Rangers, Islanders clash for 3rd time in nine days

The New York Islanders have been an inconsistent bunch since compiling more than half their season points total during a team-record 17-game points streak.

The Islanders will attempt to halt a three-game losing streak Tuesday night, when they visit the New York Rangers in the final game for both teams before the All-Star break.

The Islanders enter with 61 points, 32 of which were earned while going 15-0-2 from Oct. 12-Nov. 23. Since then, they have gone 12-12-3.

The Islanders are on their second three-game losing streak of the season heading into the third meeting with the Rangers. They lost three straight Dec. 21-27 and then won four of their next six games.

The Islanders' most recent losing streak started with a 3-2 home loss to the Rangers on Thursday, when Derick Brassard's penalty led to Chris Kreider's power-play goal with 25 seconds left.

After allowing five goals and blowing a three-goal lead in a 6-4 home loss to Washington on Saturday, the Islanders fell 2-1 in Carolina on Sunday, when Thomas Greiss allowed the game-winning goal to Justin Williams in the eighth round of the shootout.

Anders Lee scored the tying goal late in the second period. Despite the loss, Lee and his teammates left Carolina feeling better about things, especially when compared to Saturday's collapse.

"We take a lot of pride in what we do," Lee said. "It was just a sour feeling (Saturday) night that I don't think is going to sit well with anyone. That stunk and we have to come together as a group and individually to rise up out of some adversity like we saw (Saturday). I think we did a great job of that. It's a shootout loss, but we took a step forward."

The Rangers cruised to a 6-2 home win over the Islanders on Jan. 13, when Artemi Panarin collected five points (two goals and three assists). That was part of a five-game home winning streak in which the Rangers outscored opponents 27-12.

The Rangers saw their longest home winning streak of the season halted with Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Rangers blew a lead in the third period and fell for the first time in regulation (16-1-2) when leading after the second period.

"Any time you lose at this time of the season, it feels big," Rangers coach David Quinn said after defenseman Brady Skjei scored the only goal.

The Rangers also were unable to win three straight games for the second time this season after sweeping last week's home-and-home set with the Islanders. New York surrendered the go-ahead goal to Oliver Bjorkstrand with 27 seconds remaining while slowly completing a line change.

"Pretty much got what we deserved when the night ended," Quinn said. "To give up a three-on-two with 28 seconds to go is just inexcusable. Really bad change, bad (defense) at the wrong time but we were playing with fire for a while. Just disappointing."

Igor Shesterkin made his third career start and stopped 29 shots, including 17 in the first two periods. Shesterkin did not start last week against the Islanders but neither did Henrik Lundqvist, who has played twice this month and once since the Rangers called up Shesterkin on Jan. 7.

Alexandar Georgiev stopped 70 of 74 shots in the two games last week against the Islanders, including 22 in the first period Thursday. Georgiev is 4-1 with a 1.40 goals-against average in five career starts against the Islanders and will get the nod Tuesday.

--Field Level Media
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