Okay, so it’s only 2 of the 6. Still, it’s a back-to-back, home-to-home sweep of the Failanders.
Yeah, I said it. Failanders. Islanders + Fail = Failanders. This team would find a way to lose if they bribed the opposing team to take a dive.
I’m not trying to make the Rangers’ wins sound like they don’t have any quality within them, but regardless of records, these teams come to play with 110% against each other. Even Rick “Glass” DiPietro said before the sweep games that he genuinely dislikes the Blueshirts. I mean that makes sense, just like us he’s been watching a lot of hockey from home the past couple years, so now he has a fan’s point of view. I’m alright with that. Trust me, we don’t like you either. This was the same guy that was upset he wasn’t selected to be on Team USA this past Winter Olympics. You kinda need to play well to represent your country, or in his case, play at all. Okay, enough ripping on the Carlos Beltran of hockey.
Neither, of the Ranger/Isles games were blow outs and yet still, these were two were VASTLY different games.
This game had the momentum swing from side to side like a middle aged couple. After a solid start in the first period, the Rangers came out in the second and starting dropping the ball puck (shocker!) from the get go. They went from having a 2-0 lead in the first to losing 2-3 by the 2nd period. Then, what I think was the gamechanger, happened. Torts pulled Martin Biron to shake things up, and that’s exactly what it did. The Broadway Blue then proceeded to take the next 7 shots to get Henrik Lundqvist situated and surrendered one shot to Lundy in the second. The Rangers scored three consecutive goals from the 2nd into the 3rd with Hank in net to take a 5-3 lead. Like their October meeting this was turning out to be a gunfight. The Isles scored 2 quick goals to even up the score, but Marian and the gang answered almost immediately. They held that score to the end of the game for a 6-5 victory.
Don’t take anything away from Marty though, because for his 33 minutes played, he had 21 shots on him. His pull wasn’t performance related, it was solely for a team shake-up and that’s exactly what it did. King Henrik had to only face 11 shots to get the win.The goals scored against them weren’t gems either. Like October they were filled with lucky bounces and bad luck. Attempting not to take away too much from the Failanders, they did however play hard and scored when they could. It should also be noted that in Boogaard’s return he was challenged by Trevor Gilles and boy, was that a poor decision by Gilles. The Boogeyman beat the Orange out of him until he realized he has no idea how to skate and fell down.
Marian Gaborik came out to shine for this game, though. Giving Tortorella a thumbs up for actually making some smart decisions in the past couple days. I already mentioned his Biron pull, but of course, the other obvious one is his move of Sean Avery to the first line. That clearly proved to be a fantastic decision (no sarcasm this time!). Avery ended up with 3 assists and played hard and smart, like he has been all year. Gabby, like I said before, was amazing obtaining his 2nd hat trick of the year and 2nd 4-point game of the season. He crashed the net which is how he scored 2 of his 3, he made brilliant decisions, and was just outstanding all game.
Marian took that play into Game 2:
Gabby didn’t score, but he had 2 very close shots and 3 hits (his most all year). He also doubled his blocked shots total in one game, to four! Leaving all lame stats behind, Dwayne Roloson played on his head all game. I’ve never seen him play so good, actually. The fact that the Rangers got a goal on him is impressive in itself. I’m not saying the Rangers weren’t on their game, because clearly with the shutout, they matched the Isles’ defense with their own better D. The blue liners were stupendous at getting the puck out of Henrik’s face and out of the zone. The defense clicked and played like they should’ve been all season. But, I do want to say it one more time, Roloson was nuts in this game. It’s a shame this Hasek-like 41 year old has a terrible team in front of him.
This was a game of hard hits and big penalties. Ryan Callahan was hit big by Andy MacDonald, but you would’ve thought nothing came from it because Callahan landed on his feet and skated off, MacDonald however lost his balance and fell to the ice like a Failander would. Callahan later would get into a scuffle, after elbowing Franz Nielsen, with Jesse Joensuu. Twenty-six penalty minutes resulted from this, including elbowing, misconduct, instigating, roping, and whatever else they could find. Later on, Avery would also get a 10 minute misconduct penalty, but did return to the game in the 3rd period.
The Blueshirts found their first goal from a hard working power play and an amazing slap shot from Marc Staal. It was an undeflected light beam to the top shelf that Rolie couldn’t see. Speaking of Staal, sophmore John Tavares thought it’d be a good idea to charge his zone, to which Staal showed Mr. Tavares the quickest way out of the play. I love watching players stand up to Staal to just watch him sit them down. Case in point:
Anyways, Lundy played fantastic for the few 17 shots he faced. That’s right, the Rangers only let up 17 shots. And I was shocked to realize that it was in fact the Rangers I was watching and not the Red Wings. Henrik earned his, surprisingly, 4th shutout of the season and moved the Rangers closer to playoff contention. Well at the very least, much further ahead of the Failanders.