I am not going to be too analytical today because, 1) it’s late in the day already; 2) I didn’t see the game live, only caught Rangers in 60 and the Marty Lovefest on the Hockey Night show; and 3) there’s not much that really needs to be analyzed.
This is what you get. This is what this team is. It is an on-the-bubble team that some nights will beat very good teams, some nights will beat bad teams, some nights will get annihilated by very good teams and some nights will be beaten by very bad teams. I know that’s simple, but what else can you say? It’s a team that is right in the pile of slop that resides between sixth and 13th place in the Leastern Conference. To say they played down to the Islanders might be accurate, but it’s not like the Islanders are that much worse. They may turn out to be better.
And when you look at the four-game winning streak that preceded the OT loss last night, which ones were convincing? The one against Florida. They could have lost the other three. Just as they could have won the two games they lost before the streak. This is what they are.
In terms of analysis, the Islanders goalie was better than the Rangers goalie on this night; the Islanders jumped on some pucks better than the Rangers did (until that tying goal, at least); and the Rangers made more mistakes.
I will say this about Ales Kotalik. If you’re going to have a forward play the point, then you, the coaches, have to drill him on being a defensemen, or having to defend, against odd-man rushes. The forward on the point isn’t going to face short-handed defensive-zone play. He’s going to face odd-man rushes only. So if I’m the coach, I have him practice those over and over and over again. What’s the harm in that? You have him somewhat prepared to handle a 2-on-1, or even a 1-on-1. You school him on what happens when a teammate goes for the puck along the wall and doesn’t get it. On what to do when the opponent comes across the offensive zone to the middle of the ice. What would it take, an extra hour of practice every week, just him and an assistant coach? Can’t fit in an extra hour for $3 mill a year? And if he can’t handle those, then he can’t play the point. (and we all know, if he can’t play the point, then he can’t play).
But I am definitely not dumping the blame for this game on Kotalik, who surely will be prucha’d next game.