Grabner's pair leads Islanders past Rangers

Cory Wright | Friday, 12.20.2013 / 11:14 PM

Powered by secondary scoring and special teams, the Islanders gutted out a 5-3 win over their archrivals, the New York Rangers, in a wild contest Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

Michael Grabner scored two goals, including a shorthanded breakaway, while Thomas Vanek scored the winner 1:18 into the third period to give the Islanders points in three straight games. The Islanders scored goals five different ways: on a penalty shot, shorthanded, at even strength, on the power play and into an empty net. Evgeni Nabokov made 21 saves to earn the win, while ten different Islanders hit the scoresheet.

“It’s good to score more than two goals,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “We got 60 minutes of consistent effort form our guys, our penalty kill came up big when they had to and I thought Nabokov did a great job for us.”

The Islanders took seven minor penalties Friday, but were able to kill off five of them including one at a critical juncture in the third period. With 2:52 left to play, Josh Bailey was whistled for boarding, but the Islanders clamped down in their own end, allowing Grabner to ice the game with an empty netter as Bailey exited the box.

“For the most part, we were pretty aggressive [on the penalty kill and] we executed our game plan,” Grabner said. “We gave up a couple goals against, but overall it was a pretty good effort for our penalty killers.”

The parade to the box started early, but the Islanders turned the tables on the Rangers, scoring two shorthanded goals in a 2:27 span in the first period. Cal Clutterbuck scored his fourth goal of the season on a shorthanded penalty shot, sneaking the puck through Henrik Lundqvist for the Islanders’ first goal.

With the Islanders back on the penalty kill two minutes later, Grabner scored the first of his two goals, deking backhand-to-forehand and beating an out-stretched Lundqvist.

“There were a couple of things that could have gone wrong for us,” Cal Clutterbuck said. “There have been] some situations that have been costing us games lately. We bared down and made sure we stood our ground. We got some breaks and capitalized on some of them.”

The two-goal lead was short lived, as the Rangers’ Benoit Pouliot answered with a power-play goal 30 seconds later, kicking off three unanswered goals by the blueshirts. Derek Dorsett tied the score on the a harmless-looking shot that redirected off Thomas Hickey and past Evgeni Nabokov on the Rangers first shot of the second period. Derek Stepan put the Rangers ahead with a power-play goal eight minutes into the middle frame.

Down by one, the Islanders dug deep and got a timely contribution from Brian Strait, as the defensive defenseman scored his first career regular-season goal at 11:26 to knot the game at three. Strait’s goal was started by a nifty backhand pass, as Ryan Strome dished the puck to Bailey, who sent it to the point for the one-timer. Strome earned his first NHL point with the secondary assist on the play.

“For us to have success, we have to get secondary scoring,” Capuano said. “Especially on the road when they get the matchups they want… [Secondary scoring is] big for us and will hopefully continue as well.”

As crucial as the penalty kill was Friday night, the power play also came through in the clutch. The Islanders converted on a five-on-three opportunity early in the third, as Vanek redirected a Kyle Okposo point shot for the eventual winner.

The Islanders won’t have long to enjoy the win, as they refocus for a Saturday night contest against the Anaheim Ducks at Nassau Coliseum. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m.

Notes: Cal Clutterbuck became the first Islanders player to convert a penalty shot against the Rangers… The Islanders last scored two shorthanded goals in the same period on Mar. 22, 2011… The Islanders won 30-of-53 faceoffs (57%)… Travis Hamonic led the Islanders with 25:10 TOI… Andrew MacDonald blocked a game-high five shots… Casey Cizikas returned to the lineup after missing two games with an injured jaw.

Islanders Lines:

26 Thomas Vanek – 91 John Tavares - 21 Kyle Okposo

40 Michael Grabner – 51 Frans Nielsen - 12 Josh Bailey

29 Brock Nelson – 18 Ryan Strome – 15 Cal Clutterbuck

36 Eric Boulton – 53 Casey Cizikas - 17 Matt Martin

44 Calvin de Haan – 3 Travis Hamonic

47 Andrew MacDonald – 14 Thomas Hickey

37 Brian Strait – 7 Matt Carkner

20 Evgeni Nabokov

60 Kevin Poulin

Rangers Lines:

61 Rick Nash – 21 Derek Stepan – 36 Mats Zuccarello

20 Chris Kreider – 16 Derick Brasard – 62 Carl Hagelin

19 Brad Richards – 10 J.T Miller – 67 Benoit Pouliot

22 Brian Boyle – 28 Dominic Moore – 15 Derek Dorsett

5 Dan Girardi – 27 Ryan McDonagh

17 John Moore – 6 Anton Stralman

4 Michael Del Zotto – 44 Justin Falk

30 Henrik Lundqvist

33 Cam Talbot

Scoring Summary
1st Period
14:42NYI SHG - PS - Cal Clutterbuck (4) ASST: NONE 1 - 0 NYI
17:09NYI SHG - Michael Grabner (3) ASST: NONE 2 - 0 NYI
17:39NYR PPG - Benoit Pouliot (4) ASST: Chris Kreider (11), Derick Brassard (10) 2 - 1 NYI
2nd Period
03:00NYR Derek Dorsett (3) ASST: Dominic Moore (3), Anton Stralman (4) 2 - 2 Tie
07:58NYR PPG - Derek Stepan (7) ASST: Rick Nash (7), Mats Zuccarello (17) 3 - 2 NYR
11:26NYI Brian Strait (1) ASST: Josh Bailey (7), Ryan Strome (1) 3 - 3 Tie
3rd Period
01:18NYI PPG - Thomas Vanek (11) ASST: Kyle Okposo (20), Andrew MacDonald (10) 4 - 3 NYI
19:09NYI EN - Michael Grabner (4) ASST: Frans Nielsen (16), Travis Hamonic (6) 5 - 3 NYI
Three Stars of the Game
Thomas Vanek
Thomas Vanek
G: 1Shots: 1
A: 0Hits: 1
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 17:48
Michael Grabner
Michael Grabner
G: 2Shots: 2
A: 0Hits: 5
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 15:09
Derek Dorsett
Derek Dorsett
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 0Hits: 2
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 9:43
Penalty Summary
1st Period
07:08NYI Eric Boulton  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Henrik Lundqvist
14:23NYI Andrew MacDonald  Hi-sticking against  Benoit Pouliot
16:42NYI Matt Carkner  Holding against  Derek Dorsett
2nd Period
06:40NYI Cal Clutterbuck  Cross checking against  Derek Dorsett
09:20NYR Anton Stralman  Hooking against  Brock Nelson
19:24NYR Chris Kreider  Interference against  Josh Bailey
3rd Period
00:42NYR Dan Girardi  Interference against  Thomas Vanek
02:56NYI Travis Hamonic  Roughing against  Brian Boyle
02:56NYR Brian Boyle  Roughing against  Travis Hamonic
03:31NYI Ryan Strome  Hooking against  Dan Girardi
10:53NYR Michael Del Zotto  Charging against  Eric Boulton
13:38NYI Casey Cizikas  Kneeing against  John Moore
17:08NYI Josh Bailey  Boarding against  Anton Stralman
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays1/42/7
Faceoff Wins3023
Blocked Shots2012
Penalty Minutes1610
3T. HamonicD0121225:10
7M. CarknerD000127:40
12J. BaileyR0120212:51
14T. HickeyD00-10021:49
15C. ClutterbuckR1011214:40
17M. MartinL000209:25
18R. StromeR0111213:50
21K. OkposoR0103018:36
26T. VanekL1001017:48
29B. NelsonL0002013:36
36E. BoultonL00-1126:25
37B. StraitD1022016:24
40M. GrabnerR2022015:09
44C. de HaanD0011017:52
47A. MacDonaldD0100225:06
51F. NielsenC0110016:57
53C. CizikasC0010212:26
91J. TavaresC00-12020:01
20E. Nabokov2124.87560:00
4M. Del ZottoD00-10217:47
5D. GirardiD00-10223:01
6A. StralmanD0100219:35
10J. MillerC00-11011:22
15D. DorsettR101209:43
16D. BrassardC01-11013:51
17J. MooreD0000016:50
19B. RichardsC00-12018:44
20C. KreiderL0101212:42
21D. StepanC10-22019:22
22B. BoyleC0011212:14
27R. McDonaghD00-22023:38
28D. MooreC0110010:57
36M. ZuccarelloR01-33020:00
44J. FalkD0001012:44
61R. NashL01-13019:05
62C. HagelinL0002011:56
67B. PouliotL10-13016:59
30H. Lundqvist1519.78959:36