Islanders-Rangers: New York Rivalry Renewed (Game One Recap)
It was another entertaining chapter of the Islanders-Rangers rivalry as the Rangers prevailed over the Islanders 4-2, with the help of Chris Drury's two goals.
An up-tempo game throughout progressed in intensity, as we saw the first fight between Nate Thompson and Aaron Voros when they duked it out in the second.
It only took 53 seconds for the Rangers to score. After two great saves by Islander backup-goalie Joey MacDonald, the puck was chipped behind the net by Bill Guerin. But it bounced off of Drury's stick and MacDonald's skate to trickle in, giving the Rangers the lead. It was Drury's first goal of the year, and ended a slump he had fallen into.
The Islanders responded though, getting several chances throughout the period as the game went back and forth. With about ten seconds left in the period, a faceoff to Ranger goalie Henrik Lundqvist's right wound up going to the boards behind the net. Richard Park was able to center it to Kyle Okposo, who beat Lundqvist glove-side to tie it almost nineteen minutes after Drury scored.
It was redemption for Okposo, who missed a chance all alone in front of Lundqvist after a blind pass through the middle of the Rangers zone by Nikolai Zherdev. It was also Okposo's first goal of the year, as he had started in a slump as well.
In the second, the play went back and forth, but at 16:16 of the period Paul Mara ripped a shot at MacDonald. The goalie made the save, but left a rebound that Ryan Callahan was able to pick up and get past the line, giving the Rangers the lead after two.
In the third, Michal Rosvial's slap shot hit MacDonald in the helmet and appeared to daze him momentarily. After he was tended to by the Islanders' trainers, the Rangers were able to work the puck to Scott Gomez, who beat MacDonald short-side from a deep angle to MacDonald's right, increasing the lead to 3-1.
With about eight minutes left to go, the Islanders committed two high-sticking penalties—one being a double minor—which led to a two-man advantage for two minutes for the Rangers. The Rangers would capitalize, as they worked the puck to Drury, whose slap shot was tipped by Nate Thompson's stick and went by MacDonald, sealing the game.
The Islanders would score late with a shorthanded goal from Mark Streit, but it wouldn't be enough, as the final was be 4-2, Rangers.
My three stars:
3a. Mark Streit - Worked hard throughout the game, earning 26:58 of ice time—a game high on both sides. Scored a goal late following up, which may be a sign that Streit is more than an offensive defenseman.
3b. Kyle Okposo - Scored the first Islanders goal late in the first, and was constantly skating. Possibly a sign of good things from the rookie.
2. Chris Drury - Scored two goals. The first one was slightly fluky, but the second was a great shot that might've beaten MacDonald even if it wasn't deflected. Maybe a start to a hot streak.
1. Henrik Lundqvist - Frustrated the Isles with his play, making 28 saves and putting himself amongst the upper echelon of goalies in the NHL.
Good game by both teams, except the Isles couldn't muster up anything in the third before it was too late. But if they played like they did for the first 40 minutes, they just might be fine. The Rangers were able to hold tabs and take advantage of the chances given to them, a mark of a good team.
See you all November 4—because it's not like you have to do something important that day.
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