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Isles battle, come up short

Nielsen, MacDonald and Hamonic kill 5-on-3 penalty and keep Rangers at bay in shift lasting 2:59 to close the second period

Tuesday, 11.15.2011 / 10:51 PM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Isles battle, come up short

Sometimes, the final score does not tell the story of a game. Tuesday night’s 4-2 loss to the Rangers was one of those outcomes. Tied at 2 late in the third, goals from Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan provided the final margin.

“It’s frustrating,” Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic said. “These are the ones you really have to learn from. (The win) was right there (for the taking). We had it. We made just one mistake and it ended up in our net. At the end of the day we have to learn from that and now this one is put away. It’s a bad feeling. This is a feeling we don’t want anymore.”

Despite a few lapses and a slow start in the first period, Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano thought his team played one of the best games they’ve played all season.

Ryan Callahan tries to obstruct the view of Evgeni Nabokov as and Andrew MacDonald defends the crease during a power play in the second period at Nassau Coliseum on November 15, 2011. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
“We are a desperate hockey team and I thought we were dangerous tonight,” Capuano said. “We really came out and got off to a little bit of a slow start, but I liked the way we competed in the second half of the first and the second and third.”

The Islanders evened the score on two occasions. First, Frans Nielsen potted a goal at 17:06 of the first period and then at 6:58 of the third, Matt Moulson redirected a pass from John Tavares around the paint on the power play to even the score at two. In the second period, the Isles outshot the Rangers 2:1 and 33-30 on the night.

“It seemed like we really brought it all together,” Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald said. “We were moving our feet and we were coming with speed, which is the frustrating part. There have obviously been games this year that we lost that we deserved to lose, but tonight was a really hard fought game. I’m sure the fans enjoyed it, but it was not the result we were looking for.”

Some of the most exhilarating and stomach turning play occurred in the second period. The Rangers killed off three straight Islanders power plays as Steve Eminger (cross checking), Erik Christensen (goaltender interference) and Callahan (slashing) each took penalties.

But before the close of the period, it was the Islanders turn to come up big on the penalty kill. In the last 3:28 of play, the Isles were forced to kill off 29 seconds 5-on-4 before putting out MacDonald, Hamonic and Nielsen to kill off a 5-on-3.

“Those are obviously really big momentum switches in a game,” Hamonic said. “For six or seven minutes, they were basically killing penalties. We had three power plays in a row, so they killed all three of them and then it was of our turn to get some of the momentum back in our favor. That was a huge kill and Nabby (Evgeni Nabokov) was the biggest part of that.”

We couldn’t get off the ice. I thought that even though we were all very exhausted by the end of it, that we did a good job battling through. That’s what it takes in those situations; you can’t give up. Even right until the end, we could barely move, but guys were still throwing themselves in front of shots. That’s just the commitment to the team that we need. - Travis Hamonic
Just as the Isles killed the penalty, MacDonald took a delayed penalty for roughing, forcing the dynamic penalty killing trio to keep the Rangers at bay in a shift that spanned 2:59. With a fresh group of skaters, the Isles killed the remainder of the period and the first 1:15 of the third.

“We couldn’t get off the ice,” Hamonic said. “I thought that even though we were all very exhausted by the end of it, that we did a good job battling through. That’s what it takes in those situations; you can’t give up. Even right until the end, we could barely move, but guys were still throwing themselves in front of shots. That’s just the commitment to the team that we need.”

Though it wasn’t reflected in the final score, more efforts like the Isles put forth on Tuesday night will surely turn the Islanders skid around. Nabokov made 26 saves as the Islanders outshot the Rangers 33-30.

Notes: Sean Avery gave the Rangers the early lead with a goal at 14:43 of the first. Eminger reestablished the Rangers lead with a goal at 6:07 of the second period.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 53 31 16 6 143 118 68
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 TBL 52 29 19 4 138 123 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
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14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
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16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Okposo 49 15 26 -7 41
J. Tavares 48 19 21 -4 40
F. Nielsen 51 15 18 0 33
B. Nelson 51 20 11 1 31
M. Grabovski 51 9 15 2 24
J. Bailey 50 9 15 5 24
N. Leddy 51 3 20 -8 23
A. Lee 51 7 15 1 22
R. Strome 40 5 14 -6 19
C. Clutterbuck 50 11 4 6 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 12 11 4 .917 2.28
T. Greiss 14 6 2 .929 2.26
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