After the Islanders defeated the Rangers 4-1 yesterday, I’ve come to the sad conclusion that the Rangers will be beaten by the Islanders fairly easily if they meet in the playoffs.
1) The Rangers have lost all 3 games by I believe 3 goals. They’ve gotten their butts handed to them. They are inside the Rangers heads now and they simply don’t match up well against them.
2) The Islanders can really consistently score goals. They are one of the highest scoring teams in the league. The Rangers scoring while better than the last bunch of years is still widely inconsistent.
3) The Islanders are a fast skating team and can keep pace with the Rangers.
4) The Islanders size bothers the Rangers. The Islanders can park in front of Lundqvist and deflect shots into the net. The Rangers have a lot of difficulty even completing passes trying to get out of their defensive zones. Too often they are forced to just clear the puck out of their zone handing it right back to the Islanders. The size of the Islanders would wear the Rangers down.
5) The Islanders have 4 balanced lines that can score. They are not reliant on just one line.
6) Tavares is simply a world class player. He can score goals but his best attribute is to find the open man with amazing passes that other teams don’t see coming. He sets up so many scoring chances it’s ridiculous.
7) The Islanders are an excellent team and their defense is much better than last year.
I still don’t think that the Islanders have the experience or the penalty killing to win a Stanley cup. However they are a threat this year, in my opinion, to make a deep playoff run.
Hope for the Rangers
The Rangers need to get lucky and somehow avoid playing them in the first round. Another team may match up better against them and maybe would beat them before the Rangers have to play them.
Tavares could get injured. As unlikely as that is, an injury to him would doom the Islanders. An injury to their top goalie would also end their chances.
The Islanders penalty killing is still very weak.
The Islanders goalie is unproven in the playoffs.
I’m one of the few Ranger fans that actually likes the Islanders. So if the Rangers are eliminated, I’d be more than happy to root for the Rangers rival.