BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- The Rangers' six-game winning streak came to an end Thursday in Brooklyn, as the Blueshirts fell to the Islanders, 4-2, at Barclays Center.
Nikolay Kulemin's shorthanded goal 3:03 into the third period held up as the game-winner, and it's one head coach Alain Vigneault said should have never happened.
"When you've got five guys just standing around looking at two of their players making plays in front of our net - without a doubt, that one put us behind the 8-ball early in the third," Vigneault said.
"They got a goal there that they shouldn't have gotten."
Nick Holden and Jimmy Vesey scored while Henrik Lundqvist made 19 saves in the loss.
Video: NYR@NYI: Holden finishes quick two-on-one rush
The Rangers opened the scoring on a goal by Holden, who finished a pass from Mats Zuccarello on a 2-on-1 for his ninth goal of the season at 6:23 of the first period. Holden had just exited the penalty box when he joined Zuccarello on the odd-man rush, and he fired a wrist shot that beat goaltender Thomas Greiss.
The Islanders would answer early in the second period on a goal by Anders Lee, who circled around the net and converted on a pass from Josh Bailey for his 22nd goal of the season at 2:43 in.
The Islanders would add to their lead less than four minutes later when Stephen Gionta stripped Marc Staal of the puck behind the Rangers net and fed Andrew Ladd in front for the goal to make it 2-1.
"I just thought I had a little more time than I did," Staal said. "I thought Hank stopped it and when I realized he didn't, I've just got to make a better play on the puck … that one is on me."
Video: NYR@NYI: Vesey slides home loose puck for PPG
After Kulemin put the Islanders up a pair, Vesey scored his 14th of the season came just 43 seconds later that cut the deficit to 3-2. With the Rangers still on the power play, Vesey batted in a loose puck from just outside the crease that got the Rangers within a goal.
The Islanders added an empty net goal by Ladd with 1:10 remaining, but after the game, the goal that stuck with Lundqvist was the third.
"I feel like the third one is a killer," Lundqvist said. "On our own power play - sometimes when you're an extra man, you might rely on someone else to do the job and I think that's what happened. We didn't communicate in front of the net because we had the guys back. We just didn't sort it out. That was the difference, I think, because overall it was a good game. We worked hard and had some chances, but when we gave that one up it was a tough hill to climb."