ISLANDERS 4, RANGERS 3
For the second straight time at Madison Square Garden, the Islanders won behind a hat trick. Tuesday night, Jason Blake recorded his fourth career NHL hat trick to guide the Islanders (17-12-3) to a 4-3 win over the host New York Rangers. Rick DiPietro stopped 30 shots to earn the victory.
Blake scored his first of the game to tie the contest at one only 43 seconds after Brendan Shanahan put the Rangers up by one. Blake wristed one past Kevin Weekes from the slot for his 17th goal of the season.
Blake scored his 18th of the season while on a two-man advantage with 5:53 gone by in the second period. Blake's centering pass bounced off Rangers defenseman Aaron Ward and slid through Weekes' legs.
"Yash was wide open on the backdoor and I didn't even see it hit the player's stick," admitted Blake. "Sometimes you need luck on your side."
Less than two minutes later, another power play opportunity gave Blake his hat trick. Blake pounced on a rebound for his 19th of the season.
"Blakey was playing very well and seeing the puck well," said Brendan Witt, who received a black-and-blue mark courtesy of Brendan Shanahan's fist. "When you're hot you're hot and the puck has been going in for him.
The captain, Alexei Yashin scored his 12th goal of the season with a rifle of a wrist shot with 7:29 left in the second period. Yashin has now scored in both games he has played since his return from injury.
"It's good to see Yashin back," said Blake. "He's played outstanding hockey the last two games. With him in the lineup and in our locker room there's a different make-up to our hockey club. It's a privilege to play with him."
Jaromir Jagr cut the Islanders lead to 4-3 with one goal late in the second period and one with 8:15 left in the third period.
With the goaltender pulled, the Rangers could not get the tying goal as DiPietro and the Islanders defense shut them down.
"We didn't panic in the last five minutes of the game," said Ted Nolan. "Tonight was a total team effort."
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Jason Blake: Hat trick
2. Brendan Witt: Drew two key power plays in the second period
3. Tom Poti: Two power play assists
4. Jaromir Jagr: Two goals and an assist in the losing effort
5. Alexei Yashin: A goal and a +2 rating
Stat of the Game: Tom Poti played 28:42 and led the team with four blocked shots.
Slapshots: Jason Blake's hat trick was a natural one, having scored the three goals consecutively...Alexei Yashin has a seven-game points streak...Blake has points in 13 of his last 15 games...Arron Asham (wrist) was tonight's scratch...This is the first time the Islanders have scored a hat trick in consecutive games against the Rangers.
39 Rick DiPietro
1 Mike Dunham
32 Brendan Witt - 24 Radek Martinek
14 Chris Campoli - 6 Sean Hill
3 Tom Poti - 8 Bruno Gervais -
55 Jason Blake - 79 Alexei Yashin - 12 Chris Simon
17 Shawn Bates - 18 Mike Sillinger - 11 Andy Hilbert
25 Viktor Kozlov - 16 Mike York - 81 Miroslav Satan
7 Trent Hunter 10 Richard Park - 33 Eric Boguniecki
80 Kevin Weekes
29 Al Montoya
4 Aaron Ward - 51 Fedor Tyutin
23 Karel Rachunek - 6 Darius Kasparaitis
22 Thomas Pock - 3 Michal Rozsival
25 Petr Prucha - 16 Jason Ward - 68 Jaromir Jagr
14 Brendan Shanahan - 82 Martin Straka - 43 Ryan Callahan
44 Ryan Hollweg - 19 Blair Betts - 18 Adam Hall
81 Marcel Hossa - 38 Jarkko Immonen - 28 Colton Orr