Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Islanders 3, Rangers 2
After the Red Sox victory this afternoon, I attended my first hockey game at Madison Square Garden tonight in about ten years, and witnessed a great game with my buddy Gareth. The Islanders held off the Rangers, 3-2, in an exciting contest with a tremendous third period.
I have been an Islander fan for over 30 years, and it's been tough sledding this season for them. They dumped a lot of high priced veterans at the trading deadline. They are rebuilding once again, and will soon be rid of Mike Milbury, the GM who annually seems to turn the Islanders into a mess. They have some good young players, but are nowhere near a playoff berth this season.
The Rangers are going to the playoffs for the first time since 1997. They sure didn't play like it for the first two periods tonight. They gave a lackluster effort, while the Islanders worked hard and had a 3-0 lead going into the third. Miroslav Satan scored twice for the Islanders. (I've always thought it would be ironic if he ended up playing for the Devils one day.) The Rangers fans let the home team know their displeasure, as they were booed lustily when they left the ice after the second period.
Rangers fans are a strange bunch. They still chant "Potvin Sucks" despite the fact that Denis Potvin of the Islanders retired over 17 years ago. And I always believed that the injury suffered by Ulf Nilsson that the Ranger fans blame him for was not his fault. I guess old habits die hard. They also chanted "Your Season's Over" at the Islanders in the second period, and seconds later the Isles scored.
But the Rangers came back in the third, scoring in the first three minutes, and then during a two-man advantage midway through the period. But Rick DiPietro of the Islanders (pictured above) was a stalwart in goal, stopping 22 shots alone in the third, as the Rangers threw the kitchen sink at him and couldn't tie it up. He was the player of the game without question.
It's a lost year for the Islanders, but it was good to see them get a little dignity back, and go into the lion's den of Madison Square Garden and get a well-deserved win.