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Rangers 4, Islanders 2

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
Secondary scoring and attention to detail were the culprits in the Islanders 4-2 loss to the Rangers in their first trip to the revamped Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.

“The faceoff goal was a turning point; it put them up by 2-1,” said Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano of Marian Gaborik’s second period goal.  “We fought back, our power play was working and we did a lot of good things but we have to try to find a way to score some more goals.”

Ryan McDonagh skates under pressure by P.A. Parenteau and John Tavares at Madison Square Garden on December 22, 2011. (Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)
Behind by one goal to start the second, the Islanders were on a power play – which was carried over from the end of the first – and it gave the Islanders chances to generate opportunities.  Just as the Isles man advantage was coming to an end, defenseman Mark Streit shot from the blue line and Parenteau scooped the puck across the goal line to tie the score.

“That was a big goal,” Parenteau said. “It really switched the momentum. We fell short. It’s unfortunate. This was a big game for us. Our power play was clicking, we were making some good plays in their end, but we turned it over too many times tonight.”

However, Artem Anisimov won a big faceoff in the Isles defensive zone and sent a cross-crease pass to Marian Gaborik. One deke and he beat a diving Evgeni Nabokov blocker side with a backhander at 7:52. The Rangers reclaimed the lead, 2-1.

Capuano blamed the coaches for the play.

“That’s something as coaches that we take pride in and something as coaches we show them before the game,” Capuano said. “It was exactly the same two guys (Anisimov and Gaborik) that set up against us last time and we knew it could have been coming. That was a big goal there.”

The Rangers would take a two-goal lead at 15:25 of the second. As Brandon Prust wound up for a shot, Mark Eaton deflected the puck with his stick but it was deflected up into the air, falling to the ice at the top of the faceoff circle. Michael Del Zotto rushed in from the blue line towards the puck and grabbed it from the air and one-timed it to beat Nabokov glove side.

Dan Girardi defends against John Tavares at MSG on Dec. 22, 2011. (Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Islanders opened the third period scoring with a power play goal, to cut the lead to 3-2, at 8:29. With an initial shot from Streit, and a follow through from John Tavares, Matt Moulson collected on a rebound through the slot.

The Rangers scored the empty net goal at 18:27 to solidify their win. Isles center Frans Nielsen, who was a big part of that turnover, explained it best:

“I should have known he was coming, but we were all gassed,” Nielsen said. “I didn’t want to just put it in there and give the puck away, so I tried to hold on to it and I didn’t know he was coming off the net to the bench. It was a tough one.”

The Rangers scored the only goal of the first period. Brandon Dubinsky’s goal at 14:53 looked as if it were happening in slow motion. He skated by the Isles defenseman, stopped on the left dot, wound up and wristed the puck to beat Nabokov blocker side.

After two shootout wins, this loss is one the Isles were disappointed with.

“We made way too many mistakes and turnovers,” Nielsen said. “We gave them some easy goals. It’s not okay.”

Parenteau added, “We did some things well, but it’s a rivalry game, it’s a huge game. We can’t turn the puck over as much as we did today. That’s probably why we lost this game today.”

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