The Tom Wilson game created all the fuss, but by the time May 3 hit the Garden, the decision had already been made to leave the leadership team of Chairman John Davidson and General Manager Jeff Gorton.
And if there was a team responsible for the decision executed by Garden President Jim Dolan (other than the Rangers), it wasn’t the Capitals.
It was the islanders.
And the dates and games that Dolan probably circled were April 20, when the Blueshirts were beaten 6-1 at the Coliseum in a game when Jacob Trouba was concussed in the first half on a legal hit from Matt Martin; and on April 29 at the Garden, when Ryan Lindgren was suspected of having suffered a concussion in the third period following a collision the defenseman initiated with Cal Clutterbuck in a second straight embarrassment of a loss, this one by 4-0.
(There was another humiliation to come two days later on Long Island in a 3-0 loss in which Martin gleefully nudged Mika Zibanejad without any semblance of retaliation the rest of the way, but at this By then, the Rangers were decimated and the team demoralized with a week to go to the end of the season.)
The Rangers’ inability to compete against the Islanders throughout the season, 2-5-1 as they have been shut out four times and physically dominated, has raised alarm bells throughout the organization. The Islanders, and in particular the identity line consisting of Martin, Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas, were the bullies on the beach kicking the sand in the collective face of the Rangers.
But not now. Not this year.
Because the Rangers didn’t just take any embarrassment from the Islanders during the new digs at Belmont the day before Thanksgiving, they had the fourth row that dominated the action, oh yes they did in that 4-1 win. on the Islanders’ linen-clad skeleton team.
The Blueshirts took the initiative. The Blueshirts responded, not once but twice when they thought Ryan Lindgren had taken an unrecalled headshot from JG Pageau at 13:37 in the third period – and the first responders were none other than Adam Fox and Alex Lafrenière.
“It’s like we’re in the movie ‘Interstellar’,” said Ryan Reaves, who helped create two Kevin Rooney goals, the second of which came from No.75’s stellar double backhand. “Parallel Universe, I didn’t know what was going on. It was fun.”
You don’t have to tell me the Islanders took to the ice with a team of skeletons, ravaged by a combination of COVID-19 and injuries that have sidelined Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey, Ryan Pulock, among others. , Adam Pelech, Andy Greene and Zdeno Chara. But it’s hockey, Suzyn, or at least it’s hockey as administered by NHL headquarters.
Still, the two points the Rangers have earned are not devalued. Still, the Rangers 12-4-3 took a 15-point lead over the Islanders 5-9-2, who have lost seven straight games in regulation by three or more goals and were outscored by a total of 31- 7 during this nightmarish start. in the season that may have nowhere to go.
And there’s also this: A year ago – yes, we’re time traveling again – the Rangers faced New Jersey at the Garden after the Devils were shut down for two weeks and trained once in the garden. ‘interval. Guess what? New Jersey 5, New York 2.
“Every team has good players in the minors, good hungry players who come into the system that you know want to prove themselves when they do it here,” said Reaves, whose fourth line with Rooney and center Barclay Goodrow has been for three of the club’s last five goals five-on-five. “You can’t take teams like that lightly because sometimes they are the hungrier teams. If you take them lightly, they will walk right in your throat.
When Lindgren was belted onto the boards by Pageau, Fox followed the center and dragged him down. Lafrenière later faced Pageau, the two dropping their gloves, the kid from Saint-Eustache landing the first major fight of his career as well as applause from his comrades.
“I think we were all [proud of him]”said Chris Kreider, who has scored two more to bring his total to 15 in 19 games, with 11 in the last 11 games.” It was awesome.
“He loves to mix things up. He likes to play with an advantage.
Jacob Trouba had another important game, with his pair including K’Andre Miller taking on more and more responsibility. The Blueshirts fought on the walls, they clashed in the dirty areas. The fourth line, according to Kreider, “They were monsters.”
Number 20 was not about Clutterbuck, Martin and Cizikas.