Whoever wins Friday night’s college basketball games at Madison Square Garden will somehow have more wins at MSG than the Rangers do over the past month.
The Rangers gave up two third period goals on Wednesday night and fell to the New York Islanders 3-2. It’s their sixth consecutive winless result at The World’s Most Famous Arena.
It appeared the Rangers (45-25-4) would finally end their woes at MSG, building up a 2-1 lead after two periods. Though the first frame yielded no scoring, Mats Zuccarello put the Rangers on the board with a power play goal, scored while John Tavares was serving the second of three penalties he took on the evening. The Islanders tied it less than a minute later, Anders Lee scoring his 27th of the season, but the Rangers gained some momentum when Tanner Glass bested Scott Mayfield in a fight that brought the Garden to its feet. Just over two minutes later, Rick Nash scored to give the Rangers the lead.
But once again, the Rangers’ struggling penalty kill could not stay out of trouble, the winning tallies provided with a man in the sin bin. Nikolay Kulemin scored his 12th of the year while Kevin Hayes did time for slashing, while Michael Grabner’s delay of game penalty led to Andrew Ladd’s game winning goal. The Rangers earned great opportunities in front of the net, but Thomas Greiss and the Islanders (34-26-12) held strong, earning a win to remain in the hunt for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
In addition to their struggles at The Garden, the Rangers also continued to fall short against the Islanders, who have now won seven of their past eight with the Rangers.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490