Islanders Happy After Loss to Rangers: ‘Can’t Be Disappointed’

Ilya Sorokin #30 of the New York Islanders

Getty Ilya Sorokin #30 of the New York Islanders

In the final chapter of the 2024 Battle of New York series, the hosts New York Rangers won a franchise-high 54th game this year while the visiting Islanders returned to Long Island with a single point thanks to losing in a shootout.

Despite the 3-2 defeat, the Islanders did enough to get the contest into overtime and then a shootout, which left them in prime position to clinch a postseason berth in the next few days.

That is why Islanders captain Anders Lee wasn’t entirely upset about the loss, even if it came against the fiercest of rivals in the hottest of rivalries across the NHL.

“We can’t be disappointed with [the loss], Lee told reporters after the game on April 13, via ABC. “Every point matters here down the stretch. It’s obviously very tight within the division and within the wild card, so it’s a big point today on the road against a great hockey team.

“The extra point could have gone either way in a shootout or overtime.”

With the matinee loss, the Islanders had to wait for the rest of the slate of games to develop so they could find out where they were sitting in the standings entering play on Sunday.

At the end of the day, the Isles retained the No. 3 seed in the Metropolitan Division, granting them access to the playoffs for now even though they have yet to clinch a berth.

There was no drama this time even though the Rangers brought back rookie Matt Rempe to keep the Islanders honest following their “vicious” hits on Rangers players earlier in the week, as Rangers’ head coach Peter Laviolette called them.

The Islanders Are Nearly a Lock for the Playoffs

Even though they wouldn’t fully acknowledge it publicly, the Islanders must be upset about what happened on Saturday against the Rangers. The loss marked the 16th time the Isles (37-27-16, 90 points) have dropped points in overtime or a shootout this season, more than any other NHL team.

With 90 points in 80 games, the Islanders are third in the Metropolitan Division with a three-point advantage over joint-fourth Washington and Philadelphia. The Capitals have 87 points in 80 games but the Flyers have already played 81 games to get to that same point bounty.

Islanders head coach Patrick Roy, echoing Lee, also highlighted the significance of the point earned against the Rangers during his postgame press conference.

“It’s a big point for us, but in the same way, we would have loved to have those two points,” Roy told reporters after the game played on April 13. “It was a hard-fought game. Both teams had their chances.

“We felt like we have had that game on our side.”

Islanders forward Brock Nelson, who scored both of his team’s goals on Saturday, was asked about the possibility of meeting the Rangers in the first round of the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“That’s probably a little too far ahead I guess for us,” Nelson said after the loss. “We’re happy at the point now. We’re just trying to fight for the next game and kind of control our own destiny.”

Rangers Clinch Series Against Islanders 3-1, Reach 54 Wins

The Rangers set a franchise record with their 54th win of the season. They won 53 games in 2015 and 52 both last year and in 1994 when they also went on to win the Stanley Cup Final.

The victory moved New York three points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the Metro, although the Canes have a game in hand over the Rangers. In any case, a win on Monday against the Ottawa Senators would clinch the division title for the Rangers.

Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck scored the shootout goals for the Rangers against Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin. New York leads the Eastern Conference over the Boston Bruins (tied with Carolina at 109 points through 80 games played) and the NHL over the Dallas Stars (111 points in 81 games).

The Islanders still have two pivotal matchups left in their schedule. They face the in-state rivals New Jersey Devils (81 points, eliminated from contention) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (86 points in 80 games, 4 points behind the Isles) in the season finale.

A win against the Devils on Monday would clinch the Islanders a playoff berth. The Washington Capitals sit in the No. 2 wild-card position entering Sunday with Detroit and Philadelphia chasing them, each having 87 points in 80 and 81 games respectively.

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