Rapid Reaction: Rangers 6, Islanders 3
March, 15, 2011
By Matt Ehalt | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
NEW YORK -- Here is a quick take on the Rangers' 6-3 win against the rival Islanders at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.
WHAT IT MEANS: On a night in which four other playoff contenders were battling, the Rangers picked up two important points against the Islanders. The Rangers are now 4-1 against their New York rivals this season. The Islanders put themselves in a deeper hole with just 11 games left in the season as they try and steal one of the last playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders entered the night 11 points out of a playoff spot.
CERTAINLY SPECIAL: The Rangers aren't known for their power play, but the Blueshirts had a night to remember. The Rangers scored on their first three attempts, with goals coming from Erik Christensen in the first period, and scores by Marian Gaborik and Bryan McCabe in the second. Gaborik's goal increased the Rangers' lead to 4-2, while McCabe's score, his first as a Ranger after being brought over in part because of his play on the power play, boosted the edge to 5-2.
The Rangers also added a short-handed goal to open the game when Brandon Prust scored on a rebounded shot in the first. The Rangers have now scored 11 shorthanded goals on the season, second best in the league behind the Flyers.
QUITE CHIPPY: There's no love lost between these two teams. There were plenty of penalties and several occasions where the teams seemed like they were going to come to blows before Michael Sauer and Matt Martin eventually exchanged punches. They combined for 18 penalties, including six in the first period. Ultimately, the penalties came back to hurt the Islanders, as the Rangers scored on three of their power plays compared to one for the Islanders. The Islanders were whistled for 10 penalties.
POOR AL: Islanders goalie Al Montoya started Tuesday against the team that originally drafted him, but didn't fare too well, yielding five goals. Montoya had been drafted sixth overall by the Rangers in 2004, but the emergence of Henrik Lundqvist made him expendable and the Rangers eventually traded him to Phoenix. Montoya was pulled after the second period, but did make 31 saves.
SHOWING FIGHT: The Islanders showed some resiliency in this game by battling back to tie it early in the second period. The Rangers led 2-0 after the first, but goals by Matt Moulson and P.A. Paranteau tied the game at 2-2 just three minutes, 50 seconds into the second period.
UP NEXT: The Rangers will look to win their third straight when they play host to Montreal on Friday night. The Canadiens entered Tuesday night in sixth in the Eastern Conference and seven points ahead of the Rangers. The Islanders will head to Carolina for the third game in a four-game road swing.