Rick Nash’s effort wasted in late loss to the Islanders
After a loss to Toronto, the Rangers were again defeated at home by their rivals, the Islanders, by a score of 6-3, mainly due to a short span in the third period where the Rangers’ defense just fell apart.
Rick Nash stayed hot, scoring another 2 goals to bring his total to 6 in just four games. However, there was just a handful of players that had good efforts tonight.
The Rangers came out on fire, and the game started out extremely fast and physical. The Rangers drew a penalty less than a minute into the game after Kevin Klein was hit knee to knee.
They didn’t score on the three power plays they had, but it looked extremely good tonight. Bolstered by Ryan Malone, making his Blueshirts debut tonight, in front of the net, the Rangers nearly scored on multiple occasions if it wasn’t for the phenomenal goaltending of Jaroslav Halak.
The Rangers opened the goal scoring first, and who else could it be. After a battle against the boards, Rick Nash ended up with the puck. Nash used his speed to drive down the wing, and blew past Islanders’ defenseman Thomas Hickey and backhanded it right through the legs of Halak from a near impossible angle. The goal was unassisted. When a player is hot, pucks tend to go in.
The Rangers and the Islanders continued to go back and forth in what was a physical game, with most of the chances going the Rangers way.
After a Ryan McDonagh interference play, the Islanders went on the powerplay. And the newly acquired defenseman Johnny Boychuck delivered with the Islanders’ fiftth powerplay goal of the season on a blistering slapshot that beat a screened Henrik Lundqvist.
The first period ended with the score tied at one, and the both teams playing physically and pretty evenly.
Henrik Lundqvist made a few great saves this period, most notably the right pad save he made on a breaking Cizikas, who managed to beat McDonagh on the inside with a great move and nearly scored. Halak was also very strong after letting up the Rick Nash goal.
The second period is where the Rangers exploded, but only managed to score one goal. The Blueshirts managed to put up an astronomical 21 shots in the second period alone, to the Islanders 8 shots.
After the Islanders were whistled for an icing following a controversial no icing call on the Rangers, the face off went into the Islander’s zone. Brassard won the face off, and got the puck to Stempniak, who passed it to Chris Kreider behind the net. Kreider made a great no look, backhanded pass to Brassard in front, who put in the back of the net for his second goal of the season, and his second straight game with a goal to put the Rangers up by one.
Kreider picked up his third assist of the year, and Stempniak picked up his second. Both have 4 points in four games.
The Rangers continued to put on a ton of pressure with shots and bodies in front of the net. Ryan Malone was very noticeable in his debut, making some nice deflections and shots from very close to the net, but they were all stopped by Halak.
After dominating most of the period, the Rangers made a costly error in their own zone. Michael Kostka, playing his first game as a Ranger, got the puck behind the boards after a Lundqvist save. He attempted to make a pass, but it was both really weak and tipped by Nikolai Kulemin on the Islanders. Kulemin passed it to a wide open Tavares in front, who wristed it into the back of the net for his second goal of the season with less than five minutes remaining in the period.
This tied the game at two in a period where the Rangers outshot the Islanders by 13, and only scored once on 21 shots.
At the start of the third, the Rangers lost their lead on another costly mistake by Kostka. After Marc Staal lost control of the puck behind the net, Kostka got the puck and attempted to pass the puck through the middle. Kyle Okposo snatched it up and promptly sent it into the back of the net, giving the Islanders a 3-2 lead just 48 seconds into the third.
From that point on, it was all downhill for the Blueshirts.
John Moore lost a battle along the boards in the Rangers zone to Ryan Strome of the Isles, and that turnover resulted in Mikhail Grabovski passing the puck to a wide open Brock Nelson in front of the net, and he slipped it through the legs of Lundqvist for a goal.
Just 30 seconds later, the Islanders went on a 2 on 1, and Mikhail Grabovski attempted a pass that managed to deflect off of Kevin Klein’s stick, and take a strange bounce past Lundqvist into the net.
Nick Leddy would tack on another goal for the Islanders with a slapshot from the blue line that beat Lundqvist, giving them a 6-2 lead on 5 straight goals.
The Rangers would manage to score a late goal to cut the lead to three. Martin St. Louis carried the puck into the zone and dished it off to Duclair along the boards. Duclair then made a great cross ice pass to Rick Nash, who went and scored his second goal of the game, and his sixth of the season.
The Rangers would finish the game with 43 total shots on goals.
Overall, this was a very disappointing loss for the Rangers. After dominating the second period with tons of shots and chances, the Rangers ran into a hot goaltender and lost the game on bad defensive mistakes in their own end.
Jaroslav Halak was phenomenal, and made tons of key saves that helped the Islanders secure their third straight victory.
Henrik Lundqvist should not have to shoulder much of the blame in tonight’s loss. Unlike Sunday night against the Maple Leafs, where some of the goals were ones Henrik could have stopped, Lundqvist only takes fault for two of the goals tonights.
Three of the Islanders goals were scored on horrible defensive plays and turnovers in their own end, and the other goal was off an attempted pass that tipped off of Kevin Klein’s stick.
The Rangers’ defense was bad tonight, and they really left Lundqvist out to dry. Kostka had a nightmarish debut, and apart from McDonagh and Girardi again, the rest of the defense was questionable. The defense really needs to step up and get much better in order to help the goaltender out and keep this team in games.
There were some positives to take out of tonight’s loss.
Rick Nash was amazing again tonight. Nash scored his first goal unassisted by flying past a defender and backhanding it through the five hole of Halak. Later on he managed to score another goal with a quick wrister off of a great feed from Anthony Duclair. Nash has 6 goals and 7 points in the Rangers’ first four games of the season.
Martin St. Louis and Anthony Duclair both continue to play very well in the first few games of the year. St. Louis has 4 assists in 4 games and Duclair has 3 assists. Both of the skaters are always noticeable on the ice by using their speed to create plays, carry the puck into the zone, and get quality shots on net. Both St. Louis and Duclair have come very close to scoring, and it is just a matter of time until they both net one.
The line of Kreider, Brassard, and Stempniak was great tonight. After the line of Brassard, Zuccarello, and Hagelin struggled in the first two games, this line has played the together the last two games and have three goals, Brassard with two and Stempniak with one. With the success that this line has had, AV should consider keeping these guys together for the long run.
Ryan Malone had himself a good game. Malone was throwing the body at guys, and used his big 6”4’, 219 pound frame to his advantage, bullying Halak in front of the net, and nearly scoring as a result. Malone also looked good on the power play, supplying the big frame and net front presence the Ranges seem to have been missing. Malone should definitely get more time on the ice, and at least stay on the fourth line for now.
Lastly, Kevin Hayes had himself a fantastic game. After being pretty quiet in his NHl debut on Sunday, Kevin Hayes was much better tonight. Hayes was very smart with the puck, and was able to carry the puck through the neutral zone with ease. He also had a few great shots on goal, including one move he made on breakaway, only to be stopped by a late recovery by the defenseman. On any other night, Hayes would have scored, and he looked fantastic tonight. Hayes deserves to keep centering the third line for now.
The Rangers will look to end their three game skid on Thursday as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden, who are off to an 0-3-0 start, after dropping two games to the Islanders and one tonight against the Sabres. The Hurricanes are dealing with key injuries to both Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner, both day to day, as well as Jordan Staal, who is out for 3 to 4 months with a broken fibula.
Puck drop is at 7 PM, and any news involving players, lineups, or anything else will be posted right here, at The Ranger Zone.
Posted on October 15, 2014, in Game Recaps and tagged Anthony Duclair, Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider, Dan Girardi, Derick Brassard, Henrik Lundqvist, Home Opener, Kevin Hayes, King Henrik, Madison Square Garden, Marc Staal, Martin St. Louis, Mats Zuccarello, Michael Kostka, MSG, New York Rangers, NHL, NHL 2014-2015 Season, NY Rangers, NYR, NYR Season Opener, Rangers Season Opener, Rangersnation, Rangerstown, Rick Nash, Ryan Malone, Ryan McDonagh, St. Louis Blues, The Duke, The Ranger Zone. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.