The Islanders got an early goal from Michael Grabner and played 54 minutes of shutout hockey in front of goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, but lost 2-1 in overtime to the New York Rangers Thursday at Nassau Coliseum. The decision gives the Islanders a point in their fourth-straight game and moves their overall record to 10-11-3 (23 points).
The Islanders clung to a 1-0 lead late in the third period, but Rangers forward Rick Nash deflected in a shot to tie the game with five minutes remaining. A power play goal 42 seconds into overtime by Marian Gaborik gave the Rangers the extra standings point.
“Nabby played great tonight,” John Tavares said of the Islanders goalie. “We allowed a tough one to tie it. We kept it going into overtime and it was just an unfortunate break.”
Grabner found the back of the net to give the Islanders a 1-0 advantage midway through the first period. Colin McDonald backhanded a no-look pass from below the goal line through a pair of Rangers defenders to find Grabner in front of the goal. The left wing’s 10th of the season went just inside the elbow of the goalpost on goalie Henrik Lundqvist’s glove-side. Andrew MacDonald earned the secondary helper on the play.
Nabokov stopped the first 31 shots he faced, including a point blank opportunity on JT Miller a minute into the third period, and another on Darroll Powe, who was all alone in the slot at the 13:44 mark of the third.
Nash scored the game-tying goal at 14:37, ending Nabokov’s 68:30 shutout streak. Derek Stepan’s shot from the point glanced off Nash’s stick in the left circle and squeaked past the Islanders netminder. The Rangers out-shot the home team 15-9 in the final period, but the Islanders held on to force overtime and earn a point in the standings.
A hooking minor to Grabner just 21 seconds into overtime put the Rangers on a 4-on-3 power play. Another 21 seconds passed before Marian Gaborik ended the contest with his eighth tally of the season on a blast from the top of the zone. Nash and Stepan assisted on the goal, each recording their second point of the evening.
“That was probably the toughest loss all year,” Nabokov said. “We were battling. I thought the Nash line was doing a great job around the net. They were putting pucks on the net and they were crashing. They made it tough on our D.”
The Islanders look to end their seven-game home stand on a high note Saturday, when they host the Washington Capitals for a matinee contest at Nassau Coliseum. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Notes: The Islanders were 0-for-0 on the power play, not getting a man advantage for the second time in their last four games … The Islanders went past regulation for the third time in four games, and for the second consecutive time against the Rangers … Andrew MacDonald led all players with 27:34 of ice time and five blocked shots … Michael Grabner led the team with four shots on goal … Matt Martin and Colin McDonald led all players with six hits apiece … The Islanders lost the faceoff battle 23-18, but were led by Casey Cizikas, who went 5-for-8 in the circle.
New York Islanders
60 Kevin Poulin
New York Rangers
62 Carl Hagelin - 21 Derek Stepan - 61 Rick Nash
10 Marian Gaborik - 47 JT Miller - 24 Ryan Callahan
14 Taylor Pyatt - 22 Brian Boyle - 8 Darroll Powe
32 Micheal Haley - 15 Jeff Halpern - 41 Stu Bickel
27 Ryan McDonagh - 5 Dan Girardi
4 Michael Del Zotto - 6 Anton Stralman
40 Roman Hamrlik - 44 Steve Eminger
30 Henrik Lundqvist
43 Martin Biron