Rangers coach fumes in loss to Islanders

NHL: New York Rangers at New York Islanders
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

The adage of it’s not how you start, but how you finish, need not apply to the New York Rangers on Monday night in a 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders at UBS Arena.

The Islanders jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first period, including a pair 1:51 apart, and never trailed despite a dominating effort by the Rangers over the final two periods.

To make matters worse, the Rangers lost Mika Zibanejad to injury after a center ice collision with Isles defenseman Adam Pelech with 11:09 remaining in the third period. Despite returning to the bench for the game’s conclusion, it did not make his coach any less angry.

“He came back at the end after that vicious hit,” a seething Peter Laviolette said. “Shoulder, elbow to the head. Watch it.”

When asked if he felt it was intentional, Laviolette immediately responded, “I do.”

Chris Kreider — who himself left the game briefly in the first period — and Adam Fox each scored power play goals.

“We didn’t match the intensity in the first period,” captain Jacob Trouba said. “Their desperation level and attitude was higher out of the gate.”

New York Islanders 4 vs New York Rangers 2

NHL: New York Rangers at New York Islanders
Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers potent power play struck twice in the middle frame. Kreider, who left the game in the first period after being hit by a Zibanejad shot, redirected an Artemi Panarin shot at 7:47. It was Kreider’s fourth straight game with a power play goal, and 39th of the season.

Fox’s 16th of the season got the Rangers to within one goal with 4:59 left in the period, but Semyon Varlamov — buoyed by 35 blocked shots — turned away 14 shots in a frantic third period with the Rangers looking for the equalizer.

Vincent Trocheck was ejected with 5 seconds remaining after arguing a non boarding call that immediately preceded the Islanders empty-net goal. Laviolette was also displeased with the lack of a penalty call, which he also called “vicious.”

The Rangers’ magic number over the Hurricanes in the division remained at four following the loss and Carolina’s victory over the Boston. New York’s magic number over Boston — and thus finishing with the top spot in the Eastern Conference if they win the Metropolitan Division — is down to three.

New York returns home Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Matt Calamia spent six seasons as a digital content producer and writer for the New York Rangers. Prior to... More about Matt Calamia

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