Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rangers let third period lead slip in battle of New York

The Rangers have just started to learn how to win games when trailing after two periods. On Saturday they won for the first time in fourteen games this season when trailing after two against the Bruins.

But on Thursday, a less desirable outcome occured. The Rangers dropped a game when leading after two periods for the first time all season. The blueshirts had gone 51-0-1 in their last 52 when leading after two periods, and 15-0-0 this season. But Brock Nelson and Nick Leddy scored 2:24 apart early in the third and Kyle Okposo added an empty netter at 19:58 to give the Islanders their second win in as many games against their rivals this season.

According to Eric Hornik's NYI Skinny blog, it was only the 2nd time in the last six seasons (154-2-6) that the Rangers had lost a game in regulation after leading through 40 minutes.

"We were positive after the second even being down," Nelson, who now leads the Islanders with 18 goals, said after the game. "It was one goal, one shot. We wanted to get out there and get into a rhythm and try to get that first goal early, and we were able to. It gave us some momentum."

The Islanders improve to 24-15-4 with the win and jump two points clear of the Rangers (23-15-5) in the Metropolitan Division standings.

Chris Kreider scored the Rangers lone goal on a deflection at 19:13 of the second period to give the Rangers the lead.

"Both goaltenders gave their teams a chance to win tonight," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "We made a mistake in the third and let their power play score a goal, and that's the game."

Thursday's win marks the first time since 1997-98 that the Isles have swept the Rangers at home. The clubs will meet two more times this season, on March 6 and April 7 at Madison Square Garden.