Rangers host IslandersDecember 16, 2009
via Associated Press
The New York Islanders‘ season may have hit a low point in their most recent contest, a blowout loss at home that was their fourth defeat in five games.
They won’t have to travel far to find another struggling club, as the New York Rangers carry a four-game losing streak into Wednesday’s opener of a home-and-home set between the local rivals.
Although they’re on pace to surpass the NHL-worst 61 points they earned last season, the Islanders (12-14-7) have still looked like a rebuilding team lately, losing three times by at least four goals during a 1-4-0 stretch.
Their 7-1 home loss to Florida on Monday could set them back after the Islanders crumbled late by allowing four unanswered goals in the third period.
“I think at 7-1, it’s tough to just turn the page,” Islanders defenseman Mark Streit said. “Every player needs to do some soul searching and go home and think about what happened.
“We have a pretty good team if everyone is on the same page. If we try to do it on our own, it’s not going to work,” Streit added.
While standout rookie John Tavares was held without a point for just the third time in his last nine games, the Isles had far bigger problems at the defensive end.
One game after stopping 30 shots in a 3-2 overtime win over Boston, Dwayne Roloson was pulled early in the third period after allowing his fifth goal. Martin Biron fared even worse, allowing two goals on three shots.
“To be honest we were a team that forgot we were playing (Monday) and we’re looking forward to the Rangers games,” Roloson said.
The Rangers (14-15-3) would also like to forget some of their recent results. They’re 1-5-2 since Thanksgiving, and their longest losing streak of the season reached four with a 3-2 shootout loss to Atlanta on Monday.
The Rangers are 1-6-1 in their last eight home games after going 26-11-4 at Madison Square Garden last season, and 7-14-3 overall since a 7-1 start.
“I think everybody is mad,” goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. “I walk around angry that we are not getting the wins. I try to use it as a good thing, but of course it’s frustrating.”
The Rangers’ last two defeats were not due to a lack of effort. They put 38 shots on goal in a 3-2 loss to Buffalo on Saturday before firing a season-high 48 shots at Thrashers goalie Johan Hedberg.
In both instances, the Rangers still failed to score more than two goals. They’ve had two or fewer in 11 of the last 13 games.
“We’ve got to keep doing the right things, keep playing like we’re playing,” captain Chris Drury said. “If we keep getting over 30 shots, something is going to give.”
They had few problems against the Islanders last season, scoring 19 goals while going 5-1-0, but Roloson stopped 34 of 35 Ranger shots in the Islanders’ 3-1 home win Oct. 28.
That was the teams’ only meeting of the season before this week. They’ll follow up Wednesday’s matchup with another game Thursday at Nassau Coliseum.