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The 5 Hole: Hank Dethroned Again

The Rangers (17-8-1) come into town for an opening night rematch against the Isles (9-10-5) in Brooklyn. The Islanders look to get back to .500.  After killing a trademarked ‘too many men’ penalty, the emergency recall himself Scott Mayfield scored a Boychuk esque goal, a slapper from the side wall to put the Islanders up 1-0. Nelson then gets a 4 minute minor for a high stick. It didn’t draw blood which made in controversial in the eyes of Islanders fans. Rangers’ Puempel did leave to undergo the new concussion protocol in which he would not return. An incredible sequence of desperation saves by Halak and all four killers miraculously kept the puck out of the net with about a minute left on the double minor. Nelson is released from the box heads down the wall and takes “pucks to the net” to a new level as a flutter shot hits off Chimera in front for his 3rd goal in 4 games and that put the Isles up 2-0 which is eventually how the 1st period ended.

56 seconds into the second period, Isles “fan-favorite” Jimmy Vesey cut the lead in half and got the Rangers on the board, now 2-1 Isles. But it’s Andrew Ladd that quickly gets the lead back to two only 1:26 later. You read that right. This is Ladd’s third of the season and it came off a rebound that found him in the slot. The tug of war continues as Marc Staal puts on off the post on in after being the fourth Ranger to touch the puck on a well executed 4 on 2. Hank robs Clutterbuck in tight with a fast glove. And now the game starts to get chippy, as expected. Endless net battles at both ends and Lee takes a high sticking penalty in front of the benches which was nicely killed by the Isles PK unit (18 straight kills). Halak comes up with some key saves as time runs out in the second period with the Isles up 3-2.

The Isles PP is 0-11 in their last four games yet the PK is 17-17 in their last seven. Soon after Tavares beautifully feeds Nelson on the rush and a blue and white back-checker hooks Brock and the Isles head back to the PP. JT DOIN’ JT THINGS. A powerplay snipe from the top of the circle ends the powerplay drought and puts the Isles up 4-2. Bailey and Leddy get the assists. For some unknown reason the Rangers didn’t let the Isles touch to puck with a delayed penalty (BRUTAL CALL WITH 2 MINS LEFT) and killed about 45 seconds of 6on4 time. But hey, what are you gonna do.  Another absolutely  brutal call as Hamonic slashes a stick (mirror image of what Hayes just did) with 33 seconds left and its now a 6on3. Yet the Islanders hang on for a HUGE 4-2 and make the .500 mark, FINALLY. Halak fittingly got the first star of the game with another stelar game against the Rags.


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