NYR 2, NYI 3: Four-Letter Word Abound as Bounces Favor Isles

3/22/2017 (45-25-4) NYR VS NYI   (Home) Game | Event | Play-by-Play | FO Sum. | FO Comp. | TOI – NYR | TOI – NYI | Shot Report | Shift Chart

After a 3-2 overtime loss to the Devils last night, the Ranges (94 points) hosted the Islanders (78 points) to close out the regular season series against their local rivals. In a game that meant much more to the Isles, who are chasing the final Eastern Conference playoff spot, the Blueshirts matched their crosstown rivals’ jump and urgency but didn’t get any favorable bounces. They fell 3-2 and the Isles finished the season series with a 3-1 advantage.

In the scoreless first period, the Rangers outshot the Islanders 11-9 but held a decisive edge in quality chances. That pattern remained through the first 12:00 or so of the second as the Rangers played at a blistering pace that looked similar to the third against New Jersey and earned a 2-1 lead. If Thomas Greiss wasn’t the Islanders’ best player with a fantastic performance, the gap would have been much wider. Not to be outdone, Antti Raanta, starting his seventh-straight game, was strong as the period closed and finished with 25 saves.

Penalty killing has been a sore spot for the Rangers of late. That didn’t change tonight as two unfortunate bounces while down a man found their way into the back of the net to give the Islanders the 3-2 win.The Rangers have now given up power play goals in eight straight contests. For all their efforts, possession, and shot advantage in the third, the Rangers were unable to beat Greiss and the Isles’ goals on the man advantage were the difference.

For the Blueshirts, this was another game that they could have won and most likely deserved. Had it not been for the Rangers being a bit snake bitten (that seems to be a bit of a theme this year), this might have been a route. Michael Grabner, Kevin Hayes and Brendan Smith all missed open-net opportunities, Mika Zibanejad broke a stick in the low slot, and the Isles got a number of desperation shot blocks to prevent goals.

Bounces can often determine the outcome of a game, and the number of four-letter words from Rangers skaters players caught by the mic tell the story explicitly, as the 38-28 shot advantage couldn’t.

Next up, the Rangers head West for three games in California, starting with a visit to the L.A. Kings on Saturday. Henrik Lundqvist will likely get the nod; he, Dan Girardi, and Kevin Klein are all making the trip.

Assorted Musings:

The Rangers have lost seven consecutive games at home; Five of the Rangers’ last eight games are on the road; Rick Nash has now scored 20 goals in a season 12 times; Oscar Lindberg had an assist and has a three-game point streak; John Tavares had three minor penalties; Steven Kampfer and Tanner Glass were in the lineup as Pavel Buchnevich and Adam Clendening were scratched.

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