Postgame 1/29/14: Rangers Defeat Islanders 2-1 at Yankee Stadium

A special night at Yankee Stadium for the NHL Stadium Series as the Islanders/Rangers rivalry added history by playing outdoor at this historic venue. The conditions were not what fans and the players are used to with a 22 degree game time temperature and playing in front of over 50,000 fans under the lights.

For the game itself, the Rangers were playing their 2nd consecutive outdoor game having defeated the Devils 7-3 on Sunday at Yankee Stadium and overall having played in their 3rd outdoor game in franchise history. This was the first outdoor game for the Islanders and as Chris King noted on the radio broadcast it was only the 3rd time in Islanders history that a regular season home game was played at a venue other than Nassau Coliseum. (Photo Credit: John Santamaria)

The goaltending matchup featured Evgeni Nabokov for the Islanders making his first start since being activated from injured reserve on Monday and Henrik Lundquist for the Rangers. The first period ended scoreless but the Islanders got a majority of the scoring chances despite seeing a lot of conservative play from both teams. The adjustment of the outdoors and the lights at Yankee Stadium were certainly an adjustment needed to get comfortable. Goaltending and puck management were the strengths of the opening scoreless period.

The game remained scoreless through most of the 2nd period until Brock Nelson gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead late in the period. The lead didn’t last long, 40 seconds after Nelson scored it was Benoit Pouliot who tied the game for the Rangers as the 2nd period ended in a 1-1 tie. The Rangers answered again on the score sheet early in the 3rd period as Daniel Carcillo gave them a 2-1 lead which would be the eventual game winning goal. The Islanders were outshot 14-6 in the third period, but Nabokov kept them in the game right to the end making 32 saves. (Photo Credit: Shawn Thomas)

Despite the loss it was a memorable night for the Islanders and their fans to take the game of hockey outdoors. I had the honor of being at the game as did our Islanders Checking Line editor Rob McGowan and fellow staff writer Pete Paguaga. Having been to Yankee Stadium for many baseball games over the years it was certainly different watching a hockey game there. The cold weather was a challenge but as all the fans did we made the best of the experience and enjoyed every minute of it. Some areas were more difficult to view the game opposed to others. In all of these outdoor games I have noticed it more challenging to build a rink in the baseball parks.

For me it was special to attend this as it was a game I circled on the calendar when the NHL announced the Stadium Series was coming to Yankee Stadium. As my dad says with these outdoor games, it takes these players back to their routes of how they learned the game as kids. It was an experience like no other hockey game I’ve ever gone to before. (Photo Credit: NHL)

-John Santamaria

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