For the second time in three days, the Rangers turned back the
Islanders, recording a 4-1 win at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers defeated their closest rivals 2-1 at Yankee Stadium on
Wednesday. Prior to that game, the Islanders (21-28-8) delivered a
5-3 win Jan. 21.
The Rangers (30-23-3) scored three third period goals Friday,
snapping a 1-1 tie.
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped 38 shots and has allowed
two goals or fewer in 33 of 56 games this season and in nine of his
Center Derick Brassard gave the Rangers a 2-1 edge at 12:14 of the
third period. Center Mats Zuccarello skated up ice on a delayed
penalty call, found defenseman Marc Staal, who sent a crisp
cross-zone pass to Brassard, who one-timed it home for his ninth
goal of the season.
Center Brad Richards scored on a wrist shot that trickled through
the pads of Islanders goaltender Evgeni Nabokov at 14:59 of the
third to make it 3-1. The goal was Richards' 14th of the season.
Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonough added an empty-net goal in the
final second to close out the scoring.
"This is a team that we know real well," said Rangers coach Alain
Vigneault of the Islanders. "We know their tendencies. We know their
strengths and we know what we need to do against them.
"We played on the ice against them and have watched a ton of video
on what we need to do."
Lundqvist was particularly sharp in the second and third periods
with the game hanging in the balance, stopping a combined 26 shots.
"It was good to be back on the (Madison Square) Garden ice," said
Lundqvist. "Preparations are back to normal and it was a fun game.
It was intense and there were chances both ways."
Nabokov made 33 saves for the slipping Islanders, who dropped their
fifth straight (0-4-1) after winning seven of nine.
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"I thought it was frustrating in the second period when
(Henrik) Lundqvist made some big saves," said Islanders coach
Jack Capuano. "Even in the first period he made a couple of big
ones that were obviously the difference maker."
The Islanders (21-28-8) drew even at 1 when wide-open winger
Kyle Okposo tapped in defenseman Calvin de Haan's rebound at
14:28 of the second period. The goal came just five seconds
after the Islanders couldn't score on the power play with
McDonough off for hooking.
The Rangers took six shots in the first two minutes of the game,
finally capitalizing on fourth line center Brian Boyle's fourth
goal. The 6-foot-7 Boyle deflected Staal's wrist shot from the
slot at 3:29 for the 1-0 lead.
The goal was Boyle's first in 11 games. The Islanders best
chance in the first period occurred via the power play, however,
they failed to convert for the 18th time in the last five games.
The Islanders were 0-for-3 on the power play, which ranks 21st
in the league.
"I don't think the power play was good," said Capuano. "That was
a little bit of a disappointment for me tonight. That could have
been the difference in the game."
NOTES: The Rangers are now 13-13-3 at home. ... The Rangers have
registered at least one point in 20 of their last 25 games
against the Islanders. ... Islanders D Andrew MacDonald led the
NHL with 181 blocked shots going into Friday night's game. He
blocked four shots on Friday... Islanders LW Matt Martin is tops
in the league in hits with 268. Martin has led the league in
that category the last two seasons. ... The Rangers have
registered 40 or more shots eight times this season and have 30
or more shots in 23 of their last 27 outings. The Rangers are
fourth in the league with 32.4 shots per game. ... Rangers G
Henrik Lundqvist appeared in his 553rd NHL game, tying him with
Tiny Thompson for 50th on the league's career goalie list. ...
The Rangers honored their longtime TV voice, Sam Rosen, before
the game. Rosen has broadcast the team for 30 seasons.
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