Islanders look to build momentum vs. Rangers

Islanders look to build momentum vs. Rangers

Over the next week, the New York Islanders and New York Rangers will get reacquainted with each other.

The first of three meetings in the final two weeks before the All-Star break occurs Monday night when the Islanders visit the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

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The four-game season series will conclude Feb. 25 but the teams will also get together Thursday on Long Island and Jan. 21 in Manhattan.

The Islanders enter with 58 points, 12 more than the Rangers. Most of those points were achieved during a team-record 17-game points streak (15-0-2) from Oct. 12-Nov. 23.

Since the streak ended, the Islanders are 11-9-2 in their last 22 games and have not gone more than three straight games with a point. The Islanders also have scored under three goals in 11 of those games, including Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss in Brooklyn when they allowed a power-play goal to Patrice Bergeron 93 seconds into overtime.

"We did a lot of good things, I thought, in the first period," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "We really played well. We could have been up more than a goal; it's just coming a little hard for us. I thought we dictated play."

Mathew Barzal leads the Islanders with 17 goals, 20 assists and 37 points. He scored the tying goal in the third period and had an assist on Scott Mayfield's goal, giving him 10 multipoint games this season.

The Islanders also held David Pasternak without a point and now get a chance at containing another top scorer in Artemi Panarin. Panarin's 62 points are tied for fifth with Brad Marchand and three behind Pasternak.

Panarin was considered a strong possibility for the Islanders before signing with the Rangers in free agency on July 1. He has 17 points in his last eight games and a point in 34 of his 44 games.

Panarin's dynamic play is not keeping the Rangers from hovering around the .500 mark and like many teams whose records are at around .500, they play better at home than on the road.

New York enters on a four-game home winning streak but also has a four-game road losing streak after dropping a 5-2 decision Saturday in St. Louis where Panarin registered an assist on Filip Chytil's goal 94 seconds into the game.

Brett Howden scored the other goal in the second period but New York allowed two goals in a span of 4:16 and was unable to win a third straight game for the second time this season.

"It's frustrating. We can't get anything going," New York's Mika Zibanejad said. "We get max two wins in a row and then we get back to losing. Obviously it's frustrating. It's simply not good enough."

The Rangers have played the last three games with three goaltenders on the roster after calling up prized prospect Igor Shesterkin last week. Shesterkin started the wins over Colorado and New Jersey while Henrik Lundqvist started Saturday and allowed five goals on 29 shots.

The third goaltender is Alexandar Georgiev, who made his last appearance in a 2-1 overtime loss in Vancouver on Jan. 4.

The Islanders lost twice to the Rangers last season but have dominated the series of late, going 13-3 in the last 16 encounters.

--Field Level Media

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