Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, Islanders 2
By Katie Strang
What it means: Blanked for the third time this season Tuesday night, the Rangers finally found some offense in their first match of the season against the division rival New York Islanders. The Blueshirts rallied from a 2-1 deficit to top the Isles 3-2 at Nassau Coliseum thanks to Benoit Pouliot's game-winner in the third period. The outburst doubled the team’s goals per game average and provided them with a critical two points. The Rangers improved to 4-7-0 while the Islanders fell below .500 at 4-5-3 in what was supposed to be Thomas Vanek's grand debut as an Islander.
Kreider breaks through: Kreider’s boisterous goal celebration was a stark contrast from the scene one night prior, when he could only shake his head at the open net he saw before being robbed by Habs netminder Peter Budaj in the team’s 2-0 shutout loss to Montreal. Kreider corralled a rebound, spun and swept the puck past Evgeni Nabokov for a 1-0 Rangers lead and his first goal of the season.
Some good looks: The best chances the Rangers had Tuesday night were generated from Kreider’s line. Along with linemates Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello, the trio used their speed to pressure the Islanders’ defense and generate some quality looks against Nabokov.
Charged up: Stopped in five power-play opportunities Monday night, the Rangers’ specialty teams unit showed signs of life Tuesday. The Blueshirts tallied twice with the man advantage; Ryan McDonagh’s third-period blast tied the game at 2 at 4:59.
Another injury: Just as the Rangers get Carl Hagelin back from a shoulder injury, they lost another forward in Tuesday’s match. Veteran center Dominic Moore, also a key cog for the team’s penalty-killing unit, left the game with an upper-body injury and did not return. Moore played 4:23 in the first period. The Rangers are already hobbled with injuries to captain Ryan Callahan (thumb) and Rick Nash (concussion). Neither player is expected to return soon.
New kids on the block: Though it was supposed to be Vanek’s night as the two-time, 40-goal scorer made his Islanders debut, it was another pair of newcomers who notched the first pair of goals against the Rangers. Cal Clutterbuck scored his first as an Islander, beating Cam Talbot top shelf off a right-wing rush in the second period. Fellow offseason acquisition Peter Regin was credited with the team’s second-period goal with less than a minute in the frame, though it actually bounced off Talbot’s glove and then Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi.