Originally written on Blue Seat Blogs  |  Last updated 4/22/12

UNIONDALE, NY - JANUARY 12: John Tavares #91 of the New York Islanders looks on during the game against the Detroit Red Wings at the Nassau Coliseum on January 12, 2010 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Well, last night’s game was the definition of a trap game, and the Rangers fell into that trap, falling to the New York Tavares’ Islanders 4-2 last night. There’s not much to really discuss from this game, so let’s get to the bullets:
  • John Tavares is really, really good.
  • That said, Tavares’ first goal was a product of the Rangers not clearing the front of the net. This is an issue that is going to plague the Rangers until both Mike Sauer and Marc Staal come back form injury. That could be a reason why they recalled Brendan Bell, who plays a bit more of a physical game.
  • Two Islanders goals were scored on the powerplay. Not surprising, considering the Rangers took eight penalties. Sooner or later it was going to bite them, and it did last night.
  • The refs were not to blame for that loss. The call on Ryan Callahan’s interference was a legitimate call, he was barely touched. Marian Gaborik also had a lazy penalty late in the third that killed any kind of momentum the Rangers could muster.
  • That said, there were some questionable calls, but you cannot blame the loss on the refs. Good teams never allow the refs to control their fate.
  • There are going to be games where the Brandon Dubinsky-Artem Anisimov-Ryan Callahan line has off nights. Last night was one of them. Ouch.
  • No powerplay goals yet. It’s still early, but that’s not a good thing. It’s not like Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik are playing poorly, because they aren’t. The Islanders didn’t have much of an answer for that duo and Derek Stepan last night. They just can’t seem to execute with the man advantage. No goals on the powerplay is an issue, but it’s not likely to last. They will click at some point, it’s only been three games.
  • That top line was pretty good last night. Stepan is a nice fit there. I forgot who it was on this blog that said it, but kudos to you. Seriously. Those top two lines are now set, and assuming the third line of Ruslan Fedotenko-Brian Boyle-Brandon Prust stays together, it’s just the fourth line that will need some work.
  • Speaking of the fourth line, should we even bother calling it a line? It’s clear from the ice time that John Tortorella only rolls three lines.
  • Of course, the fourth line is a hodgepodge of crap. Mats Zuccarello, who was invisible for a third straight game, was demoted. Erik Christensen is, well, Erik Christensen. Mike Rupp doesn’t have anyone to mesh with because Zuccarello and Christensen are skill guys, he is not. The addition of Kris Newbury will give him someone who can grind it out with him. Personally, I’d like to see a Marty Reasoner type fourth line player as the last guy on that line. It’s clear neither Christensen or Wojtek Wolski are really needed with those top three lines clicking.
The Rangers have a tough road trip to Western Canada coming up, starting with the Canucks on Tuesday. In those four games (eight points total), I think they need to come back with at least five points, which is no easy task. At least it will be out of the way early.

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