Monday, November 19, 2007

Game recap: Islanders 2, Rangers 1

In my post from the last Islanders-Rangers game I said that we needed an answer chant for the Potvin cheer, but you know what? We have one:

YOU CAN'T BEAT US! (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap) YOU CAN'T BEAT US!

That works for me.

Monday night's 2-1 victory over the Rangers makes the Islanders 9-1-2 in their last dozen games against the Blueshirts, so you could say Ted Nolan has Tom Renney's number. And to all the Rangers fans who added 'SUCKS!' after the 'D.P.!' chant at the Coliseum, suck on this: Rick is 3-0 against the Rangers this season, with four goals allowed. What's that? Yeah, I thought so.

Monday's win was also the seventh straight one-goal game for the Islanders, which is an NHL record. But that's the way this team wins. DiPietro said in the postgame that the win was "a good road win," and that winning the close ones was "the kind of identity we want to create."

You could argue the converse that all these one-goal games shows how little margin for error the Islanders have, and that there will be a stretch where the decisions go the other way. But you could also say that playing in so many nail-biters will prove to be invaluable experience come playoff time.

Yeah, I said it. We're just a quarter through the season, but it's clear that this is a playoff team, and by the looks of it, is a team that few will want to face in a short series. It's tough, has great goaltending, and won't blink when the pressure is on.

The Rangers were hot coming into the game, winners of five straight, but you wouldn't know it by the result. Sure, the Rangers came out hitting, but Jagr, Gomez and Drury were awfully quiet, a testimony to the defensive play of guys like Witt and Martinek, who were solid all night.

Once again, the newcomers provided the offense, with Fedotenko scoring on a perfectly executed set play eight seconds into the second period off a face-off. And Vasicek was all over the place, roofing a wicked wrister for a 2-0 lead, and later stepping into the face of Orr in defense of his teammate.

You didn't like the shorthanded goal that cut the gap to 2-1, but there was precious little to complain about tonight. The Rangers had just 19 shots on goal, with few second-chance opportunities, which was a huge help to DiPietro. All in all, a tremendous win coupled with the shutout over the Devils.

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