Rangers crumble in third period as Islanders rally hands them third straight loss

Rangers crumble in third period as Islanders rally hands them third straight loss

For team morale, Rangers needed to get back into the win column after two tough defeats, but another two-goal lead slipped through their fingers.

The Islanders scored three times in the third period to rally and hand the Rangers a 4-3 loss — their third in a row — Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. It was the kind of late game that can look like a team. The kind that can sting a little longer than other regular season losses.

Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said he was pleased with his team’s overall effort despite the loss, but the final period was a mix of events that saw the Islanders hit the home side where it hurt: on the dashboard.

“We played well, we deserved tonight’s game,” Gallant said. “We didn’t get it, we deserved the game tonight. Played pretty well. I liked the way we played, competed, fought hard. The Islanders are the best team in the league in the third period. They found a way to get three goals again in the third but I liked the way we played most of the game.

Rangers
The Islanders celebrate Kyle Palmieri’s goal in their comeback against Rangers on Tuesday.
robert sabo

After a solid second period for the Rangers, in which they scored two power-play goals to lead 3-1 in the third, the Islanders wasted no time preparing for their comeback. Defender Adam Pelech scored just 14 seconds (14!) into the third to cut Rangers’ lead to one, which Gallant admitted took his team by surprise.

Filip Chytil was then called off for hanging later in the third to give the Islanders a power play. And for the first time this season, the Islanders scored a second man-in-a-game advantage, this one on a Brock Nelson one-timer, to tie the game at three-all at 12: 46.

But Islanders forward Oliver Wahlstrom then ran away with a trip on Kaapo Kakko, which led to Islanders captain Anders Lee’s goal at 2:30. Gallant wouldn’t go into detail about what he saw on the Islanders’ last two goals, but it was clear the coach had an opinion on how they went.

“Obviously after a defeat there’s a sense of urgency, but I can’t say that when you’re 3-1 up you feel a lot of stress,” Artemi Panarin, who recorded assists on the second and third Rangers goals while on the power play in the second period, said with the help of an interpreter. “After the last few games, where you’re trying to do well but your game just isn’t up to par, definitely a bit stressful.

NHL
Mika Zibanejad and the Rangers lost another lead in a loss to the Islanders on Tuesday.
robert sabo

“We have a good team, a good captain, we just need a few good games to change everything.”

Amid a 6-5-3 start to the season, there is certainly a growing sense of urgency in the Rangers dressing room. Talks about team confidence and working through current adversity have dominated conversations lately.

A big part of this game, Vincent Trocheck said after scoring on the power play at 13:37 of the second period, is mental. Rangers must now fight with that mindset.

“It’s been a tough start to the season for us,” said captain Jacob Trouba. “We will continue to work on it. We have a lot of games left here, but I don’t think the start we’ve had has gone unnoticed. Time is counted. We don’t have all the time here, but we have to find a way to play a better game.

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