For the third straight game, the New York Islanders had their messy moments -- this time through a hairy middle period that could have turned this game a very different way. But for the third straight game, they did enough to prevail over a Metropolitan Division foe, this time stabbing and then gleefully twisting the knife in their city rivals.
A 6-3 win over the New York Rangers blew open in the third period, ensuring a mostly quiet frame save for the "Let's Go Islanders" chants that echoed around Madison Square Garden. Feels good to have goaltending. Feels good to have defensemen who can score. Oh, just plain feels good, in a general sorta way.
More details, quotes and links in the recap later. Video highlights, stat links and our immediate "plus/minus" reactions and battle level chart follow below. As always, add your own in comments.
+ That's fine, the fourth line starts the game to throw some hits.
- That's not fine, Casey Cizikas follows Cal Clutterbuck's clean opening hit with a knee-leading hit of his own, creating the first penalty kill just 40 seconds in.
+ The first goal for. Really enjoying the combo of Kyle Okposo winning the puck along the right wing, Johnny Boychuk at the point, and Brock Nelson preaching to defenders in front.
- The first goal against. Rick Nash weak backhand from zero-degree angle. Fleury-esque, Jaro.
+ Halak was key to the Isles escaping the second period tied 2-2 though: A ridiculous 20 saves in that period alone.
- The second period, other than Halak's stops and Nikolay Kulemin's brilliant kick-save interception that allowed him to set up John Tavares in the slot for the tying goal.
+ The third period. Much joy. Good close-ups of Lundqvist facial expressions. Wonderful ambiance at the Garden.
+ The Islanders win a defensive zone draw after a should-be icing on the Rangers is not called for some reason, only to have icing called on the Islanders after they mispassed the puck out.
- Despite Tavares winning that D-zone draw, the Isles lose the puck and the Rangers score their second goal on a Chris Kreider feed from behind the net. And that's how draw locations matter.
+ Kyle Okposo's 100th NHL (regular season) goal. What a way to get it.
Battle Level Chart
- Hahd: Johnny Boychuk's shot, part III. Halak's knees and hip flexors in the second period.
- Smaht: Nikolay Kulemin, part II. The interception-and-assist on the Tavares goal was just the most notable in another evening of tenacious plays.
- Passengers: Capuano's addition to fielding the fourth line after goals is a little more tolerable when it's against the other team's fourth line. But that, of all situations, is not when that line should then get hemmed in long enough for Thomas Hickey to take a penalty.
- Warriors: Brock, Brock, Brock you like a hurricane. The audible Islanders fans at the Garden sure did.
- Overall Battle Level: This is rivalry time, boys. Gotta be betta in the first forty.
The Evening in a Picture