What a trip: Late call helps Islanders rally past Rangers
New York Islanders 6, New York Rangers 4
What went right for NYI
1 Check list — The Islanders forechecked the hell out of the Rangers. Four of their six goals came from below the hashmarks or around Henrik Lundqvist’s crease.
2 5-on-3 — No one had an answer for Blake Comeau down low as he torched the Blueshirts for two goals and an assist. After Ryan Callahan was called for tripping at 14:15 in the third, Comeau drew a high-stick to set up a 5-on-3. P.A. Parenteau cashed in to tie the game, then Comeau added the go-ahead tally to make it 5-4.
3 No Tavares, No problem — Five Islanders scored goals and eight recorded at least a point.
What went wrong for NYR
1 Weak D — To call the Rangers defense disastrous would be an understatement. Michael Del Zotto, Dan Girardi and Steve Eminger combined to go minus-3.
2 Lundqvist had no shot — The Rangers inability to clear the puck made for a long day for Henrik Lundqvist, who gave up five goals on 31 shots.
3 That’s obscene — Sean Avery had an apparent goal waved off after what he thought was a “quick” whistle. The Rangers’ agitator was also outraged that Isles defenseman James Wisniewski was not penalized for making an obscene gesture simulating oral sex.
The first installment of New York’s urban and suburban hockey rivalry saw the creation of a new feud, 10 goals and the winning coach stormed away from his press conference because he disliked a series of questions.
And just think, there are five more games left between the Rangers and Islanders.
The Rangers left Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Monday afternoon following the 6-4 loss wondering about their defense while being incensed about an obscene gesture made to one of their players by an Islanders defenseman.
Blake Comeau scored two goals and had an assist for the Islanders. Josh Bailey, Matt Moulson, ex-Ranger P.A. Parenteau and Frans Nielsen added goals for the Isles, while Rick DiPietro stopped 29 of 33 shots. Brandon Dubinsky, Michael Del Zotto, Dan Girardi and Artem Anisimov scored goals for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist allowed five goals on 31 shots.
The Rangers were unable to contain the Islanders forecheck, which forced turnovers and bumped Lundqvist at every available opportunity.
Michael Del Zotto, Dan Girardi and Steve Eminger were a combined minus-4 for the game. Del Zotto was especially bad as he was directly responsible for the Islanders first two goals, highlighted by Comeau’s game-opening score in which he took the puck off of Del Zotto’s stick and stuffed a shot under Lundqvist.
"I just lost the puck, to be honest with you. I couldn’t put it in a better spot for him. Put it right on his stick," Del Zotto said. "It’s kind of my job to take care of the puck and make good plays. It happens and you learn from it."
The game was overshadowed by a surreal incident involving Islanders defenseman James Wisniewski and Rangers left wing Sean Avery in which Wisniewski pantomimed oral sex toward Avery. Wisniewski did not talk about the incident but Avery was outraged that referees Gord Dwyer and Dan O’Halloran did not penalize the Islanders defenseman.
"I mean, it’s pretty obvious what the guy was doing. S—. But I’m sure nothing will happen," Avery said. When asked why the league wouldn’t do anything, he responded, "Because nothing ever happens. It’s pretty obvious what happened here. It’s interesting that you get a warning for something like that. Could you imagine (if) I did that? Well, I…s— they sent me to rehab the last time I did something. It’s crazy."
Avery later said he was "done talking about it" when asked if there was a double standard.
Islanders coach Scott Gordon cut his post-game press conference when he was asked about what transpired.
"I will never talk about Sean Avery. He’s on the other team," Gordon said. "We just played a 6-4 hockey game and you don’t have a question about the hockey game? I think there’s more to the game than whatever you’re talking about. If you have a question about the game, I’ll be more than happy to answer it otherwise we’re all done." Gordon then stormed away from the podium when he was asked if Wisniewski would be fined or suspended.
John Tavares missed his first game as a professional as he was being examined by doctors following the minor concussion he suffered in Saturday night’s 5-4 season opening shootout loss to Dallas. Stars forward Adam Burish slammed into Tavares with 3:16 left in the first period and videos appeared to show Burish’s upper arm or elbow make contact with Tavares’ head. Gordon did not have an update on Tavares’ condition after the game but it is believed that the team will know more today.