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Isles fall to the Rangers in first game; Plus game two pregame | December

It was a tough loss to swallow for the struggling Islanders last night at the coliseum. “It’s always tough to swallow when you lose,” Rick Dipietro told reporters. It might have been extra hard for him especially after dishing out how much he dislikes the Rangers during the morning skate. But it was entertaining game for the fans and media alike to watch.

            For a majority of the fist it was the New York Rangers dominating the play and pinning the Islanders in their own zone. Trevor Gillies tried to get his team into by going toe to toe with Derek Boogard in what was a very entertaining fight to watch. However Gillies efforts were not rewarded and it was the Rangers who jumped on the board first. Erik Christensen would get one by Dipietro at 8:11 to give the Rangers the 1-0 lead. Later at 17:07, Ryan Callahan would get the Rangers second goal of the period to give them the two goal advantage. Then as the period was winding down Zenon Konopka squeaked his first goal of the season past former New York Islander, Martin Biron, to send them to locker room only down by one.

            When the Isles retook the ice for the second it looked as though they had a lot more pep in their step and taking it to the Rangers early and often. “Some of the older guys in the room came in and said we’re not playing our best hockey,” Matt Martin told me when I asked what said in between periods. That talk seemed to pay off, at 9:18 Matt Moulson tied the game and three minutes later Rob Schremp fired a laser from the point to give the Islanders the lead. In between that momentum really swung the Isles way when Matt Martin and Michael Sauer got into a street brawl with Martin coming out on top. However a little over a minute after the Schremp goal, Brandon Prust tied it right back up with his second goal of the season, Marian Gaborik would give the Rangers back the lead at 16:24 on a power play goal.

            As the teams jumped back on the ice for the third the drama was only just beginning. Three minutes in Marian Gaborik would get his second goal of the game and Sean Avery would get his second point of the game with the assist. With the Isles down 2 it seemed as though the Islanders would not have it in them for a comeback, but boy was that wrong. At 12:29 Michael Grabner recorded his sixth goal of the season to bring the Islanders within one. Then with 5:52 remaining in the second The Isles rushed up into the Rangers zone and Blake Comeau pushed a rebound from Parenteau past Lundqvist. It seemed as though the Islanders had all the momentum and the building was rocking. That changed quickly; less than a minute later Marian Gaborik completed the hat trick and gave the Rangers the 6-5 lead. The Islanders would put the pressure on for the remainder of the game, but to no avail and fell hard the Rangers 6-5.


Defensive Break down

When you look at last nights game it’s easy to say where the Islanders themselves saw a huge flaw; there one on one game and turnovers. “It deffinatly wasn’t one of those defensive battles,” Dipietro told reporters after the game. Head coach, Jack Capuano, reiterated the same thing but in a little more detail during his post game press conference. “From our side we had some break downs,” Capuano said. To me it’s the giveaways. The four goals resulted in us turning the puck over.” The biggest one of course being the game winner by Gaborik, who was able to sit in front of the net alone and pop the rebound past Dipietro. “We could have played a little tighter and quicker on the D-Zone coverage,” Capuano said regarding the game winner. “Then we lost coverage in front of our net. You lose a one on one battle and the puck is in the back of your net.” A sentiment that Matt Martin reiterated when I spoke to him last night. “We have to win those one on one battles, that’s all it comes down to,” Martin said. “The puck goes to the net and we have to find a way to find it before they do.”

The Positives

Yes there are some positives. The Islanders did manage to out shoot the Rangers in 2 of the 3 periods, mounted a comeback, and scored more than 3 goals. The thing every said during the post game was heart and resilience. Capuano went out of his way to highlight the play of Joensuu, Reese and Hamonic against what Capuano called a “good sized and very good Ranger team.”

The Rematch

For tonight it has already been confirmed that Dwayne Roloson will get the start and expect to see Lundqvist in net for the Rangers. Expect the Islanders to come out swing right out of the gate come 7 pm. This is a team that’s hungry for a win, especially against the Rangers. “We’re going to be fired up that’s for sure,” Travis Hamonic about tonight’s game. “We’re going to come out with a strong effort tomorrow.”