BOUNCES GO WRONG WAY IN 3-1 LOSS TO ISLES
• PHOTO GALLERY
• RANGERS GAME CENTER
By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
’s first goal in the National Hockey League was not enough for the Rangers on Wednesday night, as they dropped a 3-1 decision to the Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum.
“I just think we are too easy a team to play against in these types of games where they played hard, and played through the body, and we didn’t answer as far as hitting back,” said Rangers head coach John Tortorella. “They were the better team.”
|Rangers forward Sean Avery sets a screen in front of Islanders goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who turned in a big performance for his team with 34 saves.
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A hard-working, yet fluky, goal gave the Islanders an important two-goal cushion late in the third period -- in essence putting the game away for the home team. After Rangers defenseman Michal Rozsival
broke his stick, he failed to clear the puck up left wing past the Islanders Jeff Tambellini with his gloved hand. Tambellini then fed John Tavares, and Tavares had his centering pass deflect off Henrik Lundqvist
and into the net with 5:06 remaining in regulation.
It was a tough goal against Lundqvist, who had a terrific game despite the loss. Lundqvist stopped 29 of 32 Islanders shots.
“It was a broken play, and I didn’t have time to recover back from the far post,” said Lundqvist. “I think that’s a tougher play than a great play. And it’s one goal you’d like to have back.”
At the other end of the ice, Dwayne Roloson made 34 saves to earn his second win in six starts this season.
Parenteau, who was recalled from the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford to take the place of the injured Marian Gaborik
, netted his first NHL goal midway through the second period, tying the game 1-1. At the time of his recall, Parenteau, who scored 34 and 29 goals the past two years in Hartford, was leading the AHL in goals with eight and was tied for the league-lead in points with 14.
He provided the Rangers with plenty of jump throughout the game on a night that the Blueshirts found it quite difficult to generate much offense against an extremely diligent Islanders’ squad.
“My emotions were kind of different every shift,” said Parenteau. “Sometimes I was calm with the puck. Sometimes I was a little nervous, and made a few mistakes. But I thought I played pretty well, and was pretty happy with my game.”
The Islanders snapped the 1-1 tie with a power play goal late in the second period to take the lead for good. After Lundqvist stoned defenseman Jack Hillen from 10 feet out on left wing, the rebound caromed into the slot, where Kyle Okposo was left all alone to pot his second goal of the season at the 18:14 mark of the period.
“(The puck) just bounced over Danny (Girardi)’s stick and right to their guy, and then you could just feel the importance of that goal,” said Lundqvist. “It was a late goal, 2-1 game, it was a huge goal for the game.”
The power play was created when Sean Avery
was penalized for hooking Brendan Witt in the offensive zone at 16:54. Lundqvist made two outstanding stops early in the penalty kill for the Rangers. First he went into the splits and made a glove save on Mark Streit’s blast from just inside the blueline. And then he robbed Tavares from five feet out after a neat give-and-go around Wade Redden
with linemate Matt Moulson.
The saves were typical of Lundqvist’s play on Wednesday. After surrendering a breakaway goal to Moulson only 55 seconds into the first period, Lundqvist established himself as the best player on the ice for either club. With the Islanders controlling much of the play in the opening 20 minutes, Lundqvist was the difference in the game being tied 1-1 after one period - following Parenteau’s goal -- and the Rangers trailing by one or more goals.
“I thought in the first period they came out and worked harder than us,” said Ryan Callahan
, who led the Rangers with six shots on goal. “They threw their bodies around, and we didn’t have the start we wanted to. We had to match their intensity, and we didn’t.”
Four minutes into the first, Lundqvist used his left pad to deftly deny Nate Thompson’s backhander after Witt’s original shot was blocked and caused the Rangers’ goalie to be off balance. Ten minutes later, Lundqvist made sharp stops on consecutive shots by Josh Bailey and Streit. And at 12:10, with the Islanders crashing his crease, Lundqvist made another pair of huge stops, the second a dazzling save on a Bailey rebound attempt from the slot.
“He’s our backbone,” Callahan said of Lundqvist. “He played great for us and kept us in the game. He gave us a chance to win it late. But unfortunately we didn’t do what we needed to do to win the game.”
Parenteau got the Rangers on the scoreboard at 8:30 of the opening stanza. Playing in his first game as a Ranger and only his sixth NHL game overall, the 26-year-old Parenteau collected the puck off the right-wing boards in the Islanders’ zone, skated to the slot, and whipped a backhand shot past Roloson on the stick side for an unassisted goal.
“It’s a pretty big deal for me,” Parenteau said after the game. “It was kind of a broken play, but I got a good backhand and found the back of the net. It’s one of the best feelings of my life, but it would have been better in a winning scenario.”
The Rangers could have actually escaped the first period with a one-goal lead, but Marc Staal
’s backhand attempt caught the iron behind Roloson with two seconds remaining in the opening period.
Enver Lisin also fired a shot off the crossbar 7:22 into the second for the tough-luck Rangers, who played much better in the middle period after being outshot 13-8 in the first.
Roloson was forced to make several difficult saves over the middle 20 minutes, the best coming at the 6:50 mark when he somehow burst across the crease from left-to-right to stone Callahan from in deep after a perfect give-and-go pass from Vinny Prospal
in the slot.
The game also turned decidedly more physical as it wore on. Late in the first period, Staal rubbed out Tavares, the Islanders’ first overall pick in the 2009 draft, along the boards in the Rangers’ zone. Seconds later Isles’ defenseman Andy Sutton sent Callahan head over heels with a hip check at the home team’s blueline.
Just one minute into the second period, Brandon Dubinsky
hammered Tavares into the boards near center ice, and the talented youngster immediately headed to the bench where a team trainer checked out his shoulder. Two minutes after that Roloson lost his mask when Avery and Hillen managed to collide into him by the side of the Islanders net.
In the third period, there was a bit less of a physical edge as the Rangers fired 15 shots on Roloson in a futile effort to draw even. The Islanders managed only seven shots over the final 20 minutes, but they got the one that counted when Tavares found a way to beat Lundqvist with 5:06 left to play.
Carrying a 1-3-1 record over their last five games, the Rangers will return to action on Friday night when they skate against the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center. The club is back at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon to face the Boston Bruins.
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