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The Official Site of the New York Islanders


by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders
Game 23

Rangers 6, Isles 5

Marian Gaborik scored the Rangers’ last three goals for his second hat trick of the season and twelfth of his career, as the New York Rangers defeated the Islanders 6-5 before the largest crowd of the season (13,742) at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The loss ends the Islanders’ three game point streak (1-0-2).

Rangers Grab the Lead

Eric Christensen and Ryan Callahan scored first period goals for the Rangers as they took a 2-0 first period lead.  It marked the first time in five games that the Islanders did not score first.

A First for Zenon

Just when it looked like the Rangers would take a 2-0 lead into the dressing room, Zenon Konopka scored off a goal mouth scramble at 19:11 of the first to get the Islanders on the board.  It was Konopka’s first goal as an Islander, and his first anywhere in 57 games (January 2, 2010 vs. Pittsburgh).  While the Rangers dominated puck possession at times, the Isles outshot the Blueshirts 10-9 in the opening period.

2 in 3:12 Chase Marty

The Isles briefly grabbed the lead in the middle period as Matt Moulson and Rob Schremp scored for the Isles.  It’s the 9th goal of the season for Moulson and the third in just nine games for Schremp.  Ranger coach John Tortorella pulled Marty Biron after the Schremp goal; Biron, who was making his first appearance against the Isles since joining the Rangers as a free agent, finished with 18 saves.

Momentum Changer

The goalie change, and a little luck, sparked the Rangers, who responded with 2 goals in 3:03.  Brandon Prust was credited with his second goal of the season on a deflection that was stopped by DiPietro and then bounded into the goal off Andrew MacDonald, who was playing in his first game after missing 15 games (and six weeks) with a hand injury.  With the Rangers on the power play, Gaborik recorded his first goal of the night, when his pass across the crease was deflected into the goal by Konopka.  The Isles managed only one shot on Henrik Lundqvist while the Rangers had seven in the final 7:30 of the period.

Too Much Marian

Gaborik’s 2nd goal, off of Sean Avery’s second assist of the night gave the Rangers a two-goal lead early in the third.  But the Isles weren’t done.  Michael Grabner deflected home Radek Martinek’s shot at 12:29 and Blake Comeau edged his 3rd goal of the season against the Rangers over the goal line 1:41 later to knot the game.  However, Gaborik completed his hat trick just 25 seconds later off a rebound to regain the lead for the Rangers.  The Isles threatened, but could not even it again.  6-5 Final.

Home and Road

The Rangers improve to 15-11-1, 10-4-0 on the road.  They are the first team in the NHL with 10 road wins and lead the league with 20 road points. The Isles are 5-13-5, 3-5-2 at home. 

In the Nets

Henrik Lundqvist earned the win in relief, making nine saves.  “The King” had started 27 consecutive Islander-Ranger games since missing the December 19, 2006 game due to illness.  Lundqvist improves to 10-9-1 on the season.

Rick DiPietro made his fourth straight start for the first time since 2008 and finished with 20 saves.

Power Plays

The Isles failed to connect on their only power play while the Rangers were 1-2. The Isles have now gone 32 attempts without a power play goal, covering their last two chances against Philadelphia on November 6th and the nine games since. It’s the first time that they have gone nine games without a power play goal in at least 25 years.  The penalty killers have allowed three goals in their last 20 times short, covering five games.

In the Circle

The Isles won 34 of 67 face-offs (51%).  Zenon Konopka won six out of eight for the Isles.

Missing Men

Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo, Milan Jurcina, Doug Weight, Trent Hunter and Mike Mottau remain out. Andrew MacDonald returned after missing 15 games.  Jack Hillen, who was activated after recovering from a concussion suffered in San Jose, was scratched as was Bruno Gervais.

It’s Eaton Time

Mark Eaton again led the Isles with 22:59 of ice-time. 

Two for Radek

Radek Martinek recorded his first two-assist game since January 22, 2008 in Carolina.  It was the 7th two-point game of his career; the Isles had won the first six.

Fight Night
There were two fights:  Trevor Gillies and Derek Boogaard in the first period and Matt Martin and Michael Sauer in the second period.

Still Streaking
Frans Nielsen earned an assist on Grabner’s goal, his third in the last four games.  Both players now have four-game point streaks; Nielsen also has a four-game assist streak.  Grabner now has six goals: only three rookies (Logan Couture-10, Taylor Hall -8, Jeff Skinner-7) have more.

Comeau’s Team

Blake Comeau, who had six shots on goal, continues his impressive play in games against the Rangers. Comeau has five points in two games against the Rangers this season (3-2-5).  His tying goal was his first since tallying twice against the Rangers on Columbus Day.

Comeau now is 10-6-16 in 15 career games against the Rangers and 26-45-71 in 176 games against the rest of the NHL.

A First For Travis

Travis Hamonic earned an assist on Comeau’s goal for his first NHL point. The rookie also had five hits, four blocked shots and was +1.

Finally 4… and 5

The Isles scored at least four goals for the first time since October 16 against Colorado, ending a streak of scoring three goals or fewer in 17 straight games (3-11-3).

Lots of Goals

There were 11 goals scored – the most in an Islander-Ranger game since a 7-4 Islander win at Madison Square Garden on December 3, 2006.  There have been 21 goals scored in the two games between the teams – the most in consecutive Islander-Ranger games since 24 were scored on February 7  (Isles 7, Rangers 5) – February 17 (Rangers 9, Isles 3), 1985.

Five Not Enough

Five goals is usually enough.  It’s the Isles’ first regulation loss in 24 games when they score at least 5, dating back to an 8-5 loss in Florida on March 17, 2007 (23-0-1).  It’s their first regulation loss in 54 games at home when they score at least 5.  Their last regulation home loss when scoring five goals was on December 23, 2000 in a 7-5 defeat to the Blue Jackets.  Since then, they had won 51 times, tied once and lost in overtime once (to Pittsburgh in the final game of last season).

Six Too Many

The Isles are winless in their last 105 games that they allow six goals or more, dating back to a 7-6 overtime win in Hartford on February 28, 1993 (0-103-2).

New Top Line Pays Dividends

The Rangers new top line combined for 4 goals and 5 assists (Christensen 1 goal, 1 assist; Gaborik 3 goals, 1 assist; Avery 3 assists).  The three assists for Avery match a career high.

Season Series Stats   
The season series is even at a game each, with the Isles outscoring the Rangers 11-10.  Both games have been at the Coliseum, where the Rangers have won 8 of 10.  This was the front-end of a home-and-home; the teams will meet on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.  It will be the first of two trips this month into Madison Square Garden for the Isles; the teams then won’t play again until March.

Happy Anniversary
31 years ago today (December 2, 1979): Billy Smith made 33 saves as the Islanders shut out the Jets 4-0 in Winnipeg for their first victory ever against the Jets.

Up Next
Friday, December 3- Islanders @ Rangers 7:00pm
[MSG+2 (Subway Islanders Game Night at 6:30), WRHU 88.7FM]

The home-and-home series concludes with the Islanders’ first visit of the season to Madison Square Garden.  The Garden has been a very successful stop for the Isles in recent years; they have gone 10-4-1 at MSG since April of 2006.  Last season the Isles won two one-goal games at the Garden before the Rangers blanked the Isles in their final trip to Manhattan.

The Rangers are 6-0-0 this season on the back-end of back-to-backs, while the Isles are 1-2-2.

Dwayne Roloson is expected to be in goal for the Isles.  He beat the Rangers three times last season and was one of the three stars in each of the three games.

Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in “The Skinny” has been gathered from various sources.
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