Courtesy Twitter: @NYIslanders

The Islanders’ winning streak comes to an end against their cross-town rivals.

The New York Islanders are one of the best teams in the league and looked to remain at the top of the East Division when they took on their cross-town rivals, the New York Rangers, on Friday.

They made a splash when they acquired Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils, and both veterans made their Islanders’ debuts on Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers. Eyes were on them in Friday’s game.

The only change to the lineup would be Semyon Varlamov getting the start in net. Fun fact: Varlamov hadn’t conceded a goal to the Rangers this season.

1st period: All about Varly

By far the best part of the first period for the Islanders was Varlamov’s goaltending. He continues to shine against the Rangers and made 13 great saves to keep it a scoreless game heading into the second.

The Islanders were more offensively dominant to begin the game, but cooled down. They even looked poor on their power play, which continues to struggle.This is unsustainable and they can only rely on Varlamov so much.


2nd period: Another not-so-great second period

The Islanders entered dangerous territory in the second. They’re a bad second period team while the Rangers are quite good. That’s why the second period of this game didn’t come as much of a surprise.

The Islanders conceded two goals here, including a truly terrible one that got the Rangers started. They left Varlamov to deal with pressure in front of him in a poor defensive effort and then allowed the Rangers to double the lead.

They thought they caught a break when Brock Nelson deflected a shot into the net, but it was overturned for high-sticking. No matter, the next one would count. Andy Greene sniped one past Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev for his first goal in 51 games.

The Islanders came out of this period down a goal, but have been able to come back from worse. They’d have to take charge as soon as the third period buzzer sounds and not let up.


3rd period: Can’t win ’em all

The Islanders needed to take and stay in control, but they let up later in the third period and ended up conceding a third goal. They emptied their net in the final three minutes or so, but it was too late.

The Islanders didn’t do enough in this one, especially in the third, when they were outshot 11-9. You can’t win them all and the Islanders will have to try again against the Rangers on Sunday.


Key Moment: Lazy defending

The key moment of the game was the first goal that embodied the Islanders’ play throughout.

They relied far too heavily on Varlamov, who was forced to come up with some huge saves while his defensemen stood by and watched the Rangers take a 1-0 lead.

This was the beginning of the end for the Islanders, who were unable to score more than a single goal and to prevent the Rangers from adding to their goal total.


Player of the game: Andy Greene

This was another strong game for the veteran defenseman, who scored the team’s only goal. Fans were excited to see Greene score a goal for the first time in well over a year.

Contributions from everyone including not-so offensive-minded guys like Greene are what make the Islanders a strong team and will help them down the line.

Greene’s numbers: 15:40 TOI, 1 G, 50 CF%, 0.12 iXG, 1 block, 0.45 xGF, 0.49 xGA, 0.95 GF, 1.06 GA, 0.73 Game Score, -0.09 defensive rating, -0.05 offensive rating, and 0.87 individual rating.

Stats are courtesy of Hockey Stat Cards and Natural Stat Trick.


Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.