We Want Fishsticks!
Brooklyn New York Islanders come into MSG for their first tilt against the NYR this season. The high-flying Isles take on the Bi-Polar Rangers in a real rivalry game. And unlike some manufactured NBC rivalry game between the Rangers and the Bruins, this one should be a good game where two teams actually don’t like each other.
But first, a word of warning, the Rangers and their fans should not sleep on the Isles. This team can play. The Islanders can score. They are loaded with good young, goal scoring forwards. Jon Tavares is a beast. Michael Grabner is Carl Hagelin with scoring touch and Matt Moulson is great around the net picking up trash and popping biscuits. Their power play, though struggling a bit after a torrid start, is cranking out at a 23.7 percentage. (Editors Note: For Ranger fans reading this, a power play goal is one that is scored when an attacking team has one or more players on the ice than the defending team due to an infraction being called against the aforementioned defending team.) The Isles have decent goaltending with Nabokov and if they can tighten up their D (oh, Lubimir, where are you?) they will make the playoffs this season.
The Rangers, thus far this season, are a see-saw. They can’t seem to string consistent efforts together. Marian Gaborik after a couple of huge games early, appears to have entered the Witness Protection program, and Rick Nash, while playing a strong game each night has to start producing some goals. Shirt model Brad Richards must start playing more like a 6 million dollar man, and less like a shirt model man. Although it should be noted, they are nice shirts.
Ryan Callahan, owner of 66% of the Blueshirt’s power play goals this season, is back in the lineup and will skate with Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller. Despite scoring a large proportion of NYR PPGs, Callahan has not played well this season, or at least anywhere near the level or impact he should have. Another player who has had minimal impact in 2013 is Derek Stepan. It is puzzling watching this kid. What is going on with his game? Finally, Brian Boyle has had no impact at all. His game has been dreadful. Mr Boyle and all of his 6’7″ will be in a suit watching from the press box.
Dan Girardi, still battling an injury that dare not speak its name, will also watch from the press box. However, Michael Del Zotto will remain in the lineup. MDZ who shows flashes of brilliance and flashes of dog crap, needs to find some consistency in his game. Del Zotto can play like Norris Trophy one night (Flyers game) and Mike Norris the next (Devils game.)
Last but not least, special teams. The Isles can be deadly on the PP. The Rangers penalty killers must play a tighter box and not drift from their coverage. They also must stay out of the box against this team. On the flip side, the 3-35 Rangers must get their power play working. They have to realize that the puck is not a hand grenade and that it is okay, and actually encouraged that the players on the unit, move without the puck. It is also encouraged that the Rangers shoot the puck at the goal and attack the net for rebounds. An effective power play can make close games closer and tied games turn in favor of the NYR.
We Want Fishsticks!
They should be chanting, “We want 2 points!”