The New York Islanders did a lot of things well in their 1-0 overtime loss to the Rangers Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum. They battled for lose pucks, cleared the puck from their zone, got outstanding goaltending and had several good scoring chances. It wasn’t enough, however, to get the club more than one point. Dan Girardi scored the only goal of the game at 3:11 of overtime and Henrik Lundqvist made 28 saves as the Rangers won 1-0.
Isles goalie Evgeni Nabokov was outstanding, making 19 saves and helping his team earn a point. The veteran was pleased with the game his team played in front of him.
“It’s tough to swallow that pill, to play the way we played and lose in overtime, but there’s a lot of positives,” Nabokov said. “Both teams were battling and I think both teams deserve a point.” The goalie also described this game as “playoff hockey.”
Nabokov’s teammates also appreciated the strong game he played. “He’s been an absolute rock for us out there,” Isles forward Josh Bailey said. “Everyone knows how well Nabby’s played.”
Throughout the game, the Islanders had the better of the play. Coach Jack Capuano was pleased that “we didn’t play in our zone for an extended period of time.”
The Isles outshot the Rangers in all three periods of hockey and even held the visitors to just three shots on goal in the third period. The Isles were the more aggressive team for most of the game as well.
“It’s tough but we got a point and I think we can take a lot of positives out of this game,” explained Isles forward Josh Bailey. “We played a pretty solid game. I think we would have liked to have put a couple home, but all in all it was a solid game.”
Both goalies were outstanding and both teams clanked several shots off the post or cross bar.
The Islanders were upset late in the game when a controversial penalty was called on Kyle Okposo with just 1:00 remaining in regulation time. It gave the Rangers a final chance to win the game and the power play carried over into overtime. But the Islanders penalty killers were equal to the occasion and killed off the penalty.
In the end, however, it was Girardi who scored the only goal of the game, taking a good pass from Derick Brassard and beating Nabokov over his shoulder for the game winner.
The atmosphere at the Nassau Coliseum was more intense for a Rangers-Islanders game than it has been in years. “I’ve been here three years, and that’s the loudest crowd I’ve heard,” defenseman Travis Hamonic told the Associated Press. “There was a lot of hype surrounding the game right from the start, and on the ice it was really loud. You could really feel the energy. It’s unfortunate, because it would’ve been real nice to score a goal and hear the crowd erupt. “It makes you want to get [to the playoffs]. I’m sure it would be even crazier.”
In the end, the Isles got a point from the game which left them in seventh place, one point ahead of the Rangers. The Islanders return to action Tuesday night for their final home game of the regular season when they host the Florida Panthers. Islanders tickets are available for this and other games.
Attendance was 16,170.
The Islanders Brad Boyes played in the 600th game of his NHL career.
The Islanders scratched Anders Lee, Radek Martinek, Marty Reasoner and Eric Boulton. Roman Hamrlik and Matt Gilroy were the Rangers scratches.
The Islanders are now 8-1-2 in their last 11 games.