Eric Staal scored his first goal as a New York Ranger last night, as well as his first assist, in a game that featured a hectic first period with 7 goals being scored between two heated rivals. The Islanders scored 3 goals in short order within the first five minutes of the game and were dominating play. The Rangers didn’t get their first shot on goal until after the ten minute mark of the first period, coming off the stick of Eric Staal. That got the ball rolling for New York, scoring two goals in short order themselves, with the first, scored by Oscar Lindberg, assisted by Staal. Right after the Islanders made it 4-2, Eric went to the front of the net, and, as a shot from the point bounced off him, knock it in past the goaltender. It was nice to see that enthusiasm he showed in his celebration again, something that had been missing for a couple years. He factored in on the 4th goal, scored on the powerplay, by winning the face-off and going to the front of the net, taking away Halak’s vision. Unfortunately for the Rangers, a lost face-off in their own zone led to the game-winning goal right off the draw. I still don’t get why Stepan, a 45% face-off man, was out there for the most important draw of the game. Taking Eric, who had won 16 of 18 draws at that point of the game, off the ice really was not a smart move. He was by far the most dominant player the entire game, especially in the circle. At least have Dominic Moore, another strong center on the face-off, take the draw if Staal had to be taken off, but instead of one of those two, the Rangers choose a weak face-off center. It just doesn’t make sense. 6-4 was the final score.
Here’s Staal’s first goal as a Ranger.