Thursday, February 14, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Isles 4, Rangers 3 (SO)
By Katie Strang
What it means: Both Frans Nielsen and John Tavares scored on former teammate Martin Biron in the shootout to beat the Rangers 4-3 and snap a five-game losing streak. The Islanders erased a 2-0 deficit with a three-goal surge in the second period. It was the second straight shootout for the Rangers, who blew a three-goal lead in Boston on Tuesday before edging the Bruins 4-3.
All tied up: With the ice tilting for the visiting team, winger Carl Hagelin steadied the Rangers with the tying goal in the second period -- a scoring play that was upheld after a lengthy video review. Hagelin’s second-period power-play marker was his fourth goal in three games, fifth of the season.
Major momentum swing: Trailing 2-0 after the first period, the Islanders rallied back in the second with three goals on four shots. Colin McDonald sparked the Isles with a goal 29 seconds into the period and star center John Tavares tied the game at 2 at 6:45, extending his goal-scoring streak to four games. When Brad Boyes notched the team’s third of the period, the Garden crowd turned on former Islander Martin Biron, chanting for the return of starter Henrik Lundqvist.
MIA: Veteran center Brad Richards, usually a vital cog on the team’s first power-play unit, was absent during a critical man advantage in the third period. He didn’t play with the first or second unit during the unsuccessful attempt. The apparent benching continued throughout the third. Richards played one shift with Gaborik and Rick Nash early in the period, but did not see the ice after that for the rest of regulation. Tortorella, who identified the former Conn Smythe Trophy winner as one of the guys on the team that needed to play better before the game, had Richards out there to take the opening faceoff in overtime.
Not much help: Granted, the numbers for both Evgeni Nabokov and Rick DiPietro have been downright unsightly, but the former got little help in front Thursday night. The most glaring instance came on the Rangers’ second goal, which resulted from an absolutely brutal giveaway by Andrew MacDonald. Ryan Callahan stripped MacDonald and Marian Gaborik notched his seventh goal of the season after burying a rebound on the Rangers’ third shot of the sequence for a 2-0 lead at 11:28.
Been a while: Arron Asham’s first-period scrap with Islanders tough guy Erik Boulton was the Rangers' first fighting major in eight games. The Rangers led all teams in fighting majors last season with 65.
Boyle returns: Scratched for the previous three games, 28-year-old center Brian Boyle returned to the lineup for the Rangers Thursday. Winger Chris Kreider was a healthy scratch, as was defenseman Stu Bickel.