Rangers Fall To Isles in Monday Matinee
Why in the world is the NHL scheduling a Monday matinee game between the Islanders and the Rangers? I realize it’s Columbus Day but does anyone besides government employees get that day off? I know I don’t which is why I can only report on the game with my impressions of the box score today.
The Islanders overcame a late, 1-goal deficit Monday to down the Rangers 6 – 4 at Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders were the beneficiaries of a late 2-man advantage and former Ranger P.A. Parenteau knotted the contest at 4 apiece on a PP goal with just 4:24 remaining. Blake Comeau scored another PP goal, his second goal of the game, during the second portion of the same PP.
Frans Nielsen added an empty-netter with 19 seconds to go to round out the scoring. Josh Bailey and Matt Moulson also scored for the Islanders. The Isles had 5 skaters record multiple point games.
For the Rangers, Brandon Dubinsky had a goal and an assist as did Michael Del Zotto and Artem Anisimov. Dan Girardi had put the Rangers ahead late in the 2nd with his 1st of the season. Dubinsky meanwhile is off to a fine start with 3 goals in two games.
Del Zotto also contributed to the first 2 Isles goals with turnovers. At this point in his career, MDZ needs to work on the defensive side of the ice. He has amazing offensive skills but will never be anything more than a PP specialist if he doesn’t clean up his defensive zone work.
Again, without watching the contest, I am only guessing but I would point to the back-to-back penalties late in the 3rd by Ryan Callahan and Marc Staal as a turning point. The Rangers were nursing a 1 goal advantage and were less than 5 minutes away from finishing with the win when the penalties were committed. The Rangers need to be more disciplined than that.
Of course they say your best penalty killer is your goalie so some of the blame may rest on Hank’s shoulders. He didn’t look all that great in the Buffalo game either so I wonder if he just isn’t in full form yet.
Regardless of some of the on-ice details, the Islanders overcame the absence of 3 of their best players. John Tavares (concussion), Kyle Okposo and Mark Streit (shoulders) missed the game and yet the club gutted it out and captured 2 points from a divisional rival.
Blake Comeau had a strong game with 3 points and looks poised to be the Islanders 2010 – 2011 version of Matt Moulson. The 24 year-old now has 3 goals and 4 points on the season a year after potting 17 goals for the Islanders.
I would like to close this out by reiterating my disappointment in the scheduled time of this game. I love matinee games; don’t get me wrong. But Columbus Day is not a holiday many of us working stiffs get. This was the second game of the young season for both squads and I know a lot of people weren’t able to enjoy it due to its start time.
Bonus Stuff: Something else I missed by virtue of not being able to watch the game despite having NHL Center Ice was the James Wisniewski obscene gesture. I watched the replay and here’s another example of the NHL handling Sean Avery differently than anyone else in the league. I’m sure you’ve all seen the replay so I won’t describe it here.
The bottom line is two linesmen and a referee stood there and didn’t say or do anything about it. I would have thought the act was worthy of a misconduct penalty even if it didn’t result in a Rangers power play. Avery looked at the ref as if to ask why they weren’t doing anything.
So what options did Avery have? He could have responded with something as classless as Wisniewski. But my guess is that would have resulted in negative consequences for Avery; more than what would have been bestowed upon Wisniewski.
Avery could have retaliated physically but that would have hurt the Rangers by putting them down a man. Avery is under a tight leash from Torts to not put the team in a bad position because of his actions.
Essentially Avery couldn’t do anything without hurting the team. And that’s my point. It appears to me at least that Avery is held to higher standards than any other NHL player. Remember the pre-season episode with the Devils and Kovalchuk? Supposedly the officials penalized Avery and told him he wasn’t supposed to harass star players like Kovy.
Avery begins to act up and the refs and linesmen are all over it. I’ve seen Avery practically tackled in games and nothing is called. Many believe superstars like Crosby and Ovechkin get preferential treatment from the officials. If that’s the case then Avery is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Avery may end up being the first guy penalized before leaving the dressing room ahead of the puck dropping.
I’m sure I sound like a homer in my defense of Avery but I ask you, fans of other teams, to watch a Rangers game while closeting your dislike of Avery. I am sure you will see Avery is held to a different standard than other players. I only ask that he is treated more fairly; not necessarily even as good as the other players. I am beginning to wonder if Bettman is behind this.