If Tortorella wasn’t irate about the Rangers play before last night’s game on the island, then he certainly became so after it. I’ve seen more coordinated play — offensively and defensively — in pick-up street hockey games. We lost faceoffs 36-19. We lost virtually all the loose puck battles on the boards. We consistently got beat by the Islanders speed going past our defensemen. And we could not finish what offensive plays we did muster (hitting at least 5 posts: while some of that is luck, good finishers, like Gaborik…, hit the net). The Rangers were thoroughly dominated by an abysmal (record-wise, but certainly not effort-wise) Islanders team who in beating us earned their first regulation win of the season. Pathetic.
The scariest part is that the Rangers actually got a forecheck going for the first time in many games and seemed to have more jump in their skates (perhaps the flu bug is finally behind the team), and still got crushed. Well, the scariest part is that Gaborik was out with a “lower body” injury and likely will miss at least the next game in Minnesota, and you know he really really wants to play in that one. Granted it was only one game, but without him we looked very average. Similar to last year, we again came hot out the gate and then started to fade. Last year we squeaked our way in to the playoffs. But the East is stronger this year. If we continue to play like we have the last stretch of games, it is going to be a long (and short) season.
Random other game notes: P.A. Parenteau in his Rangers debut, subbing for the injured Gaborik, scored his first NHL goal on a nifty top shelf backhand…The Rangers took yet another too many men on the ice penalty…I like the way Kyle Okposo plays — tough, quick, and in straight lines…Tavares showed signs of why he was the top pick in the draft. He should be fun to watch in the years to come…Callahan played a strong game, solid on the forecheck and more involved in the offense.