Maybe I’m missing something here… but why in the world would a team choose to shoot first in the shootout? I don’t get it. More on this game later today.
Ok, I thought about this one a little more. And, I still don’t get it. I see the point that if your team scores first then it puts the pressure on the other team to match. Ok, point taken, but let’s be honest, it’s a stupid point. There’s a reason the home team in baseball gets last licks. It’s an advantage. Shooting last in a tied shootout is like having the opportunity to hit a walk-off homerun. There is no reason for a team to relinquish that position.
As for the game itself, it really kills me to lose a game like this. The Rangers had a nice comeback to get the game tied, but I felt that the Rangers fell behind in the first place because they had no puck luck at all. The Rangers definitely outplayed the Islanders for the entire first period, only to give up a fluky late goal off Rozsival’s skate. The Islanders 3rd goal was also kind of fluky. Lundqvist struggled to play the puck (thanks to the stupid trapezoid rule) and after the puck popped around to the front of the net, the Islanders simply threw the puck towards the net and it trickled in off a deflection through Lundqvist’s legs.
Lundqvist did not look sharp for a lot of the game. Don’t get me wrong… I think he played well, especially in the shootout, where he made some awesome saves — the right pad save on Comrie was pretty unreal. I’m just saying that for most of the game he didn’t look particularly sharp. As a goalie, I can tell you that there are times where you just don’t feel as sharp as you would like. Maybe you’re fighting the puck a little, or maybe your head is not in the game. Whatever it is, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re playing poorly, but when fluky goals are going in off the inside of your skate or trickling in through your legs, you’re not playing your best.
Is it me, or does Backman look a little overmatched on defense? He was out of position on several occasions, and that was just on Rangers in 60. Plus, there was a play late in the 2nd period where he threw a blind pass behind his own net that went directly to an Islander and led to a scoring chance. I’m not impressed with his play so far and I’d rather see Strudwick for a few games, at least until Backman has had more time to practice with his new teammates.
The Rangers penalty killing gets an A+ for this game.