Like any NHL team gearing up for the playoffs, the Rangers want to be at the top of all aspects of their game.

The fact that they’ve stayed atop the league for much of the season despite being one of the most inconsistent teams at five-on-five, however, is a testament to how much other parts of their identity have successfully overcompensated.

That does not make it any less concerning that the Rangers went 178:47 over four games without a five-on-five goal, even if Artemi Panarin ended the drought with a crucial game-tying score en route to a 3-2 shootout victory over the Islanders on Saturday at the Garden.

Peter Laviolette says the Rangers have to score when they get opportunities in five-on-five situations.
Peter Laviolette says the Rangers have to score when they get opportunities in five-on-five situations. Getty Images

“In five-on-five work, we’re pushing, we’re looking,” head coach Peter Laviolette said. “There’s a lot of chances. Without much power-play time, there’s 93 attempts at the net tonight. We’re in the offensive zone, we’re looking for it, it’s just not dropping maybe as easily as we would like. There were some good chances, especially early on. We just couldn’t capitalize on them.

“We’re getting the looks, so that makes me feel good about that, but we also need to bury them.”

For those counting at home, the Rangers nearly went nine consecutive periods without notching a five-on-five goal.

More concerningly, over that span, they were outscored 9-0 at even strength.

The power play had kept them somewhat competitive in the previous two games, collecting three goals.

The Rangers only received one man-advantage opportunity Saturday, which they failed to capitalize on, while the Islanders went 0-for-5 on the power play.

“I don’t think anybody is thinking, ‘Oh, five-on-five, we need to score,’ ” Vincent Trocheck said. “If we win 4-0 and they’re all power-play goals or two shorthanded goals, I don’t think anybody cares one way or anything. We need to score goals to win games and however they come that’s how they’re going to come. I feel like a lot of times the flow of the game is different. We had a lot of penalty kills.

“Some games you go up with three power-play goals and you’re more shut down the rest of the game and you don’t score five-on-five. It’s just the flow of the game. We’re all just trying to win games however we can.”

Coming back from a 2-1 deficit, the Rangers completed their 28th comeback of the season to set a franchise record. Their 112 points are tied with the 1993-94 team for the second-most in team history.

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