The New York Islanders came ready to play, and pushed themselves to a 4-2 victory in the 261st edition of the Islanders Rangers rivalry.
Both teams came into this game with a lot to play for. The New York Islanders were looking to get back to within one point of a playoff spot and the Rangers looking to climb their way out of the wild card into a division spot.
The Islanders offense got to work quickly. The Rangers took two penalties in the first five minutes of the game but the Isles failed to capitalize.
Both power plays had sustained pressure but Henrik Lundqvist, playing his first game since winning his 400th game, was sharp early.
Nick Holden came out of the box after the Rangers second penalty kill and was able to catch the Isles on a bad change leading to a two on one. Mats Zuccarello made a great pass to Holden who found Thomas Greiss out of position and gave the Rangers an easy 1-0 lead.
Calvin de Haan and Andrew Ladd collided on the play, which led to the Rangers odd man rush.
The Islanders were the better team in the first period but trailed 1-0 after one. The Rangers blocked a lot of shots and Lundqvist was sharp, allowing no rebounds.
The Isles came out in the second period hungry and dominated most of the 20 minutes of play but not before a big save by Greiss.
14 seconds in Michael Grabner found himself all alone in front of the net and Greiss robbed the former Islander.
Bailey has certainly been opening eyes of late. He knew exactly where Lee would be as he continues to help the Isles generate offense.
A solid keep in from Scott Mayfield, who was playing only his second game in the Isles last eleven, started the play.
The Islanders continued to dominate on the offensive side, peppering Lundqvist from every which angle.
Those were the only two goals the Islanders scored in the second period, but they certainly could have had more.
At 19:51 of the period Ryan McDonaugh slashed Bailey but the refs missed the call. The play went on and Bailey wound up getting McDonaugh with a high stick, drawing blood.
The Islanders led 2-1 after two periods of play, but the Rangers started the third with 3:52 of power play time.
The Isles killed the first two minutes and generated a little offense of their own. Tavares came down and was stopped twice in close but he was able to feed Kulemin who beat Lundqvist to put the Islanders up 3-1.
Up to the goal this was one of the Islanders best penalty kills of the season. Every single man was contributing.
That shorthanded goal felt like it could push the Isles to the win but the Rangers answered right away. 40 seconds later, Jimmy Vesey beat Greiss on a rebound to cut the Isles lead back to one.
On the play Rick Nash was shoved into Greiss. Greiss was furious and Doug Weight would have his first challenge as a head coach. Although Nash was pushed, it looked clear that even before that, Nash’s stick was in the chest of Greiss.
The refs clearly didn’t feel the same. It was a quick review and the goal would stand. Weight was livid to say the least. It would not affect the rest of the outcome.
The rest of the period was tight and felt tilted towards the Islanders zone. Most of the play was around Greiss, but the defense was up to the task.
The Rangers would pull the goalie with less than two minutes to goal and Ladd scored his second goal of the night to put the Isles up 4-2 and secure the victory.
The Islanders have now won five of their last six against the Rangers. The Rangers have also never won a game at the Barclays Center.
The Islanders will be back at it on Saturday when they play the Devils in New Jersey.