UNIONDALE, N.Y. - Defenceman Dan Girardi scored 3:11 into overtime to give the New York Rangers a stirring 1-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night in a game that felt every bit like a playoff matchup between the area rivals.
Henrik Lundqvist and Islanders counterpart Evgeni Nabokov staged a classic goalie duel that seemed destined to go to a shootout, but Girardi finished off a rush by flipping a shot over Nabokov's shoulder for just his second goal of the season.
The Rangers are eighth in the Eastern Conference playoff race, one point behind the Islanders. The Rangers lead ninth-place Winnipeg by two points with seven games remaining — one more than the Jets.
Lundqvist finished with 29 saves for his first shutout of the season. Nabokov stopped 19 shots.
We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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