Islanders 3, Rangers 1: That rather rocked.

Pardon me while I do a little dance. {hip swivel} This is a quick instant-recap of the Islanders' first regulation win, with more to come tomorrow.

Symbolically speaking, the first Islanders-Rangers battle of the season could not have gone better: Future Isles stars Kyle Okposo and John Tavares keyed a 3-1 win, while the Rangers offense managed just one goal without their $7.5-million/year injury-prone superstar. In the parlance of our times, "the optics don't look good" for the Rangers, because healthy or not, Playoff Gaborik doesn't always resemble October Gaborik. He'll need some support.

Game Summary | Event Summary | nhl.com Recap | Isles Recap



The Islanders benefited from an unshakable performance by Dwayne Roloson (and his posts), a much stronger game from Mark Streit -- whose minutes were far more humane -- the now-typically tireless hustle of Kyle Okposo, and a tone-setting opening goal when Matt Moulson pokechecked Matt Gilroy, allowing Jack Hillen to spring Moulson for a sweet breakaway shot past Henrik Lundqvist's stick side.


The Islanders' opening forecheck was the best we've seen from them all season. Fortunately, it also resulted in the Moulson goal as the Isles poked a hole in John Tortorella's aggressive system. (Isn't it nice to turn the table on someone else's pinch for a change?)

Ironically Gaborik's replacement, some kid named Public Address Parenteau, scored the Rangers goal on a nifty backhand to tie it. Actually, despite their control of play, a fortunate post saved the Islanders from going to the first intermission down a goal. The Rangers then came out in the 2nd hitting everything in sight.

What I liked about that? The Islanders didn't wilt from that big physical push, leveled the play in the 2nd, and withstood some Rangers powerplays. And then: They scored a powerplay goal themselves (sweet passing among Tavares, Weight and company throughout the PP, which was thanks to a Sean Avery penalty) to take a 2-1 lead into the third. Second-period shots were 12-12.

They still didn't assert themselves for much of the third -- they were outshot 15-7. But it was a better performance with the lead than they've shown thus far, and it's fair to say they were due some of the luck that came with it. A strong Tavares forecheck led to him banking a cross-crease pass to Weight off of Lundqvist and in. Game sealed, baby.

Otherwise, it was another tense, nail-biting, fights-in-the-stands Isles-Rangers game, just as nature intended.

I'll have more tomorrow -- incorporating more of your thoughts, too -- but now I gotta run to play some late-night hockey myself.

In the meantime, sleep well (or wake happily) on that one. 'Cause it rocked.

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