Much like the first half of this home-and-home between the Islanders and Rangers, a lucky late goal by the road team proved to be the difference. As you can imagine, the Islanders found themselves on the wrong side of the ledger.
Uneventful First Period Was Okay with Everyone
The previous meeting between these two teams on Thursday featured some early fireworks between professional tough guys Ross Johnston, Matt Martin, and Cody McLeod, and that game stayed chippy throughout. It was enough to think that this game might feature some carry-over effects, but there was nothing to be had.
Instead, they traded some dangerous chances and the Islanders had 9 seconds of a 5-on-3, but the opening frame ended tied at 0.
Scoring Opens Immediately After Power Plays
Both teams’ horrendous power plays were the theme of the day, as the teams would combine to go 0/9 on the man advantage, including over :40 of 5-on-3 time for the Rangers and nearly 1:30 of it for the Islanders. But, both teams did manage to get on the board in the second period, shortly after they had power plays end.
As the Islanders saw a 5-on-4 power play finish up, Ryan Pulock worked the puck over to Josh Bailey on the half boards. Bailey found Anthony Beauvillier in front of Alexander Georgiev in a play similar to one Beauvillier just missed on seconds earlier, but this time Beauvillier made a move on the Rangers goalie and snuck it in on the far post.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Brock Nelson and Luca Sbisa both ended up in the box for hooking. The Islanders did manage to kill off both the penalties, including the 5-on-3, but the Rangers kept their feet moving after the power plays ended and capitalized on a Nick Leddy turnover. His missed pass to Jordan Eberle was picked up for a 2-on-1 for the Rangers and by the time anyone else got back, Boo Nieves and Filip Chytil had gotten around Leddy and they beat Robin Lehner over the shoulder. The second period ended tied as well, but at 1.
The Islanders had a 5-on-3 for 1:15 that they weren’t able to score on, making them 0/6 on the man advantage. It would come back to haunt them.
Fluky Goal Gives the Game to the Rangers
With only one penalty called in the third period, the game was able to open up more, but the goalies kept away most of the chances coming their way. It took some skate contact and a few bounces late in the game for the Rangers to get the go-ahead and, ultimately, game-winning goal.
Tony DeAngelo sent the puck toward the front of the net and Mats Zuccarello caught it with his skate as he flew in. Had the puck gone in right off his skate, it likely would have been waved off. But after Zuccarello’s skate, the puck hit Leddy and Lehner before trickling in. The extra contact meant the last touch on the puck was not the kicking motion needed to disallow the goal, and the Rangers went up 2-1 with less than five minutes to play.
The only penalty called in the third was against Valtteri Filppula, for hooking in the offensive zone with just over two minutes to play. It effectively ended the Islanders’ chances at coming back, though they did pull the goalie to even the skaters. Mat Barzal was taken down twice during the sequence but nothing was called, and Mika Zibanejad got away with a couple illegal face-off moves that left Butch Goring fuming. The Rangers got their first win at Barclays Center and snapped their 5-game losing streak.
The Islanders will be back at Barclays Center tomorrow evening, hosting the juggernaut that is the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning play this evening against the Sabres in Buffalo, so our big hope will have to be that Tampa is tired from traveling. Hopefully, the Sabres give them a run for their money and really make them work before losing in regulation.