The Islanders came into tonight's game against the New York Rangers with the chance to be a spoiler, and did just that by beating the Rangers 6-2 in front of a sold out Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Rangers came into tonight's game only three points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes for the eighth and final playoff spot. They still remain three points ahead, as the Hurricanes did not play tonight, but Carolina now has one game in hand on the Rangers.
The Isles were without Michael Grabner for the second straight game, because his girlfriend (finally) gave birth to their first son, Aidan Johann Grabner.
The Rangers started the scoring off when Vinny Prospal blew a wrist shot over a screened Al Montoya's left shoulder. The Islanders had dominated the play up that point, but Henrik Lundqvist did a great job to keep them off the board. Even with having a powerplay by that point, the Rangers only registered two shots on goal before scoring.
Pretty quickly after the goal, P.A. Parenteau took a penalty for interference. While killing the penalty, Frans Nielsen was hit from behind at center ice by Marian Gaborik. Frans looked very dazed on the hit and did not return. Somehow, Gaborik only got a double minor for the hit. Hopefully the NHL disciplinarian, Colin Campbell takes a look at the hit and does the right thing by suspending Gaborik for a very dirty hit.
The Islanders jumped on the Rangers early in the second, and tied the game at one a piece 3:24 into the period. Travis Hamonic fired a slapshot that was deflected by Josh Bailey into the post. The ensuing rebound went right to Blake Comeau who put it past Lundqvist to tie it up. 33 seconds later, Radek Martinek blew a slapshot over Lundqvist's left shoulder from point-blank range to put the Islanders up 2-1. Jesse Joensuu and P.A Parenteau would make it 4-1 by the end of the period.
To make matters worse for the Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist was pulled at the start of the third period by coach John Tortorella and replace by backup goalie Chad Johnson. 8 minutes and 38 seconds into the third period, John Tavares drove to the Ranger net making some very nifty moves. His shot bounced off of Johnson and into the air. Matt Moulson decided to imitate his former teammate Rob Schremp by knocking the rebound out of the air and into the net to make it 5-1.
The Islanders finished off their goal scoring with six minutes left in the period off a goal by the most unlikely of goal scorers. Trevor Gillies (yes, you read that right) deflected a wrist shot from the point by Dylan Reese past Johnson. It was a beautiful shot by Reese, and an even prettier deflection by Gillies.
Brandon Dubinsky made it 6-2 off of a faceoff by redirecting a Brian Boyle shot past Montoya.
The Islanders dominated this game throughout, killing off seven Rangers powerplays including two 5 on 3 powerplays. The Isles outshot the Rangers 33 to 27 and out-hit the Rangers 31 to 13.
The game got very physical late with fights between Zenon Konopka and Brandon Prust, Michael Haley and Sean Avery, Brandon Dubinsky and Jack Hillen, and Ruslan Fedotenko and Dylan Reese. Dubinsky, Matt Martin, Trevor Gillies, Prust, and Gaborik were all given misconducts before the game was through.
Michael Haley's fight against Sean Avery ended with Avery skating off the ice with a very bloody left eye.
Notes: Dylan Reese had three assists and was a +3 on the night. John Tavares, P. A. Parenteau, and Travis Hamonic all finished a +4 on the night with Tavares getting two assists as well. Ty Wishart and Jack Hillen both left the game and did not return. The Islanders played most of the third period with only four defenseman, and actually had Kyle Okposo play a shift on defense during 5-on-5 play. Al Montoya, Radek Montoya, and P. A. Parenteau were the three stars of the game.