Jon Sim and Blake Comeau both scored goals as the Islanders took round two of the "Battle of New York", defeating the New York Rangers, 2-1 at Madison Square Garden.
Sim started the scoring off for the Islanders with 5:35 remaining in the first period by doing what he does best - going to the front of the net.
Jack Hillen started the play off by circling the Rangers goal and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. The young Islanders defenseman backhanded the puck towards the Rangers goal crease. Sim parked himself in font of Lundqvist with Wade Redden flanking him at his side and was lucky enough to have the puck bounce off his shin pad, over Lundqvist and across the goal line for a 1-0 Islanders lead.
"It's been a battle all year. It seems like when they hit me they go the other way and this time I got a lucky break," Sim said. "I know this time I'll definitely take it."
Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon was happy to see Sim get rewarded.
"He's having a lot of opportunities," Gordon. "He does a great job going to the front of the net and we know how much of an agitator he is. It's good to see somebody willing to go to those hard areas and get rewarded for it."
Although both teams were held off the scoresheet in the middle 20 minutes, it was the Islanders that came away with the two best scoring chances of the second period.
Frans Nielsen had a golden opportunity to give the Islanders a two-goal lead midway through the second period while down a man. With the Islanders short handed on Islanders goaltender Dwayne Roloson's slashing minor, Nielsen jumped all over an Ales Kotalik giveaway at the blue line and was off to a clear breakaway.
Saturday's overtime hero broke in on Lundqvist and attempted his patented shootout maneuver, but Nielsen looked to not get everything on the backhand flip keeping the score 1-0 for the time-being.
Josh Bailey had another close chance late in the middle frame. Nielsen fed Bailey with a cross-ice centering pass and just pushed it towards Lundqvist. The puck did slide through the Rangers goaltenders legs, however it bounced off the post and underneath Lundqvist to keep the young center off the scoresheet.
Blake Comeau gave the Islanders an all-important insurance goal with 3:10 left in the third period for his second goal of the season. Matt Moulson sent a blazing slapshot towards Lundqvist as his line mate Comeau skated hard towards the net. As the puck bounced off Lundqvist's pad, Comeau one-timed the rebound over the Rangers goaltenders left shoulder for a 2-0 Islanders lead.
"It was a great shot by Moulson," Comeau said. "I saw he was gonna shoot it, so I was just trying to get to the net. The rebound ended up just coming towards me and I tried to get it on net."
Enver Lisin broke Roloson's shutout bid with 55 seconds left in the third period on a shot that trickled through his legs for his fourth goal of the season.
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Dwayne Roloson, NYI: 25 saves for the win
2. Jon Sim, NYI: Goal, five shots
3. Jack Hillen, NYI: Assist, five blocked shots
Honorable Mention - Islanders defensemen: Combined for 20 blocked shots
Rolling Four: Knowing they'll have to play each other again in less than 24 hours, Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon wanted to make sure his men stayed fresh and rolled four lines. No player played less than 11:20 (Jon Sim), and only three men played more than 20 minutes (Mark Streit, Andy Sutton, Jack Hillen). Meanwhile, on the opposite bench, Rangers coach John Tortorella sent out nine men that played more than 20 minutes, while six Rangers played less than ten minutes.
Slapshots: Islanders outshot the Rangers, 28-26...Jon Sim led all Islanders with 5 shots on goal...Islanders held the advantage in blocked shots, 28-7...Islanders were 0-2 on the power play, while the Rangers were unsuccessful on two man advantages..Sean Bergenheim (ribs), Jeff Tambellini (healthy), and Bruno Gervais (healthy) were the Islanders scratches...Rob Schremp's three-game point streak (1-2-3) was snapped...This was the second of six meetings between both teams, with the Islanders taking the previous contest, 3-1 at the Coliseum on October 28...Islanders now hold an all-time record of 100-102-22 against the Rangers.
NEW YORK RANGERS
21 Christopher Higgins - 17 Brandon Dubinsky - 10 Marian Gaborik
20 Vinny Prospal - 23 Chris Drury - 24 Ryan Callahan
16 Sean Avery - 42 Artem Anisimov - 12 Ales Kotalik
87 Donald Brashear - 22 Brian Boyle - 81 Enver Lisin
18 Marc Staal - 33 Michal Roszival
4 Michael Del Zotto - 5 Dan Girardi
6 Wade Redden - 49 Ilkka Heikkinen
30 Henrik Lundqvist
29 Chad Johnson
1 - 0 NYI
2 - 0 NYI