The New York Rangers dropped their second of three meetings with the New York Islanders this evening as they were shutout 2-0 on home ice. The Blueshirts had plenty of chances to breakthrough on the scoreboard, but Semyon Varlamov stood tall in the crease and picked up his second straight shutout against the Rangers. Igor Shesterkin got his third straight start in net for the Rangers, and despite the lone defensive breakdown, he put together another solid performance.
Casey Cizikas (2) - Matt Martin (2) & Adam Pelech (3) - 11:15
It took a little over 51 minutes to find the opening goal in this game, and unfortunately, it would be the Islanders jumping out in front. Libor Hajek’s erroneous no-look pass through the middle of the ice gave the Islanders the chance they were looking for, and it ended up in the back of the net. The point shot by Adam Pelech was able to create chaos in front of Igor Shesterkin, and after a few quick bounces, Casey Cizikas slammed home the rebound. The Rangers just weren’t able to pickup bodies in front of the net following the turnover, and they found themselves down by a goal.
Matt Martin (1) - Cal Clutterbuck (3) & Mathew Barzal (8) - 13:20
Things went from bad to worse for the Rangers as the Islanders’ fourth line answered again nearly two minutes later. Cal Clutterbuck was able to loft a perfect centering pass onto the tape of Matt Martin, who tapped home his first goal of the season. Another defensive miscue led to the goal against off to the left of Shesterkin, and the second goal pretty much put the nail in the coffin for the Blueshirts.
This was a disappointing loss in the sense that the Rangers probably deserved a better outcome at the end of 60 minutes. They generated a handful of high quality chances in the offensive zone, but they just couldn’t find a way to solve the red hot Varlamov. From a defensive perspective, the Rangers continue to play very well in their own end. Tonight simply came down to a lone mistake by Libor Hajek on his erroneous turnover, and that wound up being the difference maker in the end.
Following tonight’s tough loss, the Rangers will regroup tomorrow before returning to action on Wednesday for a two-game set against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden.