The Islanders all felt their play Saturday afternoon, in the second game of a home-and-home against the Rangers, was better than their effort Thursday in the first contest.
But missed opportunities — especially on the power play — were detrimental as the Islanders lost 2-1 at Barclays Center after a win Thursday at the Garden.
The Rangers managed to pull out the win to end a five-game losing streak, but to do so, they had to get through 12 penalty minutes and also kill off almost a minute and a half of 5-on-3 play. Through the Islanders’ six power plays, however, they managed just seven shots as Alex Georgiev shut them out on the man advantage.
“Yes, it does [hurt to go scoreless on the power play],” Islanders captain Anders Lee said. “You have that many opportunities, you have a five-on-three you have to convert. We talk about it all the time, take advantage of these power plays and make a difference in the game and tonight we didn’t do that.”
The Rangers took three penalties in the opening 20 minutes, including a nine-second span in which Fredrik Claesson joined Adam McQuaid in the box to give the Islanders their first two-man advantage of the game.
Georgiev had to make only two saves between the first two Islanders power plays.
At the 6:40 mark of the second, Chris Kreider was called for holding, allowing the Islanders to gain some momentum with a handful of shots on net. Georgiev made two big saves before Anthony Beauvillier gave the Islanders their lone tally.
Back-to-back penalties from Brock Nelson and Luca Sbisa hindered the Islanders’ momentum, although four different Islanders registered blocks to maintain the lead before Filip Chytil knotted the game at one with roughly six minutes left in the second period.
With 3:39 left in the second, a tripping call on Jesper Fast landed the Rangers back on the penalty kill for the Islanders’ fifth power play of game and second of the second period. Ryan Strome joined him shortly thereafter, giving the Islanders a 1:15 five-on-three stretch.
Georgiev, however, was forced to make only one save spanning both penalties.
The Rangers didn’t take any penalties in the final period as Mats Zuccarello registered the game-winner at the 14:55 mark.
“Obviously you want to score on the power play, and the penalty killing did a good job as well tonight, we killed the five-on-three offense but so did they so,” the Islanders’ Johnny Boychuk said. “That’s a positive for us at least for special teams, killing all of those penalties, but when we have those chances on the power play we have to capitalize on it, and that was the difference between winning and losing.”