2024 Stadium Series - New York Islanders vs. New York Rangers
The New York Rangers celebrate a goal during their 2024 Stadium Series game against the New York Islanders. (Photo by Shaquan Woody - JSN)

Rangers Storm Back From 4 Goal Deficit to Beat Isles in OT

Day two of outdoor hockey in New Jersey! After the Devils defeated the Flyers on Saturday, a battle of New York rivals took center stage on Sunday. The Rangers and Islanders play every year, but this was the first time they had ever played outdoors. A sunny afternoon led to warmer temperatures, but the wind was much more potent at puck drop.

The Isles came into the game five points out of the final Wild Card spot, while the Rangers sit atop the Metropolitan Division. After a 45-minute delay due to the glare on the ice, we were ready for the opening face-off. 

Like the night before, the scoring came early in the 1st period. The Rangers struck first when Erik Gustafsson fired a slapshot by Ilya Sorokin to go up 1-0 just a minute and a half into the game. 

Both teams sent out their 4th lines to take the ensuing face-off. The puck had barely hit the ice when Ranger’s rookie Matt Rempe squared up with Islander’s veteran Matt Martin. The crowd of 80,000 rose to its feet, with both players being assessed 5-minute majors for fighting. The Islanders took control of the period from that point forward.

Brock Nelson was the first Islander to get the puck past Igor Shesterkin just minutes after the Rempe/Martin fight. Nelson tied the game up at one with a slick wrist shot, and that was only the beginning. Three minutes later, Bo Horvat put another wrister past Shesterkin, making it 2-1 Isles. 

Mat Barzal made it three goals in 3:14 off a slick feed from Brock Nelson, giving the Island Boys a 3-1 lead going into the first intermission. 

The 2nd period was when this game completely took off! A little over a minute into the frame, Andres Lee added the Isles’ fourth straight goal on a deflection that found the back of the net. The Islanders were now in total control up 4-1, with Shesterkin looking like a shell of himself. The Rangers needed a spark to get back into this game.

The spark came in the form of Vincent Trocheck. The Rangers’ Center scored twice to end the period and cut the Islander lead to 4-3. Trocheck scored on a wrister and rebound shot, electrifying the Metlife crowd as the game headed into the 2nd intermission. 

Both teams emerged from the locker rooms to thunderous cheers from their respective fanbases. The Battle of New York was just a one-goal game with 15 minutes to go. After Alexander Romanov knocked home a rebound shot to give the Islanders a 5-3 lead, the rest of the period saw plenty of physicality but no scoring. 

Late in the 3rd, both teams had men in the box, making it a 4-on-4. The game changed when the Rangers pulled Shesterkin while on a Power Play to have a 5-on-3 advantage. The gamble paid off, as Panarin’s wrister deflected off of Chris Kreider to bring it back to a one-goal game with four minutes to go.

A Scott Mayfield penalty with 2:28 left put the Rangers on another Power Play with a chance to tie the game. The Blue Shirts pulled Shesterkin for an extra man, and it paid off for the second time. Adam Fox fed Mika Zibanejad, who fired an absolute bullet into the back of the net to tie the game up and send it to Overtime.

Two days of outdoor hockey wasn’t enough. We head some free hockey at Metlife Stadium as day turned into night in East Rutherford. Trocheck and Horvat skated to center ice for the OT faceoff. The thunderous sound of the crowd coming to their feet filled the cold New Jersey air with the screams of both fanbases. 

Horvat won the faceoff, sending the puck back to Noah Dobson. With Panarin putting pressure on him, Dobson tried to get the puck over to Barzal. The Rangers’ vet picked off the puck, made a move on Sorokin, and hit a shot that would have gone in if Dobson hadn’t knocked the goal off its moorings. After an official review, officials ruled that the goal was good—solidifying the Rangers' comeback and capping off an incredible weekend of hockey at Metlife Stadium. 

The win extended the Rangers’ streak to a season-high seven games and a comfortable 6 points ahead of Carolina in the Metropolitan Division. The Islanders remain two spots out of a Wildcard spot after what has to be one of the more devastating losses of the season.