Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
A span of 2:45 saw a 1-1 game turn into a 3-1 Ranger lead, and eventually a 4-1 Blue Shirt win. Derek Brassard scored the game winner, and Brad Richards and Ryan McDonagh scored the insurance goals for New York.
“It was fairly even game. I think when they pushed and we didn’t respond like we normally do,” Thomas hickey said. “Their goalie was phenomenal and made some really good saves. They earned their chances and definitely had some grade A’s that we didn’t really have an answer to in the third period.”
Another slow start put the Islanders at an early disadvantage. With the Rangers buzzing to start the first period, Brian Boyle found the back of the net 3:29 into the period. Marc Staal fired a shot from the point that Boyle was able to redirect in front.
It wasn’t until late in the second period that the Isles evened the score at one. Calvin de Haan had a shot from the point go off the glove of Ranger goaltender Henrik Ludnqvist and bounce right to Kyle Okposo, who buried the rebound.
The game would remain tied at one until midway through the third period. The Rangers had an extra attacker on the ice due to a delayed penalty that was going to be called on the Islanders. Mats Zuccarello passed over to Marc Staal, who sent a cross-ice feed to Brassard that he put home and gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead.
Richards gave the Rangers some wiggle room scoring less than three minutes later to make it 3-1 and McDonagh scored the empty net goal with one second left in the game.
The loss was the Isles fifth in a row and over that span the Islanders have picked up just one of the 10 points available.
“It’s so magnified for us now,” John Tavares said. “The wins we need and the points we need, and it’s no secret. This loss, the outdoor game, the game before that. They’re all important games and we’ve had some opportunities going into third periods being in games. We haven’t gotten the job done.”
The Islanders are continuing to struggle getting their offense going. They had 39 shots on Lundqvist, but had just one goal to show for it and the Islanders power play did not convert on any of their chances Friday night.
“They’re making the plays, obviously they have opportunities,” Islander Coach Jack Capuano said. “From the bench it looked like a couple of them had eyes and were going to go in. I don’t think the power play was good. I think that we still got around the perimeter and we had opportunities to shoot the puck.
“That was a little bit of a disappointment for me tonight.”
The blue and orange now sit nine points out of a playoff spot and have three games before the Olympic break. On Tuesday they take on the Washington Capitals in the nation’s capital before returning to the Nassau Coliseum to play Calgary and Colorado.
Getting points from the next three games is something the team knows it must do, but they are trying to take things one step at a time.
“It’s gotta be one game at a time, but you’d be stupid if you don’t look at the big picture,” Hickey said. We need the points, we need every point especially before this break here. Every point’s going to matter. The one’s that matter most are the two in front of you.”