Rangers lose to rivals in New York
The New York Islanders have been perfect so far this season. Back-to-back wins over the Carolina Hurricanes were nice, but a blowout victory over rival Rangers in Madison Square Garden is something to savor.
Kyle Okposo scored his 100th NHL goal to snap a tie 48 seconds into the third period, and the undefeated Islanders netted four goals on seven shots in the final frame to beat the sliding New York Rangers 6-3 on Tuesday night.
The Islanders, who opened with a home-and-home sweep of Carolina, improved to 3-0 when they broke loose for four goals in the first 10:59 of the third to send the Rangers (1-3) to their third straight loss.
Okposo made the most of the second costly turnover by defenseman Michael Kostka to score his first of the season.
“We knew coming into the third we were fortunate to be tied, and we took advantage,’’ said Islanders captain John Tavares, who had a goal in the second and added an assist in the third.
Brock Nelson made it 4-2 at 4:50 with his fourth goal, and Mikhail Grabovski connected 30 seconds later. Ryan Strome assisted on the two goals that left goalie Henrik Lundqvist on his knees and shaking his head.
Lundqvist was bombarded for the second straight game. He allowed five goals in the second period and six overall Sunday to Toronto in the home opener before being pulled. It is the first time he has allowed at least five goals in consecutive starts.
“It’s really tough mentally when we play the way we are playing,’’ Lundqvist said. “It’s extremely important that we play with smartness all over the ice. I’m playing with good structure, but then I lose my structure a little bit when we as a group lose our structure.
“Together we need to regroup and be better.’’
Nick Leddy finished the barrage with 9:01 left to make it 6-2. Johnny Boychuk scored in the first period, and Tavares tied it in the second for the Islanders. Jaroslav Halak was sharp in making 40 saves.
Rick Nash scored for the fourth straight game for the Rangers, and Derick Brassard gave them their second lead of the night in the second period. Nash netted his second of the game and sixth of the season to make it 6-3 with 2:10 left.
The Rangers held a 43-27 shots edge but have been outscored 17-8 during their skid. They started last year 1-4 during a season-opening, nine-game road trip, and finished October 5-7 before reaching the Stanley Cup finals.
Certainly there is more than enough time for a turnaround.
“This is a totally new year,’’ Nash said. “We are aware of how serious it is. We have to correct our game and get a win.’’
“I really liked our first 40 minutes of 5 on 5,’’ Rangers Coach Alain Vigneault said. “The difference in the game was probably the second period. We had numerous Grade-A chances, but couldn’t score.” AP