A little bit of a different approach tonight; breaking the game down by period. The Rangers dropped a decision to the Isles, 4-3 at the Coliseum having trailed by two twice in the game.
Simply put, the Rangers stunk out the Coliseum in the first period and were lucky to be just the odd goal down heading in to the first intermission. Some first period thoughts for your amusement:
- The more I see of Stu Bickel the less I see a future for him. His skating is poor, his fighting is often completely unnecessary, his positioning is erratic and he’s inherited the home run pass without inheriting the necessary passing ability. I fail to see what he brings to this team any longer. Wolski must really be in the dog house.
- A blind pass from Dubinsky into center ice almost led to a full breakaway for the Isles late on. It was possibly his biggest contribution of the first period. Tumbleweed….
- In the first half of the first period the Rangers were devoid of energy, lost almost every puck battle, struggled (once again) to control the puck offensively and created nothing.
- John Tavares is a tremendous hockey player. When you are playing against such a talented player you take away his space and not allow him to do whatever he wants with the puck. Tavares had time to pick up speed in the neutral zone, he had time to dish off the puck numerous occasions and each time: no Ranger close by. Epitomized the Rangers’ lethargic beginning.
- Matt Moulson and PA Parenteau really enjoy playing the Rangers.
- Unlike Bickel, I would like to see John Mitchell stick. He uses the puck well, can skate and seems to make things happen when he gets the opportunity. He’s a useful bottom six guy to have as he works hard and has some offensive ability.
- Don’t blame Biron on either first period Islander goal. The Rangers defending of Moulson and Tavares was borderline criminal on the first; while Parenteau had acres of space to unleash his shot on the second. If you wanted to nitpick perhaps Biron was a little too aggressive on the Parenteau goal. Other than that, he was square to the shooter and didn’t seem shaky.
- The Rangers Powerplay goal (the first against the Isles in 4 games this year): following a nice play from Mitchell, Staal simply threw it on net from a tight angle with the help of a screen. It wasn’t good goaltending but it was heads-up play from Staal to use the defenseman and sneak one past Nabakov short side.