Spoiler Alert! Islanders/Rangers Pre-Game
Even the schedule is cruel to the New York Islanders.
After a crushing 2-1 defeat last night against the New Jersey Devils, the Islanders travel to MSG to play the Eastern Conference leading New York Rangers, whom themselves are coming into the game on a bit of a skid.
Last night can be described in only 14 seconds, or how long it took the Devils to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 advantage. Islanders goaltender Anders Nilsson continued his stellar play in goal with 33 saves and held the Devils at bay for over 118 consecutive minutes.
David Clarkson and Marik Zidlicky scored for the Devils and Johan Hedberg made 23 saves. It was the fourth consecutive game the Devils allowed one goal against.
John Tavares had the lone goal for the Islanders in the third period. P.A Parenteau had the primary assist and his 60th point of the season. The Islanders are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games and sit just 1 point from the foot of the Eastern Conference.
Tonight's game pits a now desperate Rangers team returning home on a 3 game losing streak. They will play their next seven games at Madison Square Garden, including an absolutely crucial one against the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday Night. The Penguins have won 9 straight and have crept to within 2 points of the Atlantic Division lead. Ryan Callahan and Michael Del Zotto will miss the game for the Rangers. Matt Zuccarello was recalled from the Connecticut Whale for tonight's game.
Limited information is available regarding the lines at the time of this writing. It will be Evgeni Nabokov and Henrik Lundqvist in goal. Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas, and Mark Eaton are all out. Milan Jurcina will return to the line-up.
Last Islanders/Rangers game that meant this much to the Rangers, they got laughed out of the Coliseum late last season 6-2. If the Islanders would have found a way to steal last night's game, I'd feel a lot more confident. Good to see Michael Haley back, he was tremendous last night.
If the Islanders expect to compete for the Stanley Cup Playoffs next season, they need a real head coach. Only Jack Capuano doesn't call a timeout after the Devils scored and Parenteau 'takes a penalty'. The team is incredibly fragile, but no, don't settle them down at all and get a plan together. When novice fans sitting behind me at their first ever hockey game ask why the coach didn't call a timeout? I literally didn't have an answer for them. One of the worst coaching jobs and losses i've ever witnessed.
Get ready for 2012-13, hopefully with a new coach.