The scoring chances were there for the Islanders. They just couldn’t do much with them.
“I thought we played well. I think we had it in our hands,” goalie Robin Lehner said. “I felt confident we were going to come away with a good result.”
Instead, the Islanders went 0-for-6 on the power play, including two five-on-three opportunities, and lost to the Rangers, 2-1, on Saturday afternoon before a bipartisan crowd of 15,497 at Barclays Center.
The Islanders (24-15-4), who lost to the Rangers for the first time in eight games in Brooklyn, generated only seven shots in 10:36 of power-play time, including none in 1:24 with a two-man advantage.
The Islanders, who will face the NHL-leading Lightning on Sunday night at Barclays Center, still have won 10 of their last 13 despite some less-than-ideal play in their previous three games, including Thursday night’s 4-3 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
“Actually, I thought our game was way better than the last game,” coach Barry Trotz said. “We hit a couple of posts. We weren’t able to capitalize on some of our chances. We had a big five-on-three penalty kill for momentum and we gave it right back. We got the lead and we just couldn’t put them away.”
Lehner and Rangers counterpart Alexandar Georgiev each made 24 saves.
Mats Zuccarello scored the winner at 14:55 of the third period when defenseman Tony DeAngelo’s feed from the right boards went in off his right skate after the Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad beat Casey Cizikas on a faceoff in the Islanders’ zone.
“The league is usually pretty good,” Lehner said. “If it’s a distinct kicking motion, it’s usually waved off. It was a tough faceoff for us. They were talking before the faceoff and I felt like they were going to try something, and they did. They came down the wall and threw it in a pile. I lost sight of where the puck went. But it was five minutes left and I still felt like we could’ve gone on the attack.”
Anthony Beauvillier slipped the puck past Georgiev from the right post to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead at 8:40 of the second period just as Chris Kreider was exiting the penalty box. The Islanders then killed off the Rangers’ 48-second five-on-three advantage after defenseman Luca Sbisa hooked Zuccarello at 11:35 of the second period.
The Rangers could not get a shot on Lehner during their two-man advantage, but Filip Chytil tied the score at 1 at 14:09 of the second period after Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy was unable to clear the puck.
“That first goal was on me,” Leddy said. “I made a bad error in judgment and that’s on me. It’s just keeping it going north and making that right play.”
In all, it was a frustrating game for Leddy, who logged 5:34 of his 22:35 of ice time on the power play. He also hit the post twice, first on a blue-line slap shot at 18:51 of the first period and then on a backhander at the crease off his power-play rush at 7:03 of the second period.
The Islanders had a nine-second five-on-three in the first period and one that lasted 1:15 in the second period after Ryan Strome high-sticked Cal Clutterbuck at 17:06.
“It’s frustrating for the power play,” Leddy said. “You’re out there to gain momentum and get a power-play goal. We had chances but we just didn’t capitalize.”
“There’s defining moments in that game for them and for us,” Trotz said when asked about the Islanders’ 4-for-4 penalty kill. “When you’re leading the game and if you can get that next one, we’re probably having a different talk right now.”