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Isles must use sting of Rangers loss to fuel fire

The Islanders have been treading water over the past few weeks.  They’re 5-4-1 in the past ten games, including two losses to the rival New York Rangers.  The first loss was a blowout, a 6-1 shellacking at Madison Square Garden.  The second loss was inexcusable, a 3-2 regulation loss that at the LEAST should have been an overtime affair.

Derick Brassard took a cross-checking penalty with only 30 seconds left in the game.  The Ranger subsequently won the faceoff, threw a shot at the net and Chris Kreider stuffed home the rebound in what was essentially a walk-off regulation win.

The loss was one of the worst in recent memory, for multiple reasons.  For one, the Islanders couldn’t capitalize on five Power Plays and gave up a goal to Tony DeAngelo directly from one of those Power Plays.  The Islanders also gave up a tough goal on the Penalty Kill when a Mika Zibanejad shot trickled through Semyon Varlamov and just over the goal line.

The toughest pill to swallow was the Brassard penalty and goal afterwards.  The officiating was bad all night but there is absolutely no excuse for taking that kind of penalty when you have a point pretty much in the bag.  The Islanders now sit five points behind the Penguins in third place in the Metro Division.

The most recent loss to the Rangers should fuel the Islanders to play better hockey.  You thought maybe they turned another corner when they destroyed the Red Wings 8-2 after the first Rangers loss.  However, it wasn’t to be and the Isles took a step back.

If the Islanders are going to make the playoffs in a tight division, they need to start now.  Use that loss as a launching pad against the Metro leading Capitals and the scrappy Hurricanes.  If the Islanders lose both games, they’ll be falling back to a place they don’t want to be in.  The Islanders are talented enough to be a top three team in the Metro.  Can they use this loss as a way to get back to the top of the pack?

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