boyle though.
Isles 2, Rangers 0
Three Rangers (Marc Staal, Dylan McIlrath, Kevin Hayes) watched Prince carry the puck wide, and no one covered Casey Cizikas trailing. This was the first real bad breakdown this game. Hayes tilted his head back, he probably didn’t see Cizikas. Either way, that’s his man.
Isles 3, Rangers 0
Frans Nielsen was just left all alone by the Rangers on the penalty kill. All four Rangers were on John Tavares. Tavares got the puck across. Easy goal for Nielsen.
Rangers 1, Isles 3
The Rangers finally broke through with another strong offensive shift. This time Kevin Klein’s shot from the point hit off Steve Bernier in front and past Greiss. The Rangers had a lot of shifts like this all game. Greiss played well.
Isles 4, Rangers 1
Empty netter for John Tavares.
The Rangers played a strong game. The third period has a bunch of score effects, but that doesn’t take away from the way the Rangers controlled the play for the game. But controlling the play only gets you so far. They failed in executing their DZ and PK schemes, and it burned them in quick succession.
This is a defensive clinic for the most part. Nine scoring chances for the Isles is brilliant. But then again, two (one a bit flukey) wound up in the net. The second was a dagger. But this is still promising to see.
This is consistent with what we see above.
As is this. But those goals allowed by the Rangers are in bad locations.
Klein and Keith Yandle were the top pairing, as expected, and drew the Tavares line. Marc Staal and Dylan McIlrath were the second pairing, leaving Skjei and Boyle as the third pairing. Worth noting going forward, in case the Rangers are without both Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi long term.
Watching this game, the best case scenario for the Rangers was to play well and have better process. Wins and losses don’t matter at this point in the season. yes, the Atlantic route is easier, but you want to see them play well. They made a pair of mistakes in the second that cost them, but the overall puck possession process was better. They will need that in the playoffs. Hopefully it’s not a fluke.