Friday, December 3, 2010

Rangers Clamp Down Defensively in 2-0 Win

Everyone had to expect after last night’s shootout the focus tonight would be on being sound defensively for both clubs and it certainly was.  The period was tight and passive with nothing really worth talking about in terms of offense.  It took the Islanders over fifteen minutes to even register a shot in the game that’s how “tight” the first period was.  The biggest play of the period will be one that the league takes a look at tomorrow and it was 12:42 of the first when Ryan Callahan on a back-check got his elbow up and hit Frans Nielsen in the face with it.  I do not believe the play was intentional by Callahan because he is not that kind of player but it should have been a five minute major penalty and I believe it fits the description of Rule 48 so it might get a suspension.  I believe with Callahan’s record and reputation he probably escapes being sat down.  Video of the play is here.

The second period the Rangers would dominate the play as their defense was very aggressive in joining the offense tonight.  At 4:33 after two power plays that registered zero shots in the first the Rangers would score a power play goal.  The play was kept alive when Marc Staal used his leg/skate to keep the puck in and Dubinsky worked the puck to Staal, then to Stepan back to Staal who wound up for a slapper that went through four Islanders and over Rollie to make it 1-0 Rangers.  For the rest of the period the Rangers would dominate play and if not for three pipes they would have had a bigger lead at the end of the two.

In the third the Rangers would have some scary moments as the Islanders had a few chances and even a bar, but they could not beat Lundqvist on the night.  In the last minute with the goalie pulled the Rangers got excellent work from Prust, Callahan, Boyle and Dubinsky would end up with Brian Boyle taking a check from two Islanders, a great play by Dubinsky on the boards and a Boyle empty netter with 2.9 seconds left to make it a 2-0 final

The Rangers will certainly take the four points out of these two games, but at the same time tough to get too high off two nail biters with the woeful Islanders.  The game was much more in the Rangers style tonight and defensively they had good positioning and solid hitting only surrendering 17 shots the whole game.  As I said before game 1, take the points and move on and the Rangers did that in these two and will get back at it Sunday against the Senators.
  • Sean Avery’s focus of a night ago was not evident tonight as he took two bad penalties, got a 10 minute misconduct and then dove but got the call late in the third.
  • Gaborik was pretty invisible after the first period
  • Anisimov had a very good bounce back game tonight earning a lot more minutes in the game
  • Dubinsky was very noticeable tonight getting two assists but making a lot of plays tonight
  • Staal and Girardi were excellent tonight
  • Eminger had a great move in the third just to stun the fans
  • MDZ had a very good defensive game tonight