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A sold-out Nassau Coliseum crowd left as energized as they arrived with the Islanders topping the Rangers 2-0 Tuesday night for the third consecutive time this season. Rick DiPietro stopped all 26 shots to record his third consecutive home shutout victory and his second in a row.
"Rick has been great," said Brendan Witt. "He's been stopping the first shot and usually covering it. He hasn't let up too many rebounds and did so against the Rangers. Rick has been a big key to our success."
Arron Asham's goal with 3:18 remaining in the second period was all the Islanders needed. Asham walked in and blasted a slapshot over Henrik Lundqvist for his sixth goal of the season.
Tom Poti made a perfect feed down low to Jason Blake to trigger the Islanders' second goal. Once Blake corralled the puck, he fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of Lundqvist, just 1:48 into the third period.
DiPietro made the two goals stand, stopping a number of late scoring chances by the Rangers who have now lost six games in a row. The Islanders out-shot the Rangers 38-28.
"Ricky was in full control tonight," said head coach Ted Nolan. "He looked composed and never panicked." Ricky is one of those players on the team who has gotten better and better."
The sold-out crowd was buzzing long before the game started with Islanders fans drowning out the Rangers fans that made the trip to the Coliseum.
"The crowd was great," said Witt. "The guys were telling me how rockin' this place was going to be tonight. It was awesome."
The on-ice electricity was as fierce as the crowd. The Islanders came out flying, hitting every Ranger in sight, eventually out-hitting the Blueshirts 28-20 in the game. Trent Hunter and Sean Hill led the way with five apiece.
"We came out banging and we came out hard," said DiPietro. "Our guys were mentally and physically rested from our two days off. We wanted to come out and put on a good show for the fans, and I think we did that.
The Islanders go right back to work tomorrow, against Ottawa on the road at 7:30 pm.
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Rick DiPietro: Fourth shutout of the season and second in a row
2. Tom Poti: Played over 26 minutes and was a +1 rating
3. Radek Martinek: Assisted on the first goal and was strong defensively
4. Brendan Witt: Helped shutdown Jagr's line
5. Arron Asham: Notched the game-winner
Stat of the Game: The Islanders were only shorthanded twice in the game
Fans of the Game: Brendan and Peter Donohue are twins who have been Islanders fans since they were born. They currently attend Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. Brendan remembers when he was younger, keeping track of all the stats during the game, such as the goal scorers and the penalties. Peter's favorite Islanders moment was when he got the opportunity to meet his favorite all-time Islander, Derek King. Brendan's favorite current Islander is Jason Blake, who he refers to as the "Water Bug." "His hard work has paid off this season, said Brendan." Peter has two other choices for his favorites. "I'm a fan of Trent Hunter and Richard Park this year. Without their grit, we wouldn't be where we are now," said Peter.
Slapshots: The Islanders have now won four consecutive games against the Rangers...Rick DiPietro extended his home shutout streak to 185:43... Radek Martinek returned in the third period after receiving stitches because of Michael Nylander's high-stick in the second period...The Islanders are 18-0-1 when leading after two periods...Tonight's attendance was a sold out 16,234...Entourage's Kevin Connelly was in attendance tonight...The Qiqihar Leopards youth hockey team from China was located in a luxury suite. They will begin their tournament held on Long Island against local teams on December 28.
Game Operations: Recording artist Stephen Kelogg and the Sixers performed tonight's national anthem...The Islanders introduced their newest giveaway, the H3 Hummer. Fans throughout the year will qualify to win the H3 later in the season.
39 Rick DiPietro
1 Mike Dunham
32 Brendan Witt - 24 Radek Martinek
14 Chris Campoli - 6 Sean Hill
3 Tom Poti - 8 Bruno Gervais
12 Chris Simon - 79 Alexei Yashin - 55 Jason Blake
25 Viktor Kozlov - 27 Randy Robitaille - 81 Miroslav Satan
11 Andy Hilbert - 18 Mike Sillinger - 7 Trent Hunter
45 Arron Asham - 17 Shawn Bates - 10 Richard Park
30 Henrik Lundqvist
80 Kevin Weekes
6 Darius Kasparaitis - 23 Karel Rachunek
51 Fedor Tyutin - 4 Aaron Ward
22 Thomas Pock - 3 Michal Rozsival
92 Michael Nylander - 5 Matt Cullen - 68 Jaromir Jagr
82 Martin Straka - 16 Jason Ward - 14 Brendan Shanahan
81 Marcel Hossa - 38 Jarkko Immonen - 25 Petr Prucha
44 Ryan Hollweg - 19 Blair Betts - 18 Adam Hall