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
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)|
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 HamonicJust 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.