The first period has been bad for the Rangers this season, and it was a problem again on Thursday as they allowed two goals to the Islanders in the first 6:06.
Those goals made it 13 of the 28 allowed in regulation this season occurring in the first period.
“It’s too many games now where we give up the first goal, I need to be better, we’ve got to be better [in the first] and give ourselves a chance to feel good about ourselves,” Henrik Lundqvist said after the 4-3 shootout loss to the Islanders.
Like the 5-4 overtime loss to the Penguins in the previous game, the Rangers (1-5-2) battled back, but came up short.
“Again a tough start,” said Lundqvist, whose two saves on Josh Bailey in the final seconds of regulation helped earn the point. “But we come back from 3-1 and play a really strong third. We had a couple breakaways with a chance to end this game and we didn’t. It’s mistakes, or missed opportunities, or not coming up with that extra save. We’re just one play away.”
The Rangers, who scored only three goals in the third in the first seven games, scored twice in the period to force overtime. But the point was small solace to Marc Staal.
“If we were 5-1-1, after a shootout loss we’d be talking about what we did well,” he said. “But it’s a different story right now, we’re not finding ways to win hockey games so it’s a little dissatisfying to come out with one [point].”
Before Kevin Hayes tied the score at 3 with 5:54 left in regulation, a potential third goal was waved off with 7:53 left. Brendan Smith redirected a puck with his skate but a review deemed it “a distinct kicking motion.”
“In my mind, I didn’t kick it with my right [skate],” Smith said. “I tried to keep the puck in off the rebound. But I definitely didn’t kick it, that’s all I can tell you. They might have saw something different. I don’t want to say everything’s going wrong, the bounces just aren’t going our way.”
Notes & quotes: David Desharnais’ goal was his second in the past two games . . . It appears that there will not be an alumni game at Citi Field in advance of the Winter Classic between the Rangers and Buffalo Sabres, according to an NHL spokesman.