The Islanders' winning streak came to an end Thursday night, as three powerplay goals by the Rangers were the difference in a 5-3 game at the Coliseum.
The first action of the night wasn't a goal, but a brutal battle between Eric Godard and Colton Orr. After getting called for matching roughing penalties early in the game for an altercation near the bench, the two tough guys made an appointment to meet two minutes later. Once freed from the penalty box, they squared off and traded blows. In the end, Godard was bloodied and headed for the locker room, but Orr was on the ice after taking some stunning blows.
When the scoring did begin, 13 minutes into the first period, a penalty was again involved, with Jeremy Colliton sitting in the box for a hooking penalty. With the powerplay, Jaromir Jagr skated into the slot and fed Martin Straka at the left post for a one-timer. Rick DiPietro made a great sliding save on Straka, but it left the goal open, a fact Straka took advantage of by passing to Fedor Tyutin at the point for a slapper into the empty net.
With a minute left, the visitors already held a big advantage in shots, but another whistle, this time on Jason Blake, put the Blueshirts back on the man-advantage. Holding the puck at the point in the Islanders' zone, Tom Poti waited for Steve Rucchin to get open in front of the net. Once he was, Poti slid a clean pass that Rucchin tapped behind DiPietro.
The Rangers came on strong out of the locker room in the second period, and quickly pushed their lead to three goals. Coming down the left wing, Martin Rucinsky unleashed a shot that caught DiPietro on the corner of his glove and trickled past him, crossing the goal line before he could get a stick on it.
The Rangers had a chance to make it 4-0 when Straka was taken out by Joel Bouchard on the breakaway, and made good on it. Coming in fast on goal, Straka picked the stick-side, and beat DiPietro with a quick wrist shot.
Three minutes into the third period, the Islanders got rid of the goose egg on their side of the scoreboard thanks a penalty on Tyutin. Carrying the puck in on net, Blake was shoved from behind, landing on Rangers netminder Kevin Weekes. Just before the impact though, Mark Parrish found the loose puck in the slot and deposited it into the top right corner of the net.
At the halway point of the third, Parrish pulled the Islanders within two goal with one of his patented net-mouth deflections. Shawn Bates took the puck to the point, where he dropped a pass that Oleg Kvasha sent on goal with a hard wrist shot. Waiting at the crease was Parrish, who redirected the shot just past Weekes' glovehand for his second tally of the night.
With three minutes left in the game, Jagr completed the scoring, finishing off a clean tic-tac-toe passing play. Michael Nylander carried the puck into the Islanders zone, and fed Straka, who trailed the play across the ice. Straka quickly slid a pass to Jagr in the slot, who put a shot off DiPietro and into the goal.
OFF THE ICE: Before the game, the H.L. Gross & Brothers Islander of the Month for January was awarded to Miroslav Satan... Congratulations go out to the Long Island Gulls Mite A team for bringing home the National Silver Sticks Championship... With Kevin Colley undergoing surgery, the Islanders called up Jeremy Colliton from Bridgeport... For the Islanders, Alexei Zhitnik (ankle), Garth Snow (knee), Tomi Pettinen (healthy), and Petteri Nokelainen (knee) were scratched, while the Rangers sat Blair Betts (knee), Ryan Hollweg (healthy), Ville Nieminen (healthy), Dale Purinton (suspended)... Joel Bouchard is the lastest member in the "New York, New York" club, having worn both teams sweaters, while John Erskine, Jeremy Colliton, and Petr Sykora got their first tastes of the regional rivalry (along with Wade Dubielewicz, if he takes the ice)... After five games of an eight-game season series, the Rangers hold a 3-2 lead.
--additional reporting by Brian Bohl
Mark Parrish on the team's attempt to tie the game in the third:
"We were working hard to get into those shooting lanes, but they got their bodies and sticks in front of the puck. We didn't work hard enough at the start and when you give a team like that a 4-0 lead, it's hard to come back from."
On finishing strong before the Olympic break:
"We just came out and waited to see what they were going to do instead of skating and playing our game... Every team loses games, so you have to bounce back from them. We need to start games fast and show the character we have."
(55) Jason Blake-(79) Alexei Yashin-(45) Arron Asham
(7) Trent Hunter-(16) Mike York-(81) Miroslav Satan
(12) Oleg Kvasha-(17) Shawn Bates-(37) Mark Parrish
(11) Mattias Weinhandl-(27) Jeremy Colliton-(49) Eric Godard
(44) Jon Erskine-(3) Brent Sopel
(14) Chris Campoli-(24) Radek Martinek
(4) Joel Bouchard-(25) Brad Lukowich
(39) Rick DiPietro
(34) Wade Dubielewicz
(82) Martin Straka-(92) Michael Nylander-(68) Jaromir Jagr
(26) Martin Ruckinsky-(20) Steve Rucchin-(17) Petr Sykora
(25) Petr Pruca-(81) Marcel Hossa-(14) Jason Ward
(18) Dominic Moore-(28) Colton Orr-(41) Jed Ortmeyer
(6) Darius Kasparaitis-(51) Fedor Tyutin
(3) Michal Rozsival-(8) Marek Malik
(16) Tom Poti-(34) Jason Strudwick
(80) Kevin Weekes
(30) Henrik Lundqvist