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Rangers 4, Islanders 2

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders
The New York Islanders lost a close 4-2 decision to the New York Rangers Tuesday night at Nassau Coliseum, extending their losing streak to four games.

The Islanders were tied at 2 until Brad Richards iced it with just under five minutes to go in the third, blasting a slap shot by Evgeni Nabokov. Andrew MacDonald would hit the crossbar in a last, furious, Islanders fury. Rangers captain Ryan Callahan’s empty netter as the clock hit zero provided the final margin.

“I don’t think we played a bad game, it could have gone both ways,” Frans Nielsen said. “[We] have to stop this bleeding now, [we] can’t wait, or else it’s going to look like last year, we don’t want to be out of it by Christmas so we got to turn it around right now.”

The Rangers came out firing, outshooting the Islanders 14-5 in the first period. Sean Avery would put the Rangers up 1-0 near the end of the first before Nielsen tied the game, scoring high glove side on Henrik Lundqvist.

Steve Eminger’s goal would put the Rangers up 2-1 in the second, converting a pass from Callahan.

The Islanders were never out of it and they tied it up on their fifth powerplay of the game as John Tavares threaded a cross-crease pass to Matt Moulson tucking it past Lundqvist. The goal was Moulson’s second in as many games and with the assist Tavares continues his point-per-game pace this season.

“It was a great pass by Johnny, but that’s a simple play, just throwing it near the net and getting there,” Moulson said.

The sellout crowd of 16,234 was rowdy all evening, trading chants and drowning each other out. The tension in the stands boiled over onto the ice, with two fights in under two minutes to start the second period. Sean Avery and Mike Mottau fought after a failed attempt at the end of the first, and Brandon Prust took exception to a Matt Martin hit shortly afterward.
Despite being outshot in the first, the Islanders would outshoot the Rangers 28-16 in the last two periods. Nabokov made 26 saves while his counterpart, Lundqvist, turned aside 31.

Nino Niederreiter made his 2011-12 Islanders debut recording 11:07 TOI, one shot and four hits.

The Islanders next game is Thursday, as they host the Montreal Canadiens.

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