NHL Game Summary - NY Islanders at NY Rangers
(Sunday, December 3rd)
Final Score: NY Islanders 7, NY Rangers 4
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Viktor Kozlov notched the first four-goal game of his career to help the New York Islanders beat their city rivals with a 7-4 victory over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Chris Simon had a goal and two assists and Miroslav Satan added a goal and an assist for the Islanders, who have won their last two games. Rick DiPietro finished with 39 saves in the victory.
With the win, the Islanders have a one-point lead over the Rangers and Devils for first place in the Atlantic Division.
"I think it's an early test for us," said Islanders coach Ted Nolan. "They don't hand over anything this time of year but the one thing you use the season for is the little hurdles you try to overcome, the little peaks you want to get to and certain tests once in awhile."
Brendan Shanahan notched a hat trick, the 18th of his career, and Jaromir Jagr added a goal for the Rangers, who have dropped their past four games with the previous three losses coming in overtime.
Henrik Lundqvist started in net for the Rangers, but was pulled after the first period as he allowed four goals on eight shots. Kevin Weekes finished the game between the pipes and stopped 10-of-13 shots.
Despite being outshot, 14-8, in the first period, the Islanders grabbed a commanding 4-0 lead.
The first goal came when Satan took a feed at the blueline, skated down to the low right circle and snapped a shot that beat Lundqvist over the glove and into the right corner of the net at the 7:30 mark.
A little over two minutes later, Radek Martinek flicked a pass from the left point to Simon at the low right circle. Simon skated out to the low slot and snapped a shot that squeezed between the right pad of Lundqvist and the left post.
Shortly after DiPietro stopped two shots by Aaron Ward down low, the Islanders transitioned back to the attack.
Simon received a pass at the left circle and attempted to center it, but it deflected off the stick of a Ranger. However, Kozlov picked up the loose puck and from the low left circle lifted a wrister past a sprawled out Lundqvist with 3:32 left in the period.
With time winding down in the stanza, Mike Sillinger snapped a backhand pass from the top of the left circle down to the low right side, where Arron Asham flicked a wrister into the left corner of the net.
The Rangers got back into the contest with three goals in the middle frame.
Shanahan got the puck rolling when the Rangers were shorthanded. The veteran grabbed a loose disc in his own end, skated down the ice and from the left circle fired a shot that went between the pads of DiPietro at the 6:45 mark.
Later in the period, Jagr came up with the puck during a scrum in the right corner, skated out to the low right circle and snapped a shot that beat DiPietro through the five-hole with 3:38 left.
A little over a minute later, a clearing attempt by the Islanders was knocked down by Shanahan, who turned around and fired a wrister from the top of the left circle that beat DiPietro over the glove to make it a 4-3 game.
However, the Islanders got one back when Kozlov banged the puck into the net during a scrum in front with 1:19 left in the second to make it a 5-3 game heading into the third period.
"I thought we came out with real good energy and then before you know it it's two-nothing then it's three-nothing then it's four-nothing," said Shanahan. "I like how we battled back, but the fifth goal's a bit of a killer."
Skating on the power play, Adam Hall fired a slap shot from the slot that DiPietro made a save on, but the rebound squirted behind him and Shanahan banged it into the net to complete the hat trick and make it a 5-4 game 7:01 into the third.
However, the Islanders got some insurance when Richard Park skated into the Rangers end and from the left boards sent a pass to Kozlov, who fired a wrister from the inside left circle that beat Weekes over the glove for a 6-4 lead with 6:08 to play.
"The one thing we've been talking about with him is to get yourself in position to shoot the puck," said Nolan about Kozlov. "He has, I think, one of the best shots in the league."
Kozlov then netted his fourth goal of the game when he accepted a feed from Park and fired a wrist shot from the right circle into the net with 1:36 left in the game.
The Rangers have off until Thursday when they will host the Penguins...The Islanders welcome the Senators to the Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday...Simon left the game in the third period after getting hit with an accidental high stick. It was reported that he had a cut over his eye and had stitches applied in the locker room...This was the 200th time these teams have faced each other. The Rangers lead the series, 94-87-19-1...It was the second hat trick of Kozlov's career...The Islanders went 1-for-2 on the power play while the Rangers finished 1-for-6 with the man advantage.
12/03 21:13:29 ET