Despite everything that’s happened this season, rivalry games always mean more, and beating the Rangers is always lots of fun.
Three goals from the Isles, a well-earned shutout, and a sort-of fight that Anders Lee handily won, gave this game just about everything Isles fans could ask for in a tough season.
The Nelson line dominated their first shift, but Artemi Panarin had the best chance to start, hitting the post.
It would be the Islanders striking first, though, as Ryan Pulock made a great pass to Casey Cizikas, who very, very lightly tapped the puck in to make it 1-0.
What a play by Ryan Pulock Casey just needs to keep his stick on the ice and it's 1-0 pic.twitter.com/BGWV6lxe5f— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) April 1, 2022
Grant Hutton was called for tripping, but the Isles killed the penalty despite the Rangers controlling the puck for basically the entire time.
Andrew Copp high sticked Brock Nelson, setting up an Isles power play. However, that power play was terrible, barely getting in the zone at all.
Oliver Wahlstrom took a good penalty to prevent a great Adam Fox chance, tripping him in the slot. The Isles killed that penalty, too, and after the PK, Mat Barzal nearly set up Anders Lee for a shot.
Copp had a shot saved by Varlamov, as the Rangers dominated the second early on. Despite that dominance, Matt Martin would make it 2-0 off a great pass from Barzal. An Adam Pelech pokecheck started the play, as Ross Johnston picked up the puck after that, got it to Barzal, and then Matt Martin put the puck past Igor Shesterkin.
The Islanders would get their second power play of the night as Ryan Lindgren was called for high sticking.
Barclay Goodrow had a shorthanded chance that hit Varlamov in the mask, and that was the best chance for either team on the Isles’ man advantage.
Cizikas was taken down as Ryan Reaves picked up the Rangers’ third high sticking penalty of the game, sending the Isles to the power play once again.
Barzal had a one timer saved and Brock Nelson shot high, and the Rangers killed that penalty.
JG Pageau had a breakaway saved by Shesterkin, and at the other end, Anthony Beauvillier had a rough giveaway in the slot that forced Zdeno Chara to break up a solid shot attempt.
Josh Bailey had a heater of a shot saved by Shesterkin at the close of the period.
Wahlstrom got a semi-breakaway, and decided to hang onto the puck until some reinforcements got on the ice. He passed the puck off to Barzal who went right to the net and teased a pass before backhanding it past Shesterkin for his 300th NHL point.
Ollie Trolley with the after burners and Barzy's backhand beats Shesty pic.twitter.com/a3l5YwFTEj— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) April 2, 2022
Varlamov made a couple of big saves on Mika Zibanejad in tight, and then Anders Lee was called for interference after hitting Lindgren in retaliation for Lindgren’s own hit on Beauvillier.
Zibanejad hit Copp in front with a one timer, and Varlamov saved a shot from Alexis Lafreniere.
Lee and Goodrow fought, after both Jacob Trouba and Goodrow went after Lee, and Lee and Goodrow picked up roughing minors. Goodrow got an extra two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct, sending the Isles to the power play again.
Tyler Motte had a shorthanded breakaway that Pageau broke up, then Adam Fox passed it off to Copp and Copp sent a shot wide through the crease, missing a wide open net.
Kyle Palmieri had a one timer saved by Shesterkin, who then made two saves on Bailey.
With 7:30 left, the Rangers pulled Shesterkin for an extra skater, but had to put him back in after playing the puck with a high stick.
Copp had a shot go wide and Filip Chytil had a shot in tight go off the post.
After that, the Rangers never pulled the goalie again, and the Islanders closed out the game with the 3-0 victory and Varlamov’s fourth straight shutout at Madison Square Garden.
Panarin (via translator): “We came out and shit our pants out there.”— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) April 2, 2022
Next, the Islanders head to the Prudential Center to take on the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. 5pm start time, should be a fun one with a bunch of traveling Isles fans.