The New York Rangers’ four-game winning streak was halted this evening as they were defeated 6-1 by the New York Islanders. The Blueshirts fell behind 3-0 early in the second period, and were never able to recover even after scoring a goal of their own. Igor Shesterkin, who was under siege all night long, turned in a 22-save effort but his team didn’t give him much help.
Josh Bailey (7) - Jean-Gabriel Pageau (14) & Anthony Beauvillier (8) - 17:42
The Rangers’ puck management was a glaring issue all throughout the first period, but it finally bit them in the behind at the 17:42 mark. The Islanders were able to keep the pressure on in the offensive zone, and they forced the Rangers into a costly turnover. Anthony Beauvillier was able to find Jean-Gabriel Pageau cutting through the middle of the ice, and found open ice in the high slot.
Rather than driving the net, Pageau laid off a quick backhand pass to Josh Bailey at the top of the crease. Bailey wound up lifting Anthony Bitetto’s stick in the process, and that gave him body position to deflect home the pass.
Brock Nelson (16) - Nick Leddy (25) & Kyle Palmieri (10) - 1:38
Just a minute into the second period, the Rangers’ defensive woes continued as the Islanders doubled up their lead. An intended pass by Mika Zibanejad was cut off by Kyle Palmieri and he was able to move the puck to the middle of the ice.
Nicky Leddy was able to collect the pass while skating into the zone, and hesitated for half a second as he inched closer to Igor Shesterkin. Leddy eventually shoveled a pass to the front of the net, and Brock Nelson was in perfect position to deflect the puck. Igor Shesterkin never stood a chance with the amount of traffic in front and the Islanders took a 2-0 lead.
Anthony Beauvillier (9) - Noah Dobson (10) & Jordan Eberle (16) PPG - 5:45
A little over four minutes later, the Islanders continued pressuring and were rewarded with their second power play of the game. The Rangers did a pretty good job of keeping a majority of the play to the perimeter, but a fortunate bounce gave the Islanders a chance. A blocked shot by Kevin Rooney sent the puck to the opposite side of the ice, and Anthony Beauvillier jumped on the rebound. Igor Shesterkin was still searching for the puck when the shot came in on goal, and never reacted in time as the Islanders jumped out to a three-goal lead.
Kevin Rooney (7) - Brendan Smith (5) & Vitali Kravtsov (2) - 11:04
The Rangers just needed something to break their way so they could grab back some of the momentum, and a goal by Kevin Rooney got the Blueshirts on the board. Hard work down below the goal line gave the Rangers possession of the puck, and Vitali Kravtsov worked the puck back up high to the blue line. Brendan Smith stepped into a wrist shot after skating into a shooting lane, and let a shot fly towards Semyon Varlamov.
Kevin Rooney was skating through the middle of the ice, and got just enough of the puck to change the direction of the shot. Semyon Varlamov never saw the shot as it sailed under his left arm, and Rooney brought the Rangers partially back to life.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (13) - Anthony Beauvillier (9) & Josh Bailey (20) - 7:44
With the Rangers needing a big period to jump back into the game, they did quite the opposite with their defensive zone coverage. The Islanders just simply outworked the Rangers below their own goal line and were able to find a gap in coverage. Anthony Beauvillier found Jean-Gabriel Pageau wide open in the high slot and Pageau wired a one-timer past Igor Shesterkin.
Josh Bailey (8) - Anthony Beauvillier (10) - Andy Greene (4) - 10:16
Not even three minutes later, the wheels completely fell off as the Islanders struck once again to extend their lead to four goals. Josh Bailey was able to find wide open ice as he flew down the right side, and opened up for a one-timer. Anthony Beauvillier fought off two checks, spun halfway to his backhand a laid off of a perfect pass to Bailey. Igor Shesterkin did all he could to challenge the shot at the top of the crease, but couldn’t get his blocker on the puck.
Jordan Eberle (15) - Travis Zajac (12) - 11:22
At this point, the Rangers were dead in the water with occurred several minutes prior, and the Islanders made it a 6-1 game. Another odd-man rush against led to Jordan Eberle breaking in on the right side of the ice, and shoveled a backhand past Shesterkin.
This was probably the worst possible scenario for the Rangers, as they not only got dominated tonight, but their playoff hopes took a pretty big hit. With the Bruins seemingly never losing another game, the Rangers now sit six behind the final playoff spot with ten games remaining. It’s certainly not going to be easy, but the Rangers will look to get back to their winning ways on Thursday as they host the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden.