Rangers Islanders
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

The New York Islanders put 45 shots on Alexandar Georgiev but Mika Zibanejad’s goal gave the Rangers the win in the game and season series.

Matt Di Giacomo

  • New York Islanders 3 (35-20-7, 77 points)
  • New York Rangers 4 (34-24-4, 72 points)
  • NHL, Final, Box Score
  • Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY

The final game between both New York rivals arrived as advertised with battles on the ice and in the stands, but despite the New York Islanders‘ best efforts, the New York Rangers stole the second point in overtime.

The Islanders started the game off eerily similar to how the last New York tilt did at Nassau Coliseum.

Though the Islanders were off to the start they wanted, Andy Greene played all of 3:24 before an upper-body injury ended his night and possibly more time to come.

Alexandar Georgiev was peppered with over 20 shots in the first period, but Artemi Panarin struck first on the Rangers’ best pressure in the first period. That score would hold through 20 minutes.

For another 20 minutes, Georgiev continued to be under siege as the Islanders continued to win faceoffs (62% on the night) and put shots on net (45-28 game totals).

Again, it would make little difference as Greg McKegg found a fortunate bounce seven minutes into the second period. The difference was two, and the pressure mounted.

As the shots continued to come at Georgiev, one fortunate bounce off the glass arrived for Jean-Gabriel Pageau, netting his 25th of the season and his first as an Islander.

The offensively-hampered Islanders found their way on the board, but the good feeling wouldn’t last long.

Early in the third period, Jacob Trouba delivered an unpenalized (yet very questionable) hit on Michael Dal Colle. Pageau stood up for Dal Colle and was given a two-minute instigation penalty, a five-minute major and a misconduct, essentially taking him out of the game.

Halfway through another trying period for the Islanders, Brett Howden put up another tally for the Rangers who were perfect on their deflections throughout the evening.

 

As the minutes trickled away for the Islanders, things looked bleak, and would only sting more as an Anders Lee goal was initially waved off by the on-ice officials for goalie interference.

Barry Trotz contested the call, certain it was a good goal, but it stood and the Islanders were assessed a two-minute penalty for the failed challenge.

In the dying seconds of the Islanders’ third powerplay, it was Jordan Eberle, fresh off serving the minor penalty who gave the Islanders life with five minutes and change left in regulation.

With the Isles needing one more tally, Brock Nelson put himself in the perfect position to deflect home the point-securing goal with about 30 seconds left to play in regulation.

The Islanders, who were down three regulars by the time the period was done, pried a point out and prepared to battle for the second.

Right at the start of overtime, as things seemed more optimistic with Pageau preparing to re-enter the game, a costly fluke stunned the home crowd.

Panarin entered the zone and was covered by all three Islanders on-ice, resulting in Nelson missing his assignment on Mika Zibanejad who ended the night and secured the Rangers’ first season series win over the Islanders since the 2013-14 season.

The red-hot Rangers have won eight-straight games on the road. Up next for the Blueshirts will be visits to Montreal and Philadelphia in back-to-back road trips. They currently sit just four points away from the final wild-card spot.

The Islanders gain a point and sit two away from the third seed, occupied by the Philadelphia Flyers.

A visit to St. Louis and a home tilt against Boston await the Islanders as they continue to fight to secure their positioning in the NHL’s toughest division.

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