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Subpar play, unlucky bounces, and questionable officiating were the storyline for the home team at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Friday night.
In a New York Islanders vs. New York Rangers game, it is certainly fair to expect some jump out of both sides. Just like they would all night, the Blueshirts had the jump and drive while the Isles didn't.
The first period was a scoreless one. However, Barry Trotz's boys in blue and orange looked a step slow. With Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac still adjusting to the Islanders' structure, it is normal that they haven't clicked with their New York teammates just yet.
Just 6:05 into the second frame, Alexis Lafreniere opened up the scoring. Kaapo Kakko (5) and Filip Chytil (7) recorded assists. 3:56 later, Colin Blackwell gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead, netting his twelfth goal of the season. Artemi Panarin (29) and Ryan Strome (25) picked up assists. An Islanders goal was taken away after it was determined that Brock Nelson hit the puck with a high stick. New York finally got their first goal 14:53 into the second. Andy Greene notched his first goal of the season, and Mathew Barzal (22) picked up the lone assist on the goal.
After the Rangers created chance after chance, the Islanders were in check. The Islanders got punished, and their opponent got rewarded. K'Andre Miller gave the Blueshirts a 3-1 lead 11:48 into the third period, with Jacob Trouba (10) and Panarin (30) getting the helpers. Mika Zibanejad iced the game with the help of a bounce with 1:12 remaining. Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev stood on his head all night and shut the Isles down. The Rangers won the game 4-1.
To make matters worse, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, and Pittsburgh Penguins won their respective games tonight, making up some ground in the standings. The Isles and Caps are once again tied for first place.
Many are wondering, when will Oliver Wahlstrom be back in the lineup? Whether it's Wahlstrom, Kieffer Bellows, or another forward, a change might need to be made soon. Until then, the Isles must rest up as the Taylor Hall watch continues. They will see this same Rangers team at the Coliseum on Sunday night. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM Eastern Time.