ANOTHER TWO BY STRAKA
Martin Straka's goal at 19:12 of the second period was the game-winner as the Rangers defeated the Islanders, 3-1, tonight at Madison Square Garden.
After a turnover by Rick DiPietro, Straka attempted a centering pass to Jaromir Jagr, but the puck caromed off Wyatt's Smith's skate and past DiPietro to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. Straka made it 3-1 mid-way through the third period when he one-timed a perfect pass off an end-to-end rush by defenseman Tom Poti. Straka has five goals in his last two games against the Islanders. Islanders center Wyatt Smith did a solid job of shadowing Jagr all night, but the superstar was able to create extra space for his linemates.
The loss was the sixth in a row for the Islanders, who host Washington on Saturday night.
The Islanders had the better of the play in the first period, keeping the Rangers in check and creating good scoring chances of their own, including Kevin Weekes' save on a Shawn Bates breakaway. When the Islanders caused another turnover, Miroslav Satan stepped over the blueline and sailed a wrister that might have been deflected and went through Weekes' pads at 10:39 of the first period to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead.
The Rangers made adjustments after the first period and came back strong, with rookie Jarkko Immonen scoring his first NHL goal just 22 seconds into the period to tie the game.
Weekes finished the game with 21 saves. DiPietro, who also had eight minutes in penalties, finished with 23 saves.
NOTES: The last two nights, the Islanders played three defenseman with under 30 NHL games each under their belt -- Allan Rourke (27), Denis Grebeshkov (26) and Bruno Gervais (20) -- plus rookie Chris Campoli, seemingly now a seasoned vet with 73 games played...
Gervais and Campoli are the scheduled guests of Al Trautwig for "Hockey Night New York Live" on MSG Network tonight at 10:00 pm and re-aired at 12:30 am...
Islanders coach Brad Shaw employed these line combinations and defense pairings:
Satan - York - Hunter
Blake - Yashin - Nilsson
Bergenheim - Smith - Bates
Tambeliini - Colliton - Regier
Martinek - Campoli
Rourke - Gervais
Erskine - Grebeshkov