December 4, 2010

Rangers Sweep Home and Home Against Islanders

The Islanders and Rangers played a much different game than the one they played Thursday night. While that one may have had more of a pond hockey feel to it, this one was purely defensive for both teams.

The Rangers out shot the Islanders 20-17. The lone puck that beat a goaltender was when Marc Staal's shot from the point got through three Isles on a power-play for the Rangers. Brian Boyle would add an empty netter to give the Rangers a 2-0 win.

After the Thursday night game, I didn't really bother to go into much detail about the defensive play since the game was pure offense all around. Friday, with the Islanders offense non-existent and the Rangers offense almost non-existent, the only details to point out are really only on the defensive end.

While Thursday's game was not a banner game for many of the Isles blue-liners, Friday's game was a little bit of a different story.

Two of the Islanders biggest culprits of poor play in the first go around were Mark Eaton and Radek Martinek. I felt both of them were the most solid Friday. It was quite a change from a day ago, but a very welcome sight indeed.

Eaton did a lot of what he does best - block shots. He finished the game with four registered blocks. Throughout the night, especially on the penalty kill you could see him using his stick and making some nice poke checks and stick checks.

Martinek blocked a good amount of shots too, and got more involved with the offense. He had a couple of nice shots and even made a little toe drag move on an offensive rush. The speed he showed there was something that I don't recall seeing before.

Travis Hamonic played well once again, while his defensive partner Andrew MacDonald threw some nice checks and looked very smooth again. It's not taking him very long to get back into the swing of things.

Once again, you can't say enough about Dwayne Roloson. He was solid once again, and made a few spectacular saves.

As far as the offense goes, the Islanders had some chances to get pucks towards the net and quite simply they did not. They hold on to the puck, and take too long to make decisions. When they are going on an offensive rush, there is way too much East-West movement, giving the opposing team the chance to get back in. I understand wanting to have strength in numbers, but there are some times where you can wait for your teammates to come back into the play. Sometimes, the puck carrier has to go in by himself, get the puck in deep and go from there.

Frans Nielsen got hit in the head by an elbow from Ryan Callahan, and while he did not get injured it was still a penalty. It was the right call by the refs, and the right move for Jesse Joensuu to go after him. Joensuu is no fighter, and Callahan is much tougher than he is. I give a lot of credit to Joensuu for going after him, even if it cost him 19 minutes in penalties.

Now the Isles will turn their attention to Sunday, where they will turn their attention to the Philadelphia Flyers as they return home.


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