Islanders Beat Rangers
One of the most vicious rivalries in hockey was renewed for the first time in this young season tonight. In a battle between Strong Island and Manhattan it was the Islanders who emerged with the victory.
There's rarely a dull game when these two long-time rivals meet, and tonight was no different. It was a fiercely competed, intense game on the island that featured some great goal scoring and goal tending. The Islanders opened the scoring with a Matt Moulson goal midway through the first period. It was another slow start for the Rangers who have yet to look awake in the first period of a game in what seems like the entire John Tortorella tenure as coach.
As is their style, however, the Rangers would rally to tie a pair of one goal deficits, one with a goal by Gaborik from Richards - a brilliant sight for any Rangers fan. Despite opening the game with a general sense of malaise and despite taking far too many penalties (8), the Rangers would find themselves level after two periods. Early in the third, however, the Islanders would re-take the lead when rising star John Tavares tipped home a power play goal, his second goal of the game, to make it 3-2 Islanders. Tavares would add an empty netter, secure himself a hat trick and secure the Islanders a 4-2 win.
The win moves the Islanders to 3-1 on the season and continues the upward trend that some have predicted for the young team. The loss sinks the Rangers to 0-1-2 on the season, a disappointing start for a team that had high expectations coming into the season. The Rangers have simply not played great hockey thus far, however. There's a lot to blame, but many of the demons the team faced last year have surfaced yet again this year. They have yet to begin a game playing inspired hockey and have not been able to keep themselves out of the penalty box. Furthermore, the Rangers power play, which is about 0 for the millenium (that may not be an exact stat), has continued to look poor, going 0-4 tonight. Henrik Lundqvist did look good for the team, however, making a few brilliant saves. Also, the will be primary goal scoring line for the Rangers of Richards, Gaborik and Stepan looked terrific all night, an encouraging sign in an otherwise bleak loss.
The Islanders will travel to Tampa Bay for their next game while the Rangers will begin a road trip through Western Canada in search of their first win.