Rangers give up two shorthanded goals in ugly loss

The Rangers leave the ice after a loss

The Rangers leave the ice after a loss against the Islanders at Madison Square Garden. (Dec. 20, 2013) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

The Rangers entered Friday night's game against the Islanders desperately trying to end what has turned into a nightmare homestand.

Instead, they extended their misery, allowing two shorthanded goals in a frustrating 5-3 loss at the Garden. They have won only once in the first seven games of their nine-game homestand (1-4-2).

"Not good enough," goalie Henrik Lundqvist said.

The result for the Rangers was frustrating in so many ways, especially after they were unable to hold on to a 3-2 lead.

They surrendered two shorthanded goals in the first period, one by Michael Grabner, who also scored into an empty net with 51 seconds left in the third.

After the Islanders tied the score at 3-3, Thomas Vanek scored on a five-on-three power play, deflecting Kyle Okposo's shot to make it 4-3 at 1:16 of the third period. With Lundqvist pulled for an extra attacker, Grabner foiled that scheme one second after a Rangers power play ended.

The Rangers, who had their home unbeaten streak against the Isles snapped at 10 games (8-0-2), will try to salvage this homestand against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.

"There's no question we beat ourselves," a sullen Lundqvist said. "We made some simple mistakes and I was not there to clean it up. As a goalie, you try to battle and be there and make those saves to stay confident. I needed to make those saves in the first and it kind of set the tone for the whole game."

Lundqvist, who has started eight consecutive games, was referring to a penalty shot by Cal Clutterbuck at 14:42 of the first period and Grabner's shorthanded goal at 17:09 of the period.

"I made some good saves, but in the end I gave up four goals on 19 shots," he said. "I have to be better."

Lundqvist has been struggling to rediscover his mojo.

"It's a process," he said. "You just have to keep doing the right things. You're not going to turn around the season with one game. You have to continue to do it every night in practice and games. This is a game where you want to go out and feel good about your game. All you face is really breakaways and no shots.

"There was not a lot of pucks in my end. To feel good about your game is tough. That is where I have to be better mentally to really focus in and try to come up with big saves, even though there is some clear scoring chances. That's my job -- to clean up the mistakes. But it's not good enough tonight."

Notes & quotes: Defenseman Ryan McDonagh was in the middle of both shorthanded goals. McDonagh was called for hooking as the last man back to give Clutterbuck the penalty shot and Grabner stripped him of the puck at the blue line to make it 2-0.

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