The momentum changed in a flash. Artem Anisimov’s third-period goal to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead with 7:14 to play seemed to assure that Rangers would at least grab a point or two from their first visit of the season to the Nassau Coliseum.
Instead, the Islanders took full advantage of late penalties, scoring on a 5-on-3 and a 5-on-4 in 58 seconds, a double blow that left the Rangers (1-1) wincing.
“We took the forecheck to them and ended up getting the go-ahead goal, but penalty trouble really killed us,” said Ryan Callahan, who was whistled for tripping Mike Mottau on an icing, a call which Rangers coach John Tortorella firmly disputed.
“It’s just an awful call on Cally, and that’s what starts the ball rolling,” said Tortorella. “It’s assuming that you trip a guy and he didn’t trip a guy…just a terrible call. We score the fourth goal, we’re right there… I think you’ve got to make sure on the call on these icings, I think everybody’s a little spooked. It’s not a trip.”
Just 46 seconds later, Marc Staal was tossed for high-sticking Blake Comeau, and the Islanders took over.
Former Ranger P.A. Parenteau scored the tying goal after Dan Girardi blocked a shot and the puck slid to Parenteau on the right side of Lundqvist. “Five on three’s a tough penalty…it went off my stick right to him,” said Girardi. “You make a good block, you think well, we can reset… We get four goals a game, we should win most games.”
Four goals should be enough, but not if the Rangers commit four penalties in the third period while the opponents have none. Or if the defense continues to scramble under pressure and fail to clear pucks in front. Four of the six Islanders goals were scored from close in.
Michael Del Zotto, who had a goal and assist, endured a rough first period, losing the puck while alone in front under pressure from Comeau, who scored, and being one of the culprits on Josh Bailey’s goal four minutes later.
“They came at us hard,” said Tortorella. “We beat ourselves on a couple crazy goals. We’ll just pick up from here.”
Notes & Quotes
C Erik Christensen, crunched by checks in second period and early in the third, injured his right leg and played just 36 seconds in the final 20 minutes....Chris Drury, on IR out since breaking his left index finger on Sept. 20, could play when the Rangers host Toronto in their home opener. “Friday’s in sight but we’ll have to see how he progresses,” Tortorella said. “He’s just dying on the vine wanting to get back in.”…Marian Gaborik, scoreless in two games, was denied by Rick DiPietro on a penalty shot at 11:08 of the first. He is 2 for 6 in his career…Brandon Dubinsky scored his third goal in two games on the power play (2-for-4) in the first….Derek Boogaard played just 22 seconds in the second period and none in the third