The New York Islanders earned a crucial standings point, but surrendered two to their cross-town rivals, falling 1-0 in overtime to the New York Rangers Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum. The point gives the Islanders 47 for the season, and keeps them one ahead of the Rangers for seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Dan Girardi scored 3:11 into overtime on the Rangers 20th shot of the game. The Islanders held their opponents to 10 shots between the second and third periods and killed off four minor penalties to keep the game scoreless into the extra session. It was the fifth game in the last six meeting between the Islanders and Rangers that went beyond regulation.
Following the game, Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano credited his blue line with a solid effort.
“I thought our D did a really good job keeping them to the outside,” Capuano said. “We popped some pucks tonight. We didn't play in our zone for an extended period of time. Travis (Hamonic) played hard tonight. He and Andrew (MacDonald) had a big challenge. They accepted that and I thought they did a great job tonight against their top line.”
The Islanders outshot the Rangers 29-20 by the end of the game, but could not solve Henrik Lundqvist, who recorded his first shutout of the season. Evgeni Nabokov made 19 saves for the Islanders and moves to 7-1-2 in his last 10 starts.
Matt Moulson had a prime scoring chance late in the first following a shot from the point by Thomas Hickey. The rebound wound up on Moulson’s stick in the slot, but Lundqvist threw up a glove to make an acrobatic save.
The teams exchanged shots off the iron midway through the game. During a second period power play, the Rangers’ Derek Stepan redirected a shot from the right wing boards through Nabokov’s legs but off the right goal post. With three minutes remaining in the middle frame, Carkner clanged one off the left post behind Lundqvist, sending the sellout crowd of 16,170 to their feet. After a brief review, the puck was determined not to have crossed the goal line. Early in the third period, Colin McDonald hit the elbow on a wrist shot that went over Lundqvist’s pads.
Five minutes into the third, the crowd erupted again when John Tavares and Moulson almost teamed up for the game’s first goal. Lundqvist misplayed the puck behind his net, Tavares was unable to beat the Rangers scrambling goalie, and Moulson’s rebound chance was stopped as well.
The Islanders killed off one more minor penalty that spilled into overtime, but Girardi broke into the zone on the right wing and wristed a shot just over Nabokov’s shoulder and inside the post. Derick Brassard and Michael Del Zotto assisted on the game’s only goal.
“We played a good game,” Nabokov said. “We should be proud of the way we played. We didn’t get the results we wanted, but it’s hockey; this stuff happens. A little bounce here, a little bounce there – none of them went our way. We hit the post, but that’s a part of the game. I think it was a great game. Some fans want a four-five goal game, but I’d rather have this type of atmosphere.”
With a three-point buffer on ninth-place Winnipeg, the Islanders are off until Tuesday, when the Florida Panthers head to the Coliseum for the home finale. Opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
New York Islanders
60 Kevin Poulin
New York Rangers
36 Mats Zuccarello - 21 Derek Stepan - 61 Rick Nash
29 Ryane Clowe - 19 Brad Richards - 22 Brian Boyle
62 Carl Hagelin - 16 Derick Brassard - 24 Ryan Callahan
27 Ryan McDonagh - 5 Dan Girardi
4 Michael Del Zotto - 6 Anton Stralman
17 John Moore - 44 Steve Eminger
30 Henrik Lundqvist
43 Martin Biron