Rangers go down quietly in 3-0 loss to Islanders

Rangers go down quietly in 3-0 loss to Islanders

The Islanders just seem to have the Rangers’ number these days.

After the Blueshirts fell 3-0 Thursday night to the Isles in Brooklyn, the Rangers have now lost 10 of the last 11 meetings between the rivals over the last three seasons. The Rangers are now 0-5 at Barclays Center since the Isles moved for the start of the 2015-16 season.

The Rangers were shut out for the third time this season despite the Isles sitting in dead-last in the NHL in goals allowed per game at 3.67 entering the contest. They could not beat Jaroslav Halak, who made 50 saves.

Thomas Hickey put the Islanders up 3-0 at 3:57 of the third when his backhanded pass attempt deflected off David Desharnais and then through Henrik Lundqvist’s legs.

The Rangers were shut out for the third time this season.

The Rangers were shut out for the third time this season.

(Kathy Willens/AP)

About three minutes later, Desharnais seemed to have put the Rangers on the board, but his goal was disallowed following a review which showed Desharnais kicked the puck in.

Eleven seconds into a power play, Josh Bailey opened the scoring at 4:53 of the first with a shot near the right dot which beat Lundqvist high, near side.

Jordan Eberle doubled the Isles’ lead at 15:06 of the second period.

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Chris Kreider back at Rangers practice following rib surgery

Chris Kreider back at Rangers practice following rib surgery

Chris Kreider, who has been out since Dec. 27 after being diagnosed with a blood clot in his right arm, returned to practice Wednesday afternoon in a non-contact capacity.

It is the first time Kreider has skated with the Rangers since departing their Dec. 27 game against the Capitals after the first period. He recently had been skating on his own.

Chris Kreider has been out since the Rangers' game on Dec. 27.

Chris Kreider has been out since the Rangers’ game on Dec. 27.

(Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Kreider underwent a rib resection following the blood clot diagnosis.

Wednesday marks seven weeks since he last played and five-and-a-half weeks since his surgery.

Rangers’ comeback attempt falls short in 3-2 loss to the Wild

Pavel Buchnevich, who suffered a concussion on Feb. 1, also returned to practice wearing a non-contact jersey.

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Rangers’ comeback attempt falls short in 3-2 loss to the Wild

Rangers’ comeback attempt falls short in 3-2 loss to the Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. – It appeared that Henrik Lundqvist might be suffering the indignity of being pulled for the fourth time in eight games. This was about to go off the rails for the Rangers very quickly, but they managed to steady themselves and keep their heads in the game as they’d done in the previous two since The Memo declaring the Rangers’ rebuild was released and keep Lundqvist in goal.

This time the Rangers’ fight wasn’t enough. They chipped away at a three-goal deficit but fell short of completing a comeback Tuesday night in a 3-2 loss to the Wild.

Kevin Hayes’ power-play goal at 11:46 of the second brought the Rangers within one. Minnesota native Neal Pionk blocked a shot and jump-started a three-on-one rush. Hayes’ shot was deflected by Jared Spurgeon and the puck found its way through Devan Dubnyk. Pionk’s assist was the first point of his NHL career.

Carelessness with the puck over the opening seven minutes of the game saw the Rangers quickly go down 3-0 and show why they’re rebuilding. Nick Holden intercepted a pass at the red line but then had the puck poked away by one-time Ranger Eric Staal, who scored on the game’s first shot at 3:09.

Henrik Lundqvist gives up a goal in the first period.

Henrik Lundqvist gives up a goal in the first period.

(Craig Lassig/AP)

Just 1:25 later, a shockingly bad play by Rick Nash led to Minnesota’s second goal. He tried to pass cross-ice deep in his own zone, but the pass was blocked by Zach Parise near the crease and the puck snuck by Lundqvist near side. Nine seconds after a television timeout Marcus Foligno added to the Wild’s lead after Brady Skjei couldn’t corral a loose puck.

That prompted Alain Vigneault to have backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev, called up from Hartford Saturday with Ondrej Pavelec (MCL sprain) out two-to-three weeks, prepare to enter the game. But the Rangers picked up a power play at 7:29, so Vigneault held off on pulling Lundqvist, seemingly to see if the Blueshirts could swing the momentum.

John Gilmour then netted his first career NHL goal and point on a one-time blast at 8:50, and Lundqvist remained in the game.

Marcus Foligno celebrates after scoring a goal in the first period.

Marcus Foligno celebrates after scoring a goal in the first period.

(Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

For the third straight game Skjei took on a heavy workload with Ryan McDonagh (upper body) sidelined, and this stretch provides a glimpse at what a McDonagh-less roster could mean for Skjei’s future in the event of a potential McDonagh trade.

Skjei’s sophomore season hasn’t seen him take the step he hoped for after an impressive rookie campaign, but recently in the do-it-all No. 1 defenseman role on the top pair, first power-play unit and first penalty-killing group, Skjei has made some progress while bearing greater responsibility.

“It’s kind of nice when you’re in the game and playing those minutes,” Skjei, a native of Lakeville, Minn., said before the game. “I don’t want to say it makes it easier, but you just feel like you’re in a flow. I feel like the last couple of games I’ve definitely stepped up and improved since the weeks before that.”

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Rangers getting a look at Brady Skjei in an expanded role

Rangers getting a look at Brady Skjei in an expanded role

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Rangers are getting a glimpse right now of what a Ryan McDonagh-less future could mean for Brady Skjei, with the captain currently injured and the subject of trade interest, and his fellow Twin Cities native occupying his role.

Skjei’s sophomore season hasn’t seen him take the step he hoped for after an impressive rookie campaign, but recently in the do-it-all No. 1 defenseman role on the top pair, first power-play unit and first penalty-killing group, Skjei has made progress while bearing greater responsibility.

“I feel like I’m playing well. It’s kind of nice when you’re in the game and playing those minutes,” said Skjei, the Lakeville, Minn. native who bought 12 tickets for family and expected close to 40 people in attendance Tuesday night supporting him against the Wild.

“I don’t want to say it makes it easier, but you just feel like you’re in a flow. I feel like the last couple of games I’ve definitely stepped up and improved since the weeks before that.”

Glen Sather to remain Rangers’ president for forseeable future

Brady Skjei could be a key part of the Rangers’ rebuilding plans.

Brady Skjei could be a key part of the Rangers’ rebuilding plans.

(Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images)

In his two previous games entering Tuesday, Skjei played 26:36 and 25:09, respectively, notching an assist in each contest. Skjei previously played at least 25 minutes this season twice, both games coming in late-November when McDonagh, currently dealing with an upper-body injury, was out with an ab strain.

This stretch with Skjei, who turns 24 next month, in the top role can be informative for the Rangers as they develop their plans for the future. They can see how Skjei handles this critical role and determine whether he’d be able to step into it full-time if a McDonagh deal materializes as part of the organization’s rebuild.

Skjei, a restricted free agent this summer, is a great skater with a good skill-set but for a while this season had been prone to mishaps. Alain Vigneault said before the Feb. 3 game in Nashville that he expected more from Skjei regarding defending and puck decisions.

That night a Skjei defensive-zone turnover ended up in the Ranger net. Skjei admitted afterward he was “one of those guys that needs to step up.” He feels like he has since then, and his coach agrees.

Jimmy Vesey’s late goal propels Rangers to 3-1 victory over Jets

Ryan McDonagh has been the subject of trade rumors.

Ryan McDonagh has been the subject of trade rumors.

(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

“I think he’s done well,” Vigneault said of Skjei. “He’s been put in key moments, key situations. This for a young defenseman without a doubt is gonna help in his play and his development.”

Skjei, who shared a homecoming with rookie Minnesota natives Neal Pionk and Vinni Lettieri, has also been trying to help call-ups Tony DeAngelo, Pionk, John Gilmour and now Ryan Sproul adapt. With the Rangers’ defensive corp missing McDonagh, Marc Staal (cervical strain,) Steven Kampfer (fractured hand) and Brendan Smith (AHL demotion,) Skjei and Nick Holden are the team’s only healthy defensemen who’ve spent all season in the NHL.

“We’ve got two guys who started the year, so it’s a totally different feel,” Skjei said. “I’ve been trying to help the younger guys out as much as I can vocally, giving them pointers here and there but mostly just encouraging them and telling them to play their game, because they’re obviously pretty good players.”

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ryan mcdonagh
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Glen Sather to remain Rangers’ president for forseeable future

Glen Sather to remain Rangers’ president for forseeable future

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Glen Sather is committed to the Rangers for the foreseeable future as the franchise looks to rebuild. The Daily News confirmed a report that the 74-year-old team president agreed to stay with the organization at least through next season for what will be his 19th with the Rangers.

Sather joined the Rangers as president and general manager on June 1, 2000 after leading the Edmonton Oilers to five Stanley Cups over 21 years. He stepped aside from his GM post on July 1, 2015 with Jeff Gorton being promoted while Sather remained president.

After not making the playoffs during Sather’s first four seasons with the franchise, the Rangers have made the playoffs in 11 of the past 12 seasons, reaching one Stanley Cup Final and two other conference finals.

But the Cup has been elusive, and with a deep playoff run seeming unlikely this season amid poor play and mounting injuries, Sather, Gorton and Co. are looking to freshen up the roster with youth and speed.

Glen Sather has been the Rangers’ president since 2000.

Glen Sather has been the Rangers’ president since 2000.

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

A letter sent to season-ticket holders on Thursday formally stating the organization’s plans to make moves geared toward improving the club’s future prospects was signed by both Sather and Gorton before the two addressed reporters the same day.

There are two weeks before the trade deadline and the Rangers are looking to deal before then. Pending unrestricted free agents Rick Nash and Michael Grabner have generated interest from Cup-contending teams as rentals. There’s plenty of buzz around Nash, who submitted his 12-team trade list to the Rangers and could be the missing piece for several Western Conference teams like Nashville and Dallas. Nick Holden and David Desharnais are also pending unrestricted free agents.

***

Steven Kampfer is four-to-six weeks with a fractured hand.

Steven Kampfer is four-to-six weeks with a fractured hand.

(Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

Another day, another Rangers injury. The snake-bitten Blueshirts lost defenseman Steven Kampfer for four-to-six weeks with a fractured hand, creating yet another void on their blue line. Kampfer had been on the top pair with Brady Skjei the previous two games. Kampfer suffered the fracture Sunday on a shot by Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien in the second period and played the rest of the game with it, logging 8:33 of his season-high 22:39 of ice time in the third period.

The Rangers called up defenseman Ryan Sproul from AHL Hartford to replace him. They’ve had to dip into the Hartford well three times within the last five days with Ryan McDonagh (upper body) and Marc Staal (cervical strain) injured, and now with Brendan Smith in the AHL trying to find his game. Neal Pionk and John Gilmour had spent all season with Hartford before making their NHL debuts Friday, and Tony DeAngelo spent three months with Hartford.

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