Oct 15, 2011

Game Recap: Islanders - 4, Rangers - 2

The New York Islanders defeated the New York Rangers in the first of a 6 game series in one of hockey's biggest rivalries to a sellout crowd of 16,234.

(G, A)

1st Period:
NYI: 1, NYR: 0 - Matt Moulson (2), P.A. Parenteau (4), John Tavares (3)
2nd Period:
NYI: 1, NYR: 1 - Marian Gaborik (2), Brad Richards (2)
NYI: 2, NYR: 1 - John Tavares (3 - PP), Mark Streit (2), Brian Rolston (1)
NYI: 2, NYR: 2 - Brandon Prust (1), Ruslan Fedotenko (2)
3rd Period:
NYI: 3, NYR: 2 - John Tavares (4 - PP), Mark Streit (3), P.A. Parenteau (5)
NYI: 4, NYR: 2 - John Tavares (5 - EN), P.A. Parenteau (6), Matt Moulson (2)


Evgeni Nabokov - 29 saves on 31 shots, .935 SV PCT
Henrik Lundqvist - 30 saves on 33 shots, .909 SV PCT

Final Score: 4-2 Islanders
Attendance: 16,234


There is absolutely no way to describe John Tavares anymore. Not in human words. What we've seen out of him in these first four games is, as Al Trautwig aptly put it, "Gretzky-like". He was all over the ice once again, creating chances almost every shift he was out on the ice. If not for a two misses by P.A. Parenteau, a 6 point night could have been very likely. His vision on the ice and ability to both set up plays and, as he showed today, get them himself, is at this point among the league's best. His backhander on the rebound over Lundqvist's shoulder was a total display of his ability to know exactly where the puck will go the minute it hits his stick. Beware, opposing teams. More of this is coming.

After the surprise start, Evgeni Nabokov did everything to show that he's still capable of being a #1 goaltender in the NHL. The two goals he let up were not his fault: The first was after Reasoner let his man go and Nabokov was yet another goaltender to fall victim to the quick release of Marian Gaborik, and the second was on a fluke bank off of Frans Nielsen. Other than that, Nabokov looked very sharp. He was aggressive on the puck, extremely alert and a very calming presence in goal. 

Mark Streit is an absolute maestro on the power play. We knew this, but he shows it more and more every game. He had a beautiful pass to Tavares on the power play all the way through traffic that beat Lundqvist on his left side. Not many players in the NHL have that kind of vision. 

Matt Martin, after receiving a promotion to the 3rd line following the scratch of Blake Comeau, completely took advantage of his opportunity and played at a very high level. He continued to finish his checks and was hustling the entire game.

The PK duo of Marty Reasoner and Jay Pandolfo continues to shine. The Islanders took way more penalties than they should have today, but they were lucky enough not to have to pay for it due to the mastery of man down play by these two. Subtle, yet two of the biggest additions made in this offseason.

The continuous improvement of P.A. Parenteau, who is now among league leaders in assists and points, is something to behold. He had a beautiful backpass to Tavares on the first goal and was in general an offensive force with 3 assists.

Kyle Okposo continues to do... nothing. He has been nothing short of invisible in these first four games and that continued tonight. The first line can only contribute so much offense, and Okposo really needs to pick it up. Grabner and Nielsen have both picked it up, it's time for Okposo to do the same.

Josh Bailey continues to be invisible.


AT: Obviously, it's always nice to beat our most hated rival. The way we did it however was even better. We played a complete game against Tampa, and we carried that over tonight. The score essentially should have been much higher in favor of the Islanders, but the strong goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist as usual ensured that didn't happen. Still, pure dominance by the Islanders tonight. The breakout of John Tavares could be one of the biggest storylines in the NHL this season, and all we as fans have to do is watch and enjoy.

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