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Rangers get the best of Islanders, this time indoors
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Derick Brassard and Brad Richards scored less than three minutes apart in the third period to support a strong effort from Henrik Lundqvist and lift the New York Rangers to a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden.
Two nights after making 30 saves in a 2-1 decision over the Islanders at Yankee Stadium, Lundqvist turned aside 38-of-39 shots to lead the Rangers to a third straight win overall.
"He made some unreal saves and had total control and permitted us to bring it [tied] to the third," said Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault of Lundqvist. "Then we played a real solid third period."
Brian Boyle and Ryan McDonagh also had goals for the Blueshirts, with Marc Staal registering a pair of assists in the triumph.
Kyle Okposo had the lone score for the struggling Islanders, now 0-4-1 since a 5-3 verdict over the Rangers at MSG on Jan. 21. Evgeni Nabokov stopped 33- of-36 chances in defeat.
The Rangers lit the lamp three times in the final eight minutes to break a 1-1 deadlock, with Brassard beginning the barrage by completing a transition rush in which he crashed the net to tap in a well-placed feed sent by Staal from the left circle into the slot with 7:46 remaining.
Richards made it a two-goal advantage 2:45 later, splitting the Islander defense while taking in a give from Ryan Callahan and rifling a shot past an unguarded Nabokov.
A late slashing penalty to captain John Tavares helped thwart any comeback attempt from the Islanders, and McDonagh sealed the victory by firing a loose puck down the ice and into an open net with just one second left on the clock.
"We just looked like we ran out of gas," Tavares said. "We just didn't seem to have that extra gear when we needed it."
The Rangers peppered Nabokov early on, recording six shots over the game's first two minutes and gaining a quick upper hand when Boyle redirected a Staal wrister into the Islander net a mere 3:29 in.
Roles were reversed in the second period, as the Islanders controlled the action throughout with a 19-shot outburst that included Okposo's game-tying tally.
Calvin de Haan sent a long drive from the right boards that Lundqvist got a piece of, but Okposo was left all alone to deposit the rebound into an open left side with 5:32 to go in the session.
The Rangers won three of the five matchups between the rivals in the season series, with the Isles taking both prior meetings at MSG by identical 5-3 scores ... The Islanders went 0-for-3 on the power play and are scoreless in 20 chances with the man advantage during their five-game skid ... Okposo has five goals and seven assists over his last eight games ... The Islanders fell to 5-14-3 against fellow Metropolitan Division foes this season and 2-21-5 when scoring two goals or less.
01/31 23:27:23 ET