Saturday, December 1, 2007

Game recap: Rangers 4, Islanders 2

Eleven games and counting where the Islanders have scored no more than twice. Remarkably, they are 5-5 with an overtime loss in that stretch, which says a lot about the defense and the play of Rick DiPietro. But you wonder how much longer the team can tread water when a third goal by the opposition equals a loss.

You kind of knew beating the Rangers would be tough one night after a big win over the Senators. Toss in the fact that the game was at the Garden, and that the Rangers were supremely motivated to win after dropping the first three meetings of the season. Sure enough, they jumped out on top on a goal by Jaromir Jagr. Miro Satan got the equalizer early in the second, but two more goals by the Rangers threatened to blow the game open. Mike Comrie's wrister late in the second got the Isles within one again -- but that also meant they had reached their goal quota for the game.

Again, the power play (can we really call it that any more) was a major culprit, going scoreless in four chances, including a 29-second, 5-on-3 advantage in the first.

We mentioned it in one of the early blog posts this season, but the Islanders just don't have that one scorer who scares you, or who can carry a team when they need it. So you figure if Garth Snow has a Christmas list, a sniper is at the top.

The ugliness came courtesy of Ryan Hollweg, who showed again how classless he is by threatening to rip open the fresh stitches in Radek Martinek's face. Martinek caught a skate blade the night before, but played with 15 stitches nonetheless. Of course, Hollweg saw the wound as a target, and displayed his intelligence by telling Martinek he would rip them open when they met in scrum along the boards.

When Simon slashed Hollweg in the face, it was a bad split-second decision by a player who has always been highly regarded by his teammates. Hollweg, however, thinks about his violence before inflicting it, and is as much of a lowlife as anyone in the league. If the NHL is serious about protecting its players (and some of Colin Campbell's "punishments" make you wonder), it will sit Hollweg for a few games.

Not that it would make much of a difference to Hollweg.

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