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Rapid Reaction: Decimated New York Islanders Fall to Rangers in Thanksgiving Eve Loss

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New York Islanders

ELMONT, N.Y. — The New York Islanders losing streak extended to seven games as they fell 4-1 to the New York Rangers in the first Battle of New York at UBS Arena. The Isles are now 5-9-2 and only three points ahead of the Ottawa Senators for last in the Eastern Conference.

How it Happened: The New York Islanders survived the first period, but it was the New York Rangers who found the back of the net in the second period. Two goals in the middle frame lifted the Rangers over the COVID and injury decimated Islanders on Wednesday night.

The Manhattan visitors scored less than a minute into the second period after the Islanders put them on the man-advantage six seconds after the puck dropped. Ryan Strome was able to send the puck towards Chris Kreider at the side of the net. Kreider was able to deflect the puck past Semyon Varlamov for the opening goal.

The Rangers added to their lead late in the period after Otto Koivula coughed up the puck at center ice and allowed the visitors to charge the other way. Varlamov was able to stop a deflection chance by Barclay Goodrow, but he was able to get his own rebound and slide the puck over to Kevin Rooney for the easy tap-in.

The Islanders were able to pull within one early in the third when Andy Andreoff was able to deflect a shot from the point by Koivula to cut the Rangers lead to 2-1. The excitement was short-lived as the Rangers answered right back 20 seconds later with Rooney scoring his second of the game.

Kreider extended the Rangers lead to three when he found the back of the net at 11:02 of the third to make it 4-1.

Semyon Varlamov dropped his fourth consecutive start on Wednesday while making 17 saves in the Islanders. Varlamov had a 3.31 goals-against average and a .894 save percentage entering the game.

New York Islanders Have No New COVID Cases Ahead of Showdown with NYR

Outscored and Slumping: The New York Islanders struggles to find the back of the net continued on Wednesday in their most recent loss. The Islanders did find the back of the net to avoid a second consecutive shutout, but Andy Andreoff broke the shutout bid early in the third.

That was only the Islanders’ seventh goal over their seven-game skid. The Islanders have been outscored 31-7 over the course of their losing streak and the defeat to the Rangers was the seventh straight game they’ve lost by three goals.

“It’s tough. We’re working, that’s the thing, we’re working hard,” Casey Cizikas said when asked about the scoring slump. “We’re trying to get in those spots and we’re trying to get on those rebounds and they’re just not falling for us right now. That’s the frustrating thing. Guys are working, guys are trying. When it’s not going your way you just have to keep pushing through it and keep doing those little things right,  and eventually, it’s going to go in for you.

“We just have to continue doing that and staying with our foot on the gas, and not get away from that.”

Home is Not so Sweet: The New York Islanders are still looking for their first win on home ice since they returned from their 13-game road trip to start the season. The Islanders managed to play a competitive matchup in the opener against Calgary, but things have not broken their way through their first three games in their new digs.

The Islanders haven’t been helped by the COVID outbreak the team has been going through, as well as the rash of injuries, but the time back in front of their fans has not helped curb a skid that is quickly putting them in a deeper and deeper hole.

“Well we’re 0-3, so I don’t think I’ve got there yet, but we haven’t had an ideal lineup,” head coach Barry Trotz said when asked if UBS had started to feel like home. “From our standpoint, obviously I’d like to see us get a victory in this building. For two reasons. A, I think our fans deserve that. B, we need it for ourselves. For the standings, for a little bit of confidence going forward in this building. … We’ve got to make it a real hard place for people to come in and play.”

Making the Best of a Bad Situation: The Islanders managed to survive the first period and stay competitive against the Rangers with a third of their roster out for COVID or injury. The Isles were even in shots on goal in the first period and oushot the Rangers 8-7 in the second.

The short-staffed Islanders also out-chanced the Rangers 5-on-5  in the first period, 10-5, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Up Next: The New York Islanders continue their homestand with a visit from the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

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