Rangers Drop Isles in Last Regular Season Meeting on Long Island
The Blueshirts penalty kill unit went 4 for 4 again and rank ninth in the NHL.
The NY Rangers faced off against the NY Islanders in their last regular season matchup ever at the Nassau Coliseum, only three points out of first place in the Metropolitan Division.
The game started out as a usual Ranger – Islander battle, as both teams checked hard, played defense, and took shots on net. But the Islanders were doing more of this than the Broadway Blueshirts and rookie Anders Lee fought for the puck behind the Ranger net and then came out by the side and slid the puck past a stationary Cam Talbot for a 1-0 Isle lead.
That was all the scoring for the first period, as the Rangers were outshot, but only trailed by one. In the second period, the Rangers came out stronger and quicker and the pace of the game increased.
A beauty of a back check by Rick Nash, put the puck on the stick on Mats Zuccarello and the “Hobbit” sent a beauty of a head man pass himself, right on the tape of Kevin Hayes’ stick at the Islander blue line. The former BC Eagle then did the rest himself. He bore down on Jaroslav Halak in the Islander net with Thomas Hickey all over him. He was able to shrug of Hickey, put on a spin-o-rama move on Halak and sneak the puck inside the far post to tie the game 1-1. As the puck crossed the goal line, Hayes was crushed into the net by a cheap shot, courtesy of Matt Martin. More on Martin later.
In the third period, Rick Nash brought the puck across the Islander blue line, watched as the defenseman backed away and cranked one up towards the net. It was probably a pass attempt to Mats Zuccarello, but the puck deflected off an Islander stick and past Halak for a 2-1 Ranger lead.
The Broadway Blueshirts then were able to hold on and fight off a valiant attack by the Islanders and come away with an extremely hard fought one goal victory.
Nash had an attempt at an almost empty net, but an Islander defender slid across and made a sprawling safe.
Matt Martin of the Islanders leads the NHL in hits, but likes to hit guys smaller then him. He did hit 6 foot 5 Kevin Hayes, but when he had his back to him. You never see a punk like that make a run at Chris Kreider or Rick Nash, but rather Mats Zuccarello and Mary St. Louis. Boy, I wish Nicky was on the ice tonight, he would have pounded Martin.
NYI: Anders Lee (23), Assisted by Ryan Strome & Brock Nelson
NYR: Kevin Hayes (13), Assisted by Mats Zuccarello & Rick Nash
NYR: Rick Nash (39), Assisted by Derick Brassard & Marc Staal
Team Stats NYR NYI
Shots on Goal 22 30
Power Play 0 for 4 0 for 4
Hits 32 31
Face Off Wins 23 32
Giveaways 14 28
Takeaways 14 14
Blocked Shots 14 25
Jaroslav Halak: 20 Saves on 22 Shots for a SV% of .909
Cam Talbot: 29 Saves on 30 Shots for a SV% of .967
3 Stars of the Game:
3rd Star: Anders Lee: 1 Goal
2nd Star: Cam Talbot: 29 Saves on 30 Shots for a SV% of .967
1st Star: Rick Nash: 1 Goal and 1 assist (Game winning Goal)
At the conclusion of this game, the Rangers lead the NHL in points percentage (.685), rank second in goal differential (plus 44) and regulation/OT wins (38), rank third in goals against per game (2.32), rank fifth in points (89) and are tied for fifth in wins (41)
They also lead the NHL in regulation/OT wins on the road (19) and are tied for the NHL lead in road wins (20) and rank second in points percentage on the road (.656)
The Blueshirts Penalty Kill unit went 4 for 4 again and rank ninth in the NHL
Rick Nash had two points, a goal and an assist, the game winning goal, five shots on goal and two takeaways in 18:34 of ice time
Kevin Hayes had a goal, two shots on goal and won four of seven face offs
Mats Zuccarello had an assist, two hits, and a plus two rating in 19:23 of ice time
Derick Brassard had an assist, two takeaways, and a plus one rating in 17:53 of ice time
Marc Staal had an assist, four hits, three blocked shots and a plus one rating in 20:53 of ice time
Captain Ryan McDonagh had two shots on goal, two hits and blocked a shot in 22:47 of ice time in what was his 300th career NHL game
The Blueshirts now have a record of 41-17-7 for 89 points
They are one point behind the NY Islanders, but have four games in hand
They are three points ahead of the Penguins and have one game in hand
They are seven points ahead of Washington and have two games in hand
They are one point behind Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference and have three games in hand
They are two points behind Montreal in the Eastern Conference and have two games in hand
The Rangers will travel to DC and play the Caps on Wednesday on NBCSN at 8:00 on Rivalry Wednesday
The Broadway Blueshirts are within striking distance of not only first place in the Metropolitan Division, but the Eastern Conference as well. They are also only two points away from the top spot in the entire NHL
Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider and Rick Nash are three of the biggest, strongest and fleetest power forwards in the NHL and they all play at MAG for the NY Rangers. And I for one, am glad they wear the red, white and blue and skate in Manhattan.