The Rangers’ recent scoring woes might have had something to do with that.
The Islanders try for their third win in four games while the Rangers attempt to snap a five-game skid as the series moves to Long Island on Thursday night.
The Islanders’ Dwayne Roloson(notes) was pulled from Monday night’s 7-1 defeat to visiting Florida after giving up five goals on 23 shots. His replacement, Martin Biron(notes), didn’t fare much better, allowing two more scores on three attempts in the final 19 minutes.
Roloson bounced back Wednesday night with another strong performance against the Rangers, making 25 saves in a 2-1 victory and losing what would have been his first shutout of the season with 55 seconds remaining.
“I don’t care if we win 10-9 or 11-10 or whatever, as long as we win the hockey game,” Roloson said. “We were doing the little things that we had to do to win in the first period and we continued that all the way through for 60 minutes.”
With the Islanders (13-14-7) playing back-to-back nights, the choice for coach Scott Gordon is sticking with Roloson - who earned a 3-1 home victory over the Rangers on Oct. 28 but has made three straight starts - or looking to the fresher Biron.
Biron, however, is 2-9-2 with a 3.33 goals-against average this season and has lost four straight. He’s also 4-6-2 with a 2.67 GAA in his last 13 appearances against the Rangers and has allowed six goals in consecutive defeats.
However, it doesn’t seem to matter which goalie is facing the Rangers lately, most have been successful against the team that’s dropped 18 of 25 following a 7-1-0 start.
Since a 7-4 win over Columbus on Nov. 23, the Rangers (14-16-3) have been outscored 32-16 during a 2-6-2 stretch. They’ve netted seven goals during their current 0-3-2 skid.
The team’s latest performance, especially a three-shot first period, drew the ire of coach John Tortorella, who went on an expletive-filled tirade after the game.
“The thing that’s unacceptable about tonight’s game, and we’re trying to stay positive around here, trying to work our way through it, but when we play like that for 20 minutes in a game like this in a back-to-back situation, it’s unacceptable,” Tortorella said. “There has to be something done, and we’ll see along the way before (Thursday) night’s game. We’ll see where we go with them.”
While his team has struggled to score, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist(notes) has been steady this month with a 1.97 GAA in six games. However, he could take a seat after six straight starts, allowing Chad Johnson(notes) to make his NHL debut.
Lundqvist, though, has led the Rangers to an 8-3-2 mark against the Islanders since Nov. 29, 2007, posting a 1.99 GAA while starting each of those games.