The dagger to the Islanders' hearts. (Photo: Bridget Samuels/flickr)
You can’t call this team a “closer,” that’s for sure.
The Islanders finally got some offense, but failed to keep a lead (gee, that sounds familiar), losing in overtime to the Rangers 4-3 in a spirited bout at Madison Square Garden. Marian Gaborik beat Evgeni Nabokov high stick side to seal the second point, leaving the Islanders reeling from their third straight loss. Brad Richards also scored twice, and Brian Boyle once, to eliminate 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 Isles leads.
Meanwhile, the Isles’ top line finally got going again. John Tavares opened the scoring, and Matt Moulson had a wonky PP goal which turned out to be the only good break for the Isles on the man-advantage. Overall, the special teams in this one were atrocious- the PK allowed three goals (two by Richards, the last the game-winner) and the PP had to defend more shots than they forced. Though Tavares, Moulson and then Andrew MacDonald should have provided enough offense to seal the deal, and Nabokov made 32 often acrobatic saves, it wasn’t enough. The Islanders are still getting outshot, outworked and outmaneuvered, even when it looks like things are going well.
There has to be some sort of wake-up call. One would think the debacle against New Jersey last night would have been enough, but the response in this game was only minimal in the grand scheme of things. Once again, a penalty was all it took for the Isles to unravel, this one on (who else?) Travis Hamonic, who tripped up Richards with the leg. Though the PK fought bravely for the first minute or so, Gaborik proved to be too much for them, as usual (18 G, 31 points in 26 games played vs. NYI).
Yes, well. I think the Islanders are running out of drawing boards to go back to. On to Washington at home on Tuesday night.
Until next time.
Notes: Micheal Haley and Stu Bickel dropped the gloves in the first period, with Haley landing some monstrous punches. No easy feat, considering he’s a full six inches shorter (at 5’10) than 6’4 Bickel… Tavares and Moulson are each at the cusp of 30-goal seasons, Tavares with his 28th of the year and Moulson with his 29th. It’ll be Moulson’s third consecutive 30-goal season should he score another one in the 13 games remaining.