Nick Leddy, Barclays Center, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images


In what was likely the final rivalry game in Brooklyn, the New York Islanders fall to the New York Rangers in a nailbiter.

Mats Zuccarello chipped the game-winner in with just over five minutes in the third to seal the New York Rangers’ first-ever win in Brooklyn.

Over the last couple of seasons, Barclays Center provided an ample advantage to the New York Islanders in that they knew how to traverse the uniquely awful ice surface. Tonight, a palpable sense of unfamiliarity plagued the Islanders in their offense and most notably in their powerplay.

Anthony Beauvillier opened and closed the scoring for the Islanders in the second period, sliding a puck past the right leg of Alexandar Georgiev just as the powerplay expired.

The Rangers tied the game in the second period when Nick Leddy was caught in transition while Boo Nieves and Filip Chytil were charging in, with Chytil capitalizing on a loose puck in front of Robin Lehner.

Butch Goring and Brendan Burke mentioned during the MSG broadcast that the game-winner would be ugly, and Zuccarello’s game-winner was just that.


Any Islander attempt at a comeback was stifled after Valtteri Filppula took a hooking penalty late in the third period and voided any man-advantage opportunity the Islanders may have gotten to tie the game late.

With the win, the New York Rangers snap a five-game losing streak and a seven-game losing streak (0-6-1) at the Barclays Center.

New York Islanders

Some will chalk this game up to bad bounces in a relatively even game given the shot and powerplay totals on both sides.

Neither team managed a single powerplay goal and that played a huge factor in the final result. The Islanders had two separate 5-on-3 opportunities, with the second lasting a full 1:15. In total, they squandered six powerplay opportunities despite consistent offensive zone time.

Most notably, the powerplay lacked a lot of the speed from Thursday night’s win and radiated shades of the infamous 2015 Islander powerplay (0-for-14 in the playoffs). Yes, the Barclays Center ice surface couldn’t stay frozen for more than 10 minutes per period but that frustrated both teams equally.

It’s an element that may be overshadowed, and it may be a reach, but the Islanders haven’t been in Brooklyn since Dec. 28. The fans know how the familiarity with the Barclays ice has helped them in the past.

Over the last several games, the Islanders haven’t been playing to their full potential and let a couple of would-be points slip away, particularly in Saturday’s series finale against their arch-rivals. The Islanders will play the white-hot Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow on what will be the tail-end of a back-to-back scenario for both teams. Since both teams last met in November, the Lightning are 17-1-1.

It’s back to the drawing board for head coach Barry Trotz and the Islanders as they try to put this one behind them immediately and continue the push for a playoff spot.


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