Jimmy Vesey on Scoreboard-Watching: ‘People Call Me a Loser’

Noah Dobson #8 of the New York Islanders checks Vincent Trocheck #16 of the New York Rangers

Getty Noah Dobson #8 of the New York Islanders checks Vincent Trocheck #16 of the New York Rangers

The New York Rangers dropped the latest installment of the Battle of New York to the Islanders on Tuesday, April 9, falling 4-2 on the road and having to wait a few more days to clinch their first Metropolitan Division title since 2015.

It took the Islanders less than 14 minutes into the first period to score three goals in a span of 10 minutes to go up 3-0 and nearly call it a day in their game against the Rangers.

“They came out with more intensity than we did,” Vesey told reporters in his postgame press conference on April 9. “They’re playing for their life.”

Mike Reilly, Bo Horvat, and Kyle Palmieri scored the first three goals of the game, all of them for the Islanders, and the Rangers found themselves down barely past the halfway point of the first period.

The loss to the Islanders means the Rangers will have to either one two more games or win one while the Carolina Hurricanes lose one themselves for New York to clinch the Metropolitan Division title this season.

“I follow the league, Vesey told reporters about checking scoreboards after every game. “People honestly call me a loser for how closely I follow it, but I like to see the different scenarios and how it plays out.

“I think everyone is aware of what’s going on.”

Rangers Still Waiting to Know Stanley Cup Playoffs Matchup

Depending on where the Rangers finish the season they will have to face a different opponent to open the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Entering the slate of games scheduled for Wednesday, April 10, New York is still the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and is projected for a matchup against the Washington Capitals as the second wild-card team in the East.

That, of course, can still change in many ways with a few games remaining in all teams’ schedules. The Rangers could also face the Detroit Red Wings, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Islanders, or the Philadelphia Flyers.

“Even though we’ve played some teams that are in similar situations to [the Islanders], I don’t think anyone’s come out that hard against us,” Vesey told reporters. “That was the difference in the game.”

Vesey thinks the Islanders beat the Rangers on Tuesday as they entered the game more desperate and applying more intensity than the Blueshirts did. Rangers’ defenseman Jacob Trouba agreed.

“That’s the level we’ve got to get to to start ramping our game up for the playoffs,” Trouba said after the game.

It was an awful start to Tuesday’s game for the Rangers. Defenseman Ryan Lindgren deflected a shot by Reilly into his own net to give the Islanders the 1-0 lead. The hosts doubled their lead following a turnover by Erik Gustafsson that led to Horvat redirecting a Noah Dobson shot in. Then, Palmieri beat Gustafsson in front of the Rangers net for the 3-0 goal.

Even then, the Blueshirt’s power-play unit was its usual excellent self and nearly pulled off the comeback.

The Rangers scored on two of three power-play chances, first with Chris Kreider tipping in a shot by Artemi Panarin, and second when Adam Fox scored above the slot to make it 3-2 with five minutes to go in the second period.

“The puck was on our stick the entire second and third period,” Rangers’ head coach Peter Laviolette told reporters after the game on April 9.

Rangers Livid After “Intentional, Vicious” Hits by the Islanders

The third period was a heated one because the Islanders wanted it to develop that way, as documented by Heavy following the game.

“I didn’t want to watch the (Mika Zibanejad hit) replay,” Vesey told reporters, “but the way he was moving on the ice–or not moving, depending how you want to put it–it’s kind of scary.”

Vesey was referencing Adam Pelech‘s hit on Rangers’ center Zibanejad midway through the final frame, one that left the Blueshirts forward lying on the ice until he was helped off it by members of the staff.

“[Zibanejad] is a big part of our team, a big part of our locker room,” Vesey said. “It sucks to see something like that.”

Vincent Trocheck was also targeted by the Islanders late in the game with fewer than 20 seconds left to play.

“Vicious, from behind,” Laviolette said about Dobson’s hit on Trocheck. “It was hard out there tonight having to get through all of that.

Trocheck argued the no-boarding call face-to-face with the main referee on Tuesday’s game following the empty-net goal by the Isles that completed the final 4-2 score. Trocheck was ejected from the game following that exchange.

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