Rangers may be ready to turn corner after win over Islanders

Marc Staal
Marc Staal and the Rangers won for the second time in three games Tuesday night.
Credit: Getty Images

The theme emanating from both the home and visiting dressing rooms at Nassau Coliseum Tuesday night was about the details.

The overriding messages, though, were vastly different. The Rangers believe they are fine tuning their attack, while Islanders head coach Jack Capuano erupted at his team’s lack of attention after the Rangers’ 3-2 win over the Islanders Tuesday night.

“We definitely felt we competed for 60 minutes,” Derek Stepan said.

While one game is not a panacea, the Rangers have won two of three and the collective effort against their suburban rivals may show a team ready to turn a corner.

The Rangers had more shot attempts than the Islanders, 59-46, even though both teams were credited with 24 shots on goal. The Rangers also took advantage of the man advantage, scoring twice on four power plays while killing all three Islanders power plays.

“I think [being proactive with the puck] is a big part of the success [against the Islanders],” Stepan said. “Just dictate, try to play your pace of play, up-tempo. That’s something we’ve been trying to preach all season long.”

The Rangers jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Chris Kreider’s power-play dunk 12:30 into the first period. Standing uncovered in the low slot, Kreider spun away from Andrew MacDonald and tucked a rebound of Brad Richards’s point shot past Evgeni Nabokov (21 saves) for his first goal of the year.

Cal Clutterbuck equalized 3:40 into the second with his first goal of the season — and his first as an Islander. Clutterbuck beat Cam Talbot high to the glove side with a rising shot.

Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault nabbed Talbot to start because last night’s game was the second of a back-to-back, and the Rangers are beginning a stretch of nine games in 14 days. Talbot finished with 22 saves.

Selecting Talbot to start was not the only player personnel decision Vigneault made. Carl Hagelin made his season debut following offseason surgery to repair a torn left labrum.

Hagelin received 17:15 of ice time and recorded the primary assist on Benoit Pouliot’s game-winning goal with 6:14 left in the game.

“Felt good. It’s fun to be back and the shoulder was fine,” Hagelin said. “[Pouliot] battled through his check and went into the slot. I saw him wide open, pretty easy pass to make and he buried it.”

Befitting the rivalry, things took a turn for the bizarre before the end of the second period. With 41 seconds left in the period, Peter Regin was credited with the Islanders’ second goal although he never touched the puck. Travis Hamonic’s off-wing shot ricocheted off Talbot and Dan Girardi before bouncing into the net to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead at the second intermission.

The Islanders had a lead despite being outshot by the Rangers, 15-7, in the period.

It lasted for exactly 5:40.

With Kyle Okposo serving a bench minor for too many men on the ice, Ryan McDonagh’s power-play goal 4:59 into the third tied the game at 2-2. The game remained deadlocked until Pouliot’s game-winner.

Afterward, Capuano put the onus on his team.

“Again, it’s the same mistakes,” Capuano said. The Islanders are 1-3-1 in their last five games and have allowed 16 goals in that stretch. “Our defense read a 3-on-3 rush, totally off the charge that we just went over all week long. Our ‘D’ [has] to play better, that’s the bottom line. We need to win more wall battles as our forwards, but our defense has to find a way to play better. We gave up one goal 5-on-5. [The] disappointing thing for me is the things that we go over and the things we talk about, they make the same mistake again.

“[The] same mistakes can’t happen.”

Last night’s game marked the only time in the 2013-14 season the Coliseum would play host to the rivalry. The Islanders will be the home team at the Jan. 29 game at Yankee Stadium. The Rangers will host the Islanders at the Garden on Dec. 20, Jan. 21 and Jan. 31.

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Philadelphia principal has President Obama's ear

The West Philadelphia head is gathering ideas to present to the White House.

Local

Neighbors testify at Overbrook roommate slaying trial

Neighbors and roommates were called to testify Wednesday in the trial of Renaldo Robichaw, 56, charged with murder for the death of roommate Albert Smith, 48.

Local

Attorney at heart of alleged insurance fraud took…

A Center City personal injury lawyer took his own life last week, days before D.A. Seth Williams released an indictment putting the lawyer at the heart of an alleged insurance…

National

Hamas, Abbas's PLO announce reconciliation agreement

The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

Movies

Latin culture highlighted at Filadelphia film fest

Get ready to have a “Bad Hair” day at the upcoming Filadelphia Latin American Film Festival. We mean that in the best possible way. The…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

NFL

Eagles will spend Thanksgiving in Dallas, play four…

The Eagles have an impressive, challenging and exciting schedule in 2014.

NFL

NFL releases Eagles 2014 schedule

The Eagles have four primetime games, face the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and host the Seahawks in a dynamic, challenging and impressive schedule.

NHL

All signs suggest Steve Mason will start in…

Flyers head coach Craig Berube elected to put Steve Mason in net for the final minutes of Game 3.

NHL

Gary Bettman praises Philly prior to NHL draft

Gary Bettman will bring the NHL draft to Philadelphia this summer.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."