So tonight’s game carried with it a huge wager. We made a bet with the crew over at the New York Isles blog that the loser of tonight’s game had to write an article praising the winners. So here goes…
The Islanders jumped out to an early lead, on a horribly botched call, seen here. Say what you will, no matter who your team, it was NOT the right call. Never the less the Islander’s were able to capitalize on the situation, and put the first point on the board. That’s good for any team to be able to do. A few minutes later the Isles were against able to score a short-handed goal, well that takes some talent and a lot of luck but when it’s on your side you take it. The Isles, again, had the wherewithal to capitalize on an opportunity. Good for them.
I could get really in-depth over how the Rangers were able to score 3 unanswered goals, but that’s not why we are here.
Despite being out shot by the Rangers, 24-20, the Islanders found a way to get more pucks in the net. The Islanders were able to convert on one of their four power plays, one even strength goal, plus two short-handed goals, and then sealed the game with an empty net goal. The Islanders showed a stronger defense in that they blocked 20 shots, compared to 12 blocked by the Rangers. The Islanders also had fewer giveaways in the game with five compared to the 16 by the Rangers. The Islanders also won 30 face offs versus 23 face off wins from the Rangers. The Islanders also only slightly out hit the Rangers by a margin of 26-21. I must admit I was expecting to see more out of John Tavares than I did; Thomas Vanek showed what he was brought in to do for the team. Regardless of team, it’s always good to see a player return from injury and play well.
I’m looking forward to another meeting between these two teams, with MUCH better referees. The officiating tonight was absolutely horrible and more damaging to the NHL than fights are. For example; snowing the goalies and the charging call against Michael Del Zotto over a guy who was behind him. It was a complete abomination and I watch AHL games regularly. But even in winning the Islanders weren’t able to claim all three stars. The birthday boy, Derek Dorsett, was able to claim the third star of the game! The rematch will come on January 21st back at Madison Square Garden, just before the Olympic break. We shall see what happens then but I’m looking for a Dan Girardi over time game winning goal like this one.