For one thing, the Isles had taken the first game of the season series last month. For another, their two paths diverged in the wood that day, and the Isles, sadly, took the road they've been too familiar with: 1-6-3 in their past 11 games, with frustrations and pressures mounting. Any hope at a playoff push revolved around the Islanders not digging themselves into a hole early, such as in last year's lamentable Woevember run that got Scott Gordon sacked.
So with the Rangers hot (six straight wins) it was a perfect opportunity to get things pointed in the proper direction... and for the first time in a good long while, the Islanders rose to the challenge, playing one of their strongest games of the season. The problem is, they had nothing to show for it but another gut-shot loss, fuled by an exasperating unforced turnover.
Believe it or not, there are actually a lot of highlights from the Islanders' point of view, and that's below the jump.Game Highlights
And that's the real uncalled high stick in the chops (metaphorically speaking)... the Islanders did a thousand things right tonight, better than they have maybe for the entire season. John Tavares was a beast. Nino Niederreiter was as advertised. Frans Nielsen had his most complete game of the year (with a sweet Forehand of Justice on a 2-on-1, to boot). Even Mike Mottau, who's been flogged like a plowhorse in these parts, turned in a spirited effort. They only really did three things wrong - and each time, the puck was sent past Evgeni Nabokov. That plus the usual otherworldly manuevers of Henrik Lundqvist was enough to turn the game the visitors' way.
So they now have a seven-game win streak, and the Son of Woevember grows to 1-7-3. The young season is not really so young anymore. Your thoughts and reactions below - and please, as tinfoil-chewingly-awful as this latest result is... let's try to be temperate with our fellow longsuffering Isles fans.