The troubles continued for the Rangers Thursday night at The Garden. They fell behind early, again, rallied to tie things up, but lost in a shootout to the Islanders, 4-3.
The Rangers fell to 1-5-2 on the season, including 1-3-2 at home.
The Islanders got shootout goals from Jordan Eberle and John Tavares, while the Rangers’ threesome of Mats Zuccarello, Mika Zibanejad, and David Desharnais could only muster one off Jaroslav Halak. Why Rick Nash and Michael Grabner were left out of the shootout lineup is a question for the ages.
Anders Lee got the Islanders on the board just 2:40 into the game with a power play goal that made it 1-0. Chris Kreider was in the box on a hooking minor.
Desharnais tied it, 1-1, at 5:02 of the 1st, but Brock Nelson answered just 64 seconds later, off an Adam Cracknell turnover, to make it 2-1 Islanders. It was Nelson’s 4th goal of the season.
In the 2nd period, Mathew Barzal scored his first career NHL goal, getting past Nash and beating Henrik Lundqvist at 1:15 of the period to make it 3-1.
Then in the 3rd, the Rangers picked it up a notch. Zuccarello scored at 3:29, off an assist from Brendan Smith, to make it 3-2. Smith appeared to tie the game at 6:23, when the puck deflected off his skate and in, but the goal was disallowed, as the referees said Smith made a ‘distinct kicking motion’ on the puck.
Kevin Hayes got the game-tying goal with 5:54 to play, off assists from Jesper Fast and Ryan McDonagh, to make it 3-3.
Neither team scored in the five-minute overtime, setting the stage for Eberle and Tavares in the shootout.
Lundqvist made 35 saves, including a couple of brilliant ones in the final moments of the game to force OT.
The Rangers continue their six-game homestead Saturday afternoon at The Garden when they host Nashville.