Panarin scores late to tie it, Rangers win in shootout to cool off Islanders 3-2

Rangers Artemi Panarin
(AP Photo/John Munson)

Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck converted in the shootout while Igor Shesterkin turned away both shots that he faced and the New York Rangers overturned a 2-1 third-period deficit to defeat the New York Islanders 3-2 on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

Panarin tied the game at two apiece with 4:17 to go in the third period to force overtime and cancel out Brock Nelson’s two second-period goals, which gave the Islanders a slim lead heading into the final period.

The two points were vital for the Rangers (54-23-4, 112 points), who curbed a two-game skid to remain atop the Metropolitan Division and the Presidents’ Trophy race.

Shesterkin, who made 33 saves, kept the Rangers in it all day, especially late in the game when he turned away an Adam Pelech penalty shot with 6:56 remaining. The star netminder also made a brilliant glove save to deny Mathew Barzal with 6.9 seconds left in overtime to secure the shootout.

The Islanders’ six-game winning streak was snapped with the result, but a point without their top defenseman Noah Dobson is still an important one as they inch ever so closer to a playoff berth. With 90 points now on the season, they hold a four-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division and with it, a non-wild-card playoff spot.

The Penguins host the Boston Bruins later on Saturday night.

The Islanders had nearly eight minutes of uninterrupted power-play time toward the end of the first period and into the second period, featuring a four-minute double-minor high-sticking penalty on Kaapo Kakko, but it was the Rangers that dictated the play and ultimately found the game’s opening goal while shorthanded. 

Defenseman Braden Schneider put the Rangers up 4:33 into the second when he was part of a 3-on-1 shorthanded rush stemming off an Islanders turnover. Islanders defensemen opted not to press the defenseman, who was able to list into the zone from the blue line, get a wrist shot on goal that was saved by goalie Ilya Sorokin, and find the rebound to tap it in.

The Islanders netminder matched Shesterkin all afternoon, turning away 41 shots.

Pierre Engvall appeared to equalize for the Islanders with 11 seconds on that double-minor, but his one-timed tally was wiped away after review because Kyle Palmieri was offside on the zone entry. 

Nelson did find the leveler at the 11:42 mark for the visitors. A turnover at the Rangers’ blueliner saw him feed Hudson Fasching down the right boards into the circle. A drop-back, centering pass for Palmieri was one-timed and blocked into Nelson’s path where he swiped it over Shesterkin, who couldn’t wrangle the puck in while on his back. 

With 28 seconds to go in the second, Nelson got his second. The center won a battle behind the Rangers’ net for Fasching, who wrapped around Shesterkin’s left and passed it to the opposite post for Nelson, who finished into the open net to give the Islanders a lead going into the final stanza.

As opposed to Tuesday night when the Islanders were on the backfoot while nursing a third-period lead, they pushed the envelope offensively. With 6:56 to go, defenseman Adam Pelech was awarded a penalty shot when he was hooked on a breakaway by Artemi Panarin.

The glove of Shesterkin turned away his wrist shot to keep it a one-goal game.

Off a face-off at the left circle, Panarin retrieved the puck, flashed along the top of circle, and sniped a wrister into the top-right corner of Sorokin’s goal.

Casey Cizikas nearly found the winner with two minutes left, but his chance from in close rang off the crossbar. 

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