Blake Comeau scored two goals while Mark Streit added one, however the New York Rangers scored four unanswered goals to defeat the Islanders, 4-3 in front of a sold out crowd of 16,250 fans at the Nassau Coliseum in the final meeting of the season between both teams.
After a disappointing 5-0 loss to the Rangers a week before at Madison Square Garden, the Islanders made sure they would come out flying.
"The game couldn't have started any better for us," John Tavares said after the game.
Streit put the Islanders on the scoreboard first just 2:09 into the opening period with a power play goal. With the Rangers serving a bench minor for too many men on the ice, the Islanders power play took to work early on in the game. John Tavares and Frans Nielsen worked the puck around the perimeter over to Streit, who blasted a hard slapshot from right above the Rangers blue line. The shot deflected off a Rangers stick and rose up high on netminder Henrik Lundqvist and found its way just under the crossbar to put the Isles up 1-0.
Comeau gave the Islanders a two-goal lead with 7:51 left in the first period off what looked like an innocent shot. Following a key faceoff win by Richard Park, Comeau skated down the right side of Lundqvist across the Rangers blueine. He then fired a quick wrist shot that rose up high on the Rangers netminder.
The puck took an odd bounce off of Lundqvist and fell to the ice. Lundqvist wasn't aware of the location of the loose puck, and backed into the loose rubber, kicking it off the post and across the goal line to put the Islanders up 2-0.
Just as the Islanders started quickly in the first period, the Rangers would return the favor in the second.
Vinny Prospal cut the Islanders lead in half early on in the second period just 1:14 into the middle frame with his 18th goal of the season. Prospal cut down the very same side that Comeau scored his marker from, and fired a high wrist shot that was placed perfectly in the high left corner past Islanders goaltender Dwayne Roloson to bring the Rangers within 2-1.
The Rangers would tie it with 7:03 left in the second period as Olli Jokinen scored his 14th of the year. Jokinen would get a good break to make the goal happen...literally.
Kyle Okposo attempted to clear the puck out of the Islanders zone from just above the top of the face off circle. However, Jokinen would also get his stick on the attmepted clear, breaking Okposo's lumber. As Okposo threw his stick aside, Jokinen turned and fired a high wrister over Rolosons shoulder to even up the game at two goals apiece.
"It was a broken stick of ours that allowed them to tie the game," Islanders head coach Scott Gordon said. "It's frustrating."
Marian Gaborik would continue to haunt the Isles with just 2:45 left in the second period. Gaborik, who scored two goals against the Islanders last week, took a pass from Aaron Voros behind the Islanders net and caught Roloson off guard. He proceeded to slide the puck past Roloson's left pad for his 40th goal of the year to put the Rangers up 3-2.
"I think we did some stuff right in the second, but it seems like the mistakes that we made cost us and they put it in the back of the net," Comeau said.
Marc Staal increased the Rangers lead to two goals 5:05 into the third period. The Rangers led a three-on-two rush with Prospal and PA Parenteau. Prospal fed a streaking Staal who fired a shot past Roloson's blocker for his sixth goal of the year to increase the score to 4-2 in favor of the Rangers.
Comeau would notch his second of the game with 6:33 left in the final period to bring the Islanders within one goal. The play developed as Sean Bergenheim looked to feed Comeau with a centering pass, however the pass looked to be broken up by the backchecking Rangers defense. Comeau trudged through the defensive line however, and got a piece of the pass on Lundqvist, and pushed it through the Rangers goaltenders legs to cut the Rangers lead to 4-3.
Mark Flood received a secondary assist on Comeau's second marker of the game, giving him his first career NHL point.
That would end up being the final score as the Islanders pulled Dwayne Roloson, but couldnt put another one past Lundqvist in the final minute of the third period, giving the Rangers the victory.
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Olli Jokinen, NYR: Goal and assist 2. Vinny Prospal, NYR: Goal and assist. 3. Blake Comeau, NYI: Scored two goals.
Slapshots: Islanders outshot the Rangers, 28-27...Mark Streit, Blake Comeau, and Mark Streit all led Islanders with 4 shots apiece...Andrew MacDonald logged 20:02 of ice time in his first game back since returning from a broken foot...Islanders won 60% of all faceoffs...The Geico Caveman made an appearance at the sold-out Nassau Coliseum Tuesday night.