Coming off their first loss in seven games, the Rangers needed to show some resilience. And resilient they were in a see-saw 5-3 victory against the Islanders.
After a fairly uneventful first thirteen minutes, Anders Lee drew first blood with his eleventh goal of the season. Alexander Romanov threw a low percentage shot from the point, and the Isles captain jammed home the rebound. The Rangers drew back to back penalties for a 40 second five-on-three powerplay, but the Isles PK clogged up passing and shooting lanes. But after the initial powerplay expired, Artemi Panarin tied the game at one. In a role reversal, Mika Zibanejad set up Panarin for the one-timer in the left circle, and one-time it he did.
The Rangers roving around on the power play a bit more to make some adjustments to the Islanders' penalty killers. Panarin scores from the left circle, with a helper from Zibanejad pic.twitter.com/B7mjVIwebg— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) December 23, 2022
Matthew Barzal struck next, taking advantage of a turnover by Kaapo Kakko high in the Islanders zone. Josh Bailey knocked the puck off Kakko’s stick, and Barzal burned him for a breakaway. The skilled center faked a wrister before beating Igor Shesterkin on the backhand.
Barzal with a BEAUTY. pic.twitter.com/GMtJ1JWeJp— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 23, 2022
The Rangers answered yet again, when Barclay Goodrow blooped the puck into the offensive zone for Julien Gauthier, who turned on the jets and went five hole on Ilya Sorokin. Gauthier has been a healthy scratch lately, but he drew in for Sammy Blais and notched a goal, which is one more goal than Sammy Blais has in his entire Rangers career.
Another adjustment paying off: Barclay Goodrow shifts to the fourth line & sets up Julian Gauthier for the tying goal pic.twitter.com/NXiDpqR6tl— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) December 23, 2022
Unfortunately for the Rangers, there was one more bump in the rollercoaster second, as Romanov put the Islanders up one again on seeing-eye slapper from the point.
Three minutes into the third, the Rangers pulled even yet again, when Goodrow redirected an off-angle wrister from Gauthier. I’ve written in favor of the Goodrow and Gauthier fourth-line combination before, so the two of them linking up for two goals is only reinforcing that notion. The Rangers nearly took their first lead on powerplay, but Zibanejad–you’ll never guess–hit the post.
Late in the period, the Rangers scored on another reversal. K’Andre Miller recovered a bouncing puck away from Barzal, and quickly centered the puck to Kakko, who gave the Rangers their first lead of the game. It was nice to see Kakko notch the game winner after his earlier miscue. I love a good redemption arc. Trocheck later iced the game with an empty netter for a 5-3 final.
This is a really good pass from K'Andre Miller to Kaapo Kakko to set up the go-ahead goal. The defender's really picking it up offensively as of late. pic.twitter.com/H6b75PaiQj— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) December 23, 2022
This was a solid bounceback effort for the Rangers after their win streak came to an end. Despite going down a goal three separate times, the Rangers never let the game get out of hand, and overall got the better of the chances while limiting the Isles to a mere 18 shots on goal. Plus Kakko has been finding twine lately with his fifth goal in the last eight games, K’Andre Miller keeps piling on assists, and the fourth line chipped in their two goals. Good stuff all around.
The Rangers first game after the break will be another Metro match up, this time against the Washington Capitals on December 27.
Until then I wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season!