Rangers 5, Islanders 1
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Alexei Yashin got the Islanders a goal, but Martin Straka had a hat trick and Jaromir Jagr picked up four assists, as the Islanders fell 5-1 to the Rangers at the Coliseum.
The action got started early when a big tandem hit on Rangers defenseman Darius Kasparaitis by Petteri Nokelainen and Eric Godard lead to a quick fight between the Islanders tough-guy and Rangers enforcer Colton Orr. Both combatants got a few punches in before they went to the ice, tackled by the refs.
The Rangers got on the board moments later, with Mike York in the box for a high-sticking penalty. Taking a pass from Sandis Ozolinsh along the boards, Jagr carried it down low before dropping a backhand pass to Petr Prucha at the top of the right circle. A one-timer by the young scorer whipped over Rick DiPietro's shoulder to his glove-side.
Jagr was back on the scoresheet 90 seconds later, as he threaded a pass through the slot in the Islanders' zone, finding Martin Straka breaking in. After putting one shot off DiPietro's pads, Straka picked up the rebound and put it in the net. Straka made it 3-0 with his second goal of the game, converting on a goalline pass from Jagr by flicking it behind DiPietro from a bad angle.
In the second period, the scoring took a bit longer to get started, but once again, Straka and Jagr combined to put another Rangers goal on the board. Holding the puck behind DiPietro's net, Straka slid it to Jagr high in the zone for a quick ride to the net, before deflecting off Straka's knee and past DiPietro.
A late penalty on Petr Prucha gave the Islanders a chance to break Henrik Lundqvist's shutout, as Yashin took a pass from Denis Grebeshkov along the boards and fired a long-range missle that beat the Rangers netminder between the knees, with under three seconds left in the stanza. In the third period, Jason Ward forced a turnover by Grebeshkov that Blair Betts tucked into the top left corner of the net for a 5-1 final.
OFF THE ICE: Thee Stars of the Night: 1. Martin Straka, 2. Jaromir Jagr, 3. Michal Rozsival... Miro Satan's next powerplay goal will give him a career-high 16... Before Wednesday's game, Joel Bouchard holds the top spot among Islanders in plus/minus with a +8 rating... All-time, the Islanders are 86-92-19-1 lead over the Isles... After six games of an eight-game season series, the Rangers are up 4-2, having won the past four meetings, including the last three at the Coliseum.
--additional reporting by Brian Bohl
Rick DiPietro on playing back to back nights:
"I don't think we played as well as we did in Montreal. There are no excuses. I don't have the answers; I wish I did."
On regrouping for the team's final 10 games:
"We have to keep playing hard. We owe it to our fans and to ourselves to play hard and try to win hockey games."
Head Coach Brad Shaw on the team's early effort:
"This was an emotional game. We created enough chances to win. We ran up against a hot goalie. I thought we did look a little mentally fatigued and physically not quite there early on. We couldn't get momentum back like in previous games."
On the mentality of the team:
"That's a professional locker room there. The youth on our team will help. We have high character guys that will be motivated. We just gave a good hockey team too much respect."
On the play of Jaromir Jagr:
"He's a special player. Early in his career we looked like he does (now). This year he's found the love of the game again. We gave him too much room and he took advantage."
(10) Sean Bergenheim-(79) Alexei Yashin-(21) Rob Nilsson
(7) Trent Hunter-(15) Mike York-(81) Miroslav Satan
(15) Jeff Tambellini-Shawn Bates-(55) Jason Blake
(29) Petteri Nokelainen-(28) Wyatt Smith-(49) Eric Godard
(14) Chris Campoli-(24) Radek Martinek
(4) Joel Bouchard-(6) Bruno Gervais
(3) Denis Grebeshkov-(44) John Erskine
(39) Rick DiPietro
(30) Garth Snow