The New York Rangers lost a stinker of a game 3-0 to the Islanders Friday night at Madison Square Garden. Despite a statistical advantage it felt like the Rangers were never really in the game. It was a disappointing loss, but when they pressed, Isles goalie Semyon Varlamov was up to the challenge.
There’s not much to say about this game. Coach Gerard Gallant said it all. Here are his postgame comments:
“Islanders played a good game. We were horseshit. But at least we do it together as a team, we do it as a team. Like that great games we played in Pittsburgh, we did it as a team. Tonight, we get the other side of it…It looked like we were reaching for pucks all night.”
When asked if it was a lack of effort, he said, “It was like we were skating in quicksand all night…we move the puck up the ice we’re a pretty good team. We start dancing around with it, spinning around with it, turning it over, that’s what you get.”
Mika Zibanejad was just as honest. “I wish I had an answer…it’s just not acceptable. Obviously, it wasn’t good enough. I’m not going to take anything away from them (the Islanders), it’s one thing to lose like the last game, we played a pretty good game, a tight game…(tonight) I thought we didn’t come up to our standards or our level and that’s on us.”
To the Islanders’ credit, they took advantage of Rangers mistakes to score their three goals while they didn’t have anywhere near the same number of mistakes and they played a very solid defense.
Believe it or not, the Rangers had 54 shot attempts to only 38 for the Islanders so this was a slam dunk for the Rangers according to advanced analytics. They also had more shots, more scoring chances and more high danger chances. So much for advanced stats as an indicator of success (as the Rangers have demonstrated all season). According to Natural Stat Trick, the Rangers were expected to score 2.68 goals and the Islanders 1.93.
Let’s not even talk about the open nets that the Blueshirts missed or the crossbar they hit or the goals that they should have scored that Varlamov stopped.
This was Varlamov’s fourth straight shutout against the Rangers at the Garden and he has won six of his last eight starts against them, allowing eight goals in the eight games.
There were no highlights for the Rangers, but here is a video recap if you want to see a lot of Semyon Varlamov and three Islander goals, take a look.
We’re going to deviate from our normal format here and there are no Rangers stars for this game. Also, no notes, better to forget about this loss and look forward to the next game.
It’s too bad that this wasn’t an April Fools Day joke
The official 3 stars
- Matthew Barzal – Islan. ders
- Semyon Varlamov – Islanders
- Casey Cizikas – Islanders
The Rangers get a chance to make up for their bad showing by hosting the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. Gametime is 7pm and it will be on MSG+ and nationally on the NHL Network.
The Flyers are in a freefall and let’s see how the Rangers react to what will be a very interesting practice on Saturday. Coach Gallant should have free rein to make some lineup changes and we’ll see if that means Justin Braun will play against his old team.
The Rangers remain in second place, one point ahead of the Penguins who have a tough game in Colorado on Saturday.