A few minutes after the Islanders 2010-11 season came to an end for all intents and purposes, their coach offered an analysis of what had gone wrong.
“We didn’t get out of the box like we wanted to and it cost us the game,” Jack Capuano said following their 6-3 loss to the Rangers at the Garden last night. The Islanders are 27-33-11 for 65 point and are firmly ensconced in 14th in the East. To qualify for the playoffs, the Islanders would need the six teams in front of them to collapse in the final 3 1/2 weeks while winning their remaining 11 games in regulation. Certainly stranger things have happened but it seems likely that the Islanders will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight spring.
The Islanders trailed 2-0 after the first period due to Brandon Prust and Erik Christensen goals. However consecutive markers off the sticks of Matt Moulson (30th) and ex-Ranger P.A. Parenteau (17th) tied the game 3:50 into the second period.
It was at this point that the greatest dissimilarity between the rivals took center ice. The Rangers have Henrik Lundqvist in nets while Al Montoya tends goal in Uniondale. Montoya, who was acquired from Phoenix on February 9, was pierced for goals by Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik and Bryan McCabe in a 7:40 span of the second period. The Rangers went into the intermission up 5-2.
“I think he looked tired. He has been battling for us and I think he looked a little (fatigued). Pucks were flying into some holes but I thought he looked a little tired,” suggested Capuano. He replaced Montoya with Nathan Lawson before the start of the third period. Lawson surrendered a goal on 11 shots. “He battled for us over the last month,” Capuano added about Montoya, who came into the match with a 7-2-3 mark with a 2.09 goals against and .926 save percentage.
What also did not help the Islanders was that their penalty kill was atrocious. The Rangers connected on three power play goals on five attempts. Christensen’s goal was a power play snap shot from the point. Marian Gaborik snapped a second period man advantage goal off the rush. Bryan McCabe completed the outburst with a 5-on-3 slap shot goal at 19:11 of the second.
“Obviously we got into penalty trouble,” Capuano said. “They have a pretty good unit and we gave them some chances, especially 5-on-3.”