John Tavares scored a goal and one assist tonight, and Matt Moulson netted his 30th goal of the season for the second straight year, while the Islanders lost 6-3 to their cross-town rivals, the New York Rangers.
It was a tough game to watch for Islanders fans as the team fell down by two goals in the first period. Brendan Prust opened up the scoring with a shorthanded goal 3:47 into the game. Erik Christensen then made it 2-0 14:52 into the first period with a beautiful wrist shot on the power play. The Islanders looked flat in the first period, and it showed up on the scoreboard.
But the Islanders looked like a completely different team at the start of the second period, scoring two goals within the first 3:50 of the period. Moulson got his 30th goal of the season on a tip in from a Jack Hillen wrist shot. Matt Moulson's goal tonight ties his goal total from last season, and he did it in eleven fewer games this season. P.A. Parenteau then tied the game up on a two-on-one with John Tavares. Tavares came in on the left wing and floated a saucer pass to Parenteau that Parenteau hit out of mid-air and into the net.
Unfortunately, the good vibes for the Islanders was lost when Blake Comeau was called for hooking. Artem Anisimov made a pass from behind the Isles net out to Ryan Callahan who put one past an unsuspecting Bruno Gervais into a wide open net. Gervais was caught completely off guard apparently, and had no idea that Callahan was even behind him. It was just a terrible play all around that completely shifted the momentum back to the Rangers. Travis Hamonic tripped up Callahan behind the Islanders net to put the Islanders shorthanded again. Shortly thereafter Michael Grabner was called for hooking which put the Rangers on a five-on-three power play. Marian Gaborik and Brian McCabe made the Islanders pay by taking a 5-2 lead.
Al Montoya, a former Rangers draft pick made his Madison Square Garden debut against the team that drafted him, but did not play well. He was peppered with shots, but let in a couple of weak goals in the eyes of coach Jack Capuano as he was pulled at the start of the 3rd period.
Gaborik would score again to give the Rangers a 6-2 lead, and John Tavares closed out the scoring by notching his 26th goal of the season on a rare Islanders power play with four minutes left.
The Islanders did not show up to play tonight, and it showed. They were outskated and outhit by a Rangers team that showed just how desperately they are to make the playoffs.
However, the Islanders were victims yet again to very poor officiating. The call against Comeau that resulted in Callahan's goal was almost non-existing. There was a slight hook, but it did not disrupt the pass that Marc Staal was making, nor did it bring down Staal. But it got worse. The hooking call on Michael Grabner that put the Isles down two men was absolutely terrible. Grabner did not hook Brandon Dubinsky. He lifted Dubinsky's stick and stole the puck. It was a play that happens many times throughout the course of every hockey game that will never be called, because it is not a penalty.
The poor officiating, however bad it may have been is not an excuse for the Islanders loss tonight. Sure they were shorthanded very often, but they were also terrible on the penalty kill. The Rangers scored on three of their five power plays.
The Islanders came into this game with the possibility to seriously hurt their rival's playoff chances, but instead gave the Rangers two valuable points in the standings.
The Islanders laid down another stinker tonight at the Garden and completely wasted a great game from John Tavares. Calling tonight a disappointment is an understatement.