This was not so much about the offensive zone, the defensive zone or even the neutral zone. This was about the comfort zone that Rangers had never been able to reach in this first battle of New York in the Coliseum for nearly five years.
There was little open ice and no time to play in front of both nets – mostly ahead of Alex Georgievs – and on the boards and in the corners when the Rangers won 3-2.
After the track meeting on Monday in the garden, in which the blues shirts prevailed 6-2 in the first half of the set, this title was played according to the rules of the islanders.
This was won by the Rangers.
"These are the games we lost," said Chris Kreider after scoring a Powerplay goal in the third third at 7:35 p.m. to give his team a pulsating win in front of a charged crowd in an amp to help -up building. "They held us back, they didn't allow us to go into the open ice, play games and tip the ice the way we like to do it. In these circumstances, you just have to hold it and make it stupid."
"We did it. Boys chipped it, won the battles and the second battles. They forced us to play a more difficult game. Alex prevented us from doing so and we answered."
The Rangers shop, even though they fired 22 shots in the first period, in which Georgiev was outstanding and was beaten only once by Josh Bailey after a breakdown at 19:09. These are two goals for Georgiev, who by stopping 70 of 74 strokes in this 2-game sweep simultaneously increased his market value and the value for the Rangers.
"From time to time there is a bit of talk about the deadline, and the closer it gets, the hotter it gets." Every year it matters what the team is in, ”Marc Staal told The Post. "But the guys who were the main themes of the rumors were great for us."
That would be Georgiev and that would be Kreider. And that won't be easy for the front office that is approaching February 24th. Now or in the future? Now or maybe never?
The Rangers have won four of their last five and are six points from a playoff spot. They start playing with authority and bragging rights. They start to look like a unit.
"We're more focused on what we need to do to create our identity," said Staal, who had another strong game in a revival season. "We have some very talented people who like to do plays, but when [the Islanders] Switch off, we could find another way and that's really encouraging.
"It's great to win talent. It's great to win in every way, but when you win a game by working hard and going into battle, it's a really good feeling." It feels better. "
The islanders won the Matt Martin Casey Cizikas Leo Komarov Trial Trio for the Artemi Panarin Ryan Strome Jesper Fast Trio, and it wasn't nice for the Rangers. Panarin was clearly marked, Strome was angry and the blinding of the blues shirts was subdued. Panarin only scored his first shot in the middle of the third half.
"It was a more difficult game," said Staal. "There was a price to pay and we were ready to pay it."
The Rangers equalized at 12:46 p.m. when Mika Zibanejad recorded a Powerplay goal that slipped across the finish line and was not awarded until a video review confirmed that more than a minute had passed. Tony DeAngelo gave his team a 2-1 lead at 4:16 on the third day and drove a short side behind Semyon Varlamov after picking up the puck when he left the box.
But the islanders broke up 2-2 when Anthony Beauvillier beat Georgiev at 12:40 p.m. The game ended and was on its way to extra time when Derick Brassard made an unnecessary countercheck at Fast at 7:06 p.m. Less than half a minute later the power game struck again, the blueshirts now 10 against 29 with the man advantage over the last 10 games.
It becomes a deadly weapon.
So much this season is about the future. However, the Rangers do as much as possible to get a grip on the present.
"We are on the same side. We are committed," said Staal. "We are all in the same boat."
You can find more information about the Rangers in the latest episode of the podcast "Up In The Blue Seats":