Saturday, February 01, 2014
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Familiar foes: Rangers top Isles at MSG

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[February 01, 2014]  NEW YORK  Having played the New York Islanders three times in 11 days, there were no secrets for the New York Rangers to solve Friday

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 last 10.

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.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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