If you thought the first five Rangers-Islanders games this season were battles, get set for Thursday night in Uniondale, where they were flying tonight. They are 11-5-0 in second games of b to bs this year.
The Isles are in the spoiler role; the Rangers are desperate for two points following an inexplicable effort for two-thirds of the game in a 1-0 loss to the Sabres.
I've laid out the playoff landscape in the previous entry. Not pretty.
The Rangers have rebounded from losses this season, but an effort like tonight's shows why they may not get past the first round, if they manage to secure a playoff spot. They are just three points out of ninth.
Wojtek Wolski: zero shots in 7:43; Vinny Prospal, three in 17:30, Ruslan Fedotenko, zero in 13:25. Erik Christensen, one in 8:16, and mostly invisible.
Marian Gaborik had five shots, but only one goal in the last five games.
Lundqvist sums it up: "Our record in the last 10 games is pretty good...we're not frustrated. We still can control this. We definitely want to bounce back right away. Defensively I don;t think we can play much better, Last week we got away with a couple big wins in tight games "
"We didn;t have the puck enough," said Sean Avery. "But hard work will trump everything else. We''ll come back strong tomorrow."
"We just couldn't find a way to get scoring chances," said Marc Staal. "They were backchecking hard. Int he third period, we got some chances, but were unable to get one to tie it up. We've defended well and Henrik's played well, but we wern't able to get clear shots."
Artem Anisimov, the best player outside of Lundqvist in the first period, said he was I "surprised" by the disallowed goal. "He (the ref) told me it was interference on goalie. I told him, "Ok, your call"
John Tortorella took questions for less than two minutes. "You can't play Game 77 like it's Game 25 for 40 minutes....That's where I thought our intensity was. Am I surprised? Absolutely... It's not so much losing, it's how we played. I thought we played better in the third." An opportunity lost? "Exactly"
Ryan Callahan on the disallowed goal: "I have nowhere to go, but I'm in the crease and I get a piece of the goalie. if it was going the other way we would want that."
Lundqvist on fellow Swede Enroth: "He stepped up. He played well... Henrik Lundqvist: "The last four games have been really tight, we have tio find a way to score one or two goals, that's what it's coming down to. They were good, especially after the got the lead."