ISLANDERS 7, RANGERS 4
By Jason Lockhart
Viktor Kozlov scored four goals to help the Islanders win 7-4 in a barn burner over the NY Rangers at Madison Square Garden, Sunday night. Chris Simon collected three points as the Islanders (14-9-3) took sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division.
Miroslav Satan used his magical hands to put the Islanders up 1-0. After receiving a pass from Mike Sillinger in the neutral zone, Satan dangled around a couple of Rangers before wristing a high shot past Henrik Lundqvist, 7:30 into the game.
The Islanders went up 2-0 on the power play with 9:35 gone by in the first period. Radek Martinek threw a pass down low to Simon, who did the rest. Simon skated out from the side of the net and whipped a low shot past Lundqvist for his fourth goal of the season.
With 3:32 left in the period, Kozlov picked up a loose puck in front on the net and scored on the backhand for his first goal of the game.
A crucial criss-cross in the offensive zone by Sillinger and Arron Asham led to a 4-0 lead after 20 minutes. Sillinger crossed paths with Asham before dropping the puck off to Asham, who fired it home with 33.4 seconds remaining in the first period.
Kevin Weekes replaced Lundqvist to start the second period. Lundqvist stopped only four of eight shots in the first period.
Brendan Shanahan got the first Rangers goal on a 2-on-1, while shorthanded, at 6:45 of the second period.
The Rangers cut the lead to 4-2 while skating 4-on-4 with 3:38 left in the second period. Jaromir Jagr walked out of the corner and put home his 13th goal of the season. It was 4-3 on Shanahan's second goal of the period just 1:06 later.
Kozlov got the Islanders back on track with 79 ticks left in the second period to make it 5-3. A centering pass by Simon got to Kozlov, who banged it past Weekes.
With 7:01 gone by in the third period Shanahan got his third goal, on the power play, to pull the Rangers within one.
Kozlov got a hat trick of his own with 6:08 left in the third period. With 1:36 left, Richard Park fed Kozlov for his fourth of the game.
Richard Park: "It's pretty easy to play with Viktor because he was seeing the net so well tonight."
Viktor Kozlov: "It was a special night. I was starting to feel it with my linemates. Whether I was with Simon, Park or Hilbert, it was working."
Ted Nolan: "It was a funny game. We were up by four, and then they made 4-3 and 5-4. But we found a way. The veteran presence on the team is big reason we got the win."
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Viktor Kozlov: First four-goal game of his NHL career
2. Brendan Shanahan: Netted three goals in the losing effort
3. Chris Simon: A goal and two assists
4. Richard Park: Set-up two Kozlov goals and was a +3
5. Tom Poti: Solid on defense, especially late in the game
Stat of the Game: Viktor Kozlov scored on four of his six shots.
Slapshots: Viktor Kozlov's previous game high was three goals, accomplished on January 5, 2000 against Anaheim¦It was the highest scoring Islanders-Rangers game since the Rangers defeated the Islanders 6-4 on March 29, 2001 at the Nassau Coliseum This was the highest goal total for the Islanders in a game this season.
39 Rick DiPietro
1 Mike Dunham
32 Brendan Witt - 24 Radek Martinek
77 Alexei Zhitnik - 6 Sean Hill
3 Tom Poti - 8 Bruno Gervais
45 Arron Asham - 18 Mike Sillinger - 55 Jason Blake
7 Trent Hunter - 16 Mike York - 81 Miroslav Satan
12 Chris Simon - 25 Viktor Kozlov - 11 Andy Hilbert
33 Eric Boguniecki - 17 Shawn Bates - 10 Richard Park
30 Henrik Lundqvist
80 Kevin Weekes
8 Marek Malik - 3 Michal Rozsival
51 Fedor Tyutin - 4 Aaron Ward
24 Sandis Ozolinsh - 23 Karel Rachunek
82 Martin Straka - 92 Michael Nylander - 68 Jaromir Jagr
14 Brendan Shanahan - 5 Matt Cullen - 18 Adam Hall
81 Marcel Hossa - 19 Blair Betts - 25 Petr Prucha
28 Colton Orr - 16 Jason Ward - 44 Ryan Hollweg