The New York Rangers had their four-game winning streak snapped this evening as they were shutout 3-0 by the New York Islanders. The Rangers had the better of the play throughout most of the game, but just couldn’t find a way to break through Islanders’ stifling defense. Semyon Varlamov was another pain in the neck tonight, and picked up yet another shutout as the Rangers just couldn’t catch a bounce in front of the net.
Casey Cizikas (9) - Ryan Pulock (13) - 2:40
Just 2:40 into the opening period, the Islanders got the early chance and were able to open the scoring in the offensive zone. Ryan Pulock made a great play to keep the puck in the zone after swatting down Braden Schneider’s clearing attempt, and made a move to the inside. Alexis Lafrenière was caught watching as Pulock made a move around him, and was never able to recover. Pulock finished the play off with a crisp centering feed to Casey Cizikas who was camped out in front of the net. Igor Shesterkin never really stood much of a chance as the puck was tapped in behind him to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead.
Matt Martin (3) - Matt Barzal (34) & Ross Johnston (5) - 4:48
With the Rangers looking for an answer in the middle frame, they had a great opportunity entering the offensive zone early. Unfortunately, Adam Pelech made a great play at the blue line to strip the puck from Jacob Trouba, and the Islanders were able to transition theother way. The quick change in direction caught some of the Rangers up ice, and Matt Barzal found Matt Martin across the ice with a centering passing. No Ranger was anywhere near Martin, and he ripped a clean shot past the blocker of Igor Shesterkin.
Matt Barzal (14) - Oliver Wahlstrom (11) - 2:47
The Rangers were still searching for the first goal of the game entering the third period, but in nearly identical fashion, the Islanders struck again. A misplay by Braden Schneider in the offensive zone led to the puck sliding past him, and out into the neutral zone. Oliver Wahlstrom was able to turn on the jets to beat Schneider to the puck, and chipped the puck cross ice to Matt Barzal. Barzal was able to fight off the oncoming backchecker, and slipped the puck past Shesterkin on the slight move to his backhand.
The Rangers certainly had the better of the play early in the game, but once the Islanders grabbed the lead, they were able to settle back into their defensive zone. Getting shots through became more difficult by the minute for the Rangers, and they ended up being completely suffocated by the end of the game. It was a frustrating loss, and something the Rangers will need to learn from heading into the playoffs. Nonetheless, the Rangers are still in a playoff spot and have another opportunity to rebound on Sunday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.