-Updated 2:15 Friday-
Paul Mara sprained his shoulder in last night's third period collision with the boards, and is almost certainly out for tomorrow's game. Marek Malik looks to play with Michal Rozsival and Marc Staal should shift down with Jason Strudwick. As much as I like Staal with Rozsival as the top pairing, there is no way you can put Strudwick and Malik together. That's like pairing Sandis Ozolinsh and Aaron Ward together. The results would be catastrophic, especially against the potent offense of Ottawa. The good news is that the injury is minor, and Mara isn't expected to miss much time. He has been playing pretty well as of late, so it's tough to see him go down.
The Rangers defeated the Islanders for the first time this season 4-2 at the Garden last night. It was a great game all around, with the Rangers finally getting some production from the people they are paying to score, excellent goaltending and all the extra that comes with a good rivalry. Some quick hits on the game:
Offensive production - Chris Drury, Jaromir Jagr and Scott Gomez scored goals tonight. We have been waiting for that all season. Brandon Dubinsky scored the fourth goal with only a few minutes left in the game. The first line looked amazing, and Jagr played a strong game.
Defense - Dan Girardi shook off a couple of bad games to look more like his old self again. There are still some holes that are opening up now that we're there in the beginning of the season, but they continue to play well.
Goaltending - Great goaltending from both ends of the ice. I have no idea how Rick DiPietro scrambled back to stop Marc Staal's shot from crossing the goal line. Henrik Lundqvist was solid again in the net, and he'll have to keep that up heading into tomorrow's game against Ottawa.
Officiating - Well, it was poor at best again last night. There were some good calls, some bad calls, some missed calls and some awful calls. I hate the little tap of the stick on the hands equalling a hooking penalty. It happened to Drury and to Bill Guerrin last night. Colton Orr getting mugged by Brendan Witt and Chris Simon after a late hit (he deserved the two minutes for the hit) somehow netted the Islanders a powerplay. Simon got away again. He got his later on against Orr, although I think he was a little off balance to start.
The Rangers are back against the Senators tomorrow afternoon in a Saturday matinee matchup. Paul Mara went hard into the boards at the end of the game last night and was bleeding on the bench, but if he's healthy he should be in there. Marek Malik should remain on the bench for this game. Ryan Callahan looked great in his first game back as well. Back tomorrow with updates.