First off, directly from the Rangers:
With tonight's win, the Rangers tied the franchise record for best start through 12 games, improving to 9-2-1 on the season for 19 points ... The Blueshirts also registered 19 points through 12 games in 1978-79 (8-1-3) and 1989-90 (8-1-3) ... New York's nine wins through 12 games also tied a team record set in 1983-84, when the team began the season with a 9-3-0 record.
As remarkable as that is, it has become apparent that the Rangers are the lone team in the NHL with three home rinks. The passionate Ranger fanbase follows them to Jersey and it follows them out to the Mausoleum. Tonight the Islander fans were clearly outnumbered in their own building and there were dozens of "Let's Go Rangers" chants and 'Potvin Sucks' whistles as the Rangers skated away with a 4-2 win. The kicker was that once the few Isles fans left after the fourth Ranger goal, we started a loud "You Can't Beat Us" chant that reverberated throughout the place. If I didn't loathe the blue and orange so much, I would almost feel bad for them - it really was pathetic.
*Craigslist is awesome. After my initial and secondary plans to go to the game fell through, I went on the classifieds site and found a ticket at half price because it was late afternoon. The best part? It was two rows from the ice in Henrik's corner. The lousy pic of the celebration up top was from my crappy cell. How cool is that??
*After missing a wide open net in the second period, Scott Gomez made up for it with a pretty goal from the doorstep in the third to make it a 3-1 game. Everyone has jumped all over Dru for his scoring woes but Gomez hadn't been much better. Let's hope that this game proves to be just the thing they needed to get in gear because can you imagine just how good the Rangers will be once the big guns start firing?
*The Blueshirts power play remained punchless. Yes, Drury scored one, but they still went 1-8 - which is not particularly good. And after Dru made it a 4-1 game on the third period 5-on-3, there was 3:27 left in that power play and the Rangers not only couldn't score again, but they gave up a shortie which was atrocious. Perry Pearn needs to learn some new tricks or something because he isn't cutting it.
*Wade Redden had a poor game. He was completely culpable in the Islanders first period goal and he was a big part of the incompetence of the power play. He did get a point, but it was a secondary assist that wouldn't/shouldn't have counted on Dru's second goal.
*As for the other defensemen, I won't even speak about
*Aaron Voros was reunited with his Playstation linemates Zherdev and Dubinsky for several shifts but he couldn't find his early season success. He seemed to constantly be on the wrong side of the crease or in the corner when he needed to be in the paint. And he got his ass kicked by Nate Thompson to boot. Sad!
*I just turned on MSG and MSG, NY came on ... which they led off with New Kids on the Block. Not the Ranger/Islander highlight, NKOTB. And then they tried to make a transition from the New Kids to the Isles kids. LAME!!
*Speaking of the Isles youngsters, if Josh Bailey develops and they draft another sniper, then watch out for Kyle Okposo because he is a monster. Not only did he net a goal, but he played a strong game that forced the play on the Rangers. Okposo had one great shift where he worked the puck deep and drew coverage but his pass to the slot went all the way back out of the zone because there was no one there ...
*Petr Prucha and Nigel Dawes both were in the lineup and had a chance or two but were outshone and outworked by their young counterparts on the Isles. Ryan Callahan's hard work finally paid off with the go-ahead goal after he lurked around the slot. When he is physical he is at his best, we need to find how Prucha and Dawes need to play to find the back of the net because we haven't seen either at their best yet.
*Then again, I don't think we have seen the best of Freddie Sjostrom yet either, but in a good way. Sjostrom can play on any line with his speed, smarts and willingness to press the action. If he adds a torrential body check or a scoring touch, then watch out NHL ...
*And the Isles unveiled their third jersey before the game. They didn't wear it, they just unveiled it. It's nice, I guess. They still suck, and no matter that jersey they wear, they always will. You can put lipstick on a pig ... But seriously, this is a shameless money grab to milk what few fans they have left; I feel bad for them. No, not really.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Ryan Callahan - one goal.
2-Michal Rozsival - two assists.
1-Chris Drury - two goals.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Mark Streit - With Brendan Witt out, the Isles lacked a physical force but on this night Streit stepped up. While the Swiss puck mover was still the trigger for their offense but he also was solid on the back end ... probably the only Islander who was.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - Hank made 28 saves and several were of the spectacular sort. There wasn't anything he could have done on the two goals against and without him, the Rangers end up down two or three heading into the second.
1-Scott Gomez - The numbers show he skated a team-high 25:52, won 19 of 27 faceoffs and had a goal and an assist. The numbers don't show how he kept his head up, skated like the wind and kept the Isles on the heels.