Saturday, October 15, 2011

Video: Torotella Postgame "We're Not Disciplined Enough"

Coach John Tortorella met with the media following tonight's 4-2 loss to the Islanders and while he took some of the blame for the loss on himself he was not having any of the blame game on the officials or the schedule.  While some of the calls were lousy against the Rangers tonight, Tortorella is right that it is a discipline problem from his own team that has had them behind all season.

Tavares Hat-Trick Keeps Rangers Winless In Early Season

The New York Rangers took on the rival New York Islanders looking for their opening win of the season, but failed to find it following a 4-2 loss tonight.  The combination of Rangers penalties, both real and imagined, and John Tavares scoring a hat-trick plus an assist were the difference on the evening.  Tavares continued to have a hot stick following a four point (2G, 2A) outing against the Lightning on Thursday night. 
The first period saw the Rangers have another slow start in being unable to generate offense and continuing their early season parade to the penalty box.  The penalty kill was excellent, and even had a few chances offensively, but you cannot live a man down.  The Islanders struck first on a goal from Matt Moulson when following a Tavares led rush and Parenteau tip pass saw him wide open for a quick wrist shot that beat Lundqvist short side.
The Rangers tied the game 6:23 into the second period when all three members of their top line combined to get Marian Gaborik a goal.  Derek Stepan made an excellent defensive play at his own blue line, Brad Richards picked up the puck and fired a beautiful headman pass to Marian Gaborik and Gaborik did not miss on the breakaway.
The Rangers finally got burned for their penalties 11:47 into the second when John Tavares got his first of the evening.  Moments earlier Tavares was robbed by Henrik Lundqvist on a point blank chance, but the Rangers could not survive bad calls against both Ryan Callahan and Brian Boyle as Tavares scored on a backhand chance.
Brandon Prust got the Rangers back to even late in the second when he put a wraparound off the skate of Frans Nielsen in behind Evgeni Nabokov, but the third period belonged to Tavares.
After Dan Girardi was called for an interference penalty early in the third Mark Streit showed just how much he was missed by the Islanders last season.  Streit with extreme patience at the point fired a perfect shot pass off the stick of Tavares to beat Lundqvist and give the Islanders the eventual game winner.  Tavares capped the hat-trick with an empty net goal with 1:03 remaining.
  • The Rangers had some positives to take away from this game in that Henrik Lundqvist was excellent again, Marian Gaborik is back to skating hard this season and Derek Stepan acquitted himself nicely on the top line.
  • The penalties must end or the Rangers are going to continue to have trouble establishing anything.  The penalty issue goes well beyond having to stop the other team’s best offensive weapons at a disadvantage as it prevents the Rangers from establishing their game and limits the ice time that Gaborik and Richards get since they don’t kill.

Rangers Send Zuccarello Down To Connecticut Whale, Recall Kris Newbury

After being a non factor for the New York Rangers opening three games this season, only playing 7:55 tonight, Mats Zuccarello has been sent down to the Connecticut Whale according to Andrew Gross.  The early performance is disappointing for Zuccarello as he had an excellent camp/preseason to secure the spot to start the year.

Kris Newbury who has eight points (4G, 4A) already this season will be the one getting the call.  Newbury is the right move as he is hot and he can play a limited role on the fourth line while Zuccarello gets to play big minutes in Connecticut instead of being a bench/fourth liner.

Wolski (Groin) Out Vs Islanders

According to Andrew Gross Wojtek Wolski will not be in tonight's lineup for the New York Rangers.  Wolski not playing is not a big surprise as he was the extra skater in practice yesterday as he tries to get over a sore groin that has plagued him since the middle of training camp.  With Wolski out the fourth line will be Rupp-Christensen-Zuccarello.

In Need of Opening Win Rangers Cannot Sleep On Improving Islanders

When the New York Rangers take on the New York Islanders this evening it will be a battle of two rivals with very different goals.  For the Rangers they are looking to get their first win of the season and secure a big two points before they head out on a Western Canada trip starting Monday.  Coming off an 0-0-2 start in Sweden against very good Anaheim and Los Angeles teams the Rangers are looking for momentum can chemistry with tonight’s game.  In order to get both of those the Rangers have gone back to both of last season’s best lines with Dubinsky moving back down to play with Anisimov and Callahan while Fedoteno gets taken off that line to be reunited with Boyle and Prust. 

Taking Dubinsky's place on the top line is Derek Stepan who will look to more impactful tonight than he has been in either of the first two games.  Stepan has the skill set to play and succeed with Richards and Gaborik, and the Rangers need him to do so to give the team some measure of consistency in lines and production.  Stepan has severely disappointed in the opening two games as he has played to an Erik Christensen like level of invisibility.  Time for him to step his level back up.

Defensively the Rangers are dealing with another loss as Michael Sauer joins Marc Staal as top four defenders not in the lineup.  This is another huge blow to the defense corps especially against a young, explosive offense like the Islanders.  Against Anaheim and to some extent Los Angeles you can focus mainly on one line and hope to survive against the rest, but the Islanders have more threats throughout their lineup with players like Grabner and his 34 goals not playing with Tavares and Moulson.   Girardi and McDonagh will look to shut down the Islanders top line and eat up half the minutes in the game once again, but it will likely be the play of the bottom four that determine the outcome.  Tim Erixon, Michael Del Zotto, Steve Eminger and newcomer Jeff Woywitka are going to have to figure out a way to stay afloat for half the game and limit the number of mistakes that Henrik Lundqvist has to erase.

For the Islanders they are looking to make a statement that this season can be different than the misery of the last number of years.  The Islanders are a young team at many of the key positions and have yet to prove much at the NHL level and while this game alone will not do that, having a 3-1 opening to the season would continue the hope that this year is different.  Having Tavares, Grabner, Moulson, Streit, Okposo and Hamonic gives them a reason to be optimistic about where this team is heading and they are all playing well to open the year coming off a 5-1 beating against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.

The Rangers were lucky to get out with the 2 points they got in Europe as they played maybe three good periods in the two games.  Those kind of half game efforts did not get them wins in Sweden and they will not get them a win tonight against an improving Islanders team.  The Rangers should be fired up to play this game and if they play their system by imposing their will they should get their first win.