NEW YORK - Scott Gomez's power-play goal in the second period snapped a tie and gave the Rangers and coach Tom Renney a much-needed win Wednesday night, 3-1 over the New York Islanders.
The Rangers certainly didn't break out of their offensive funk, nor did they cure their power-play ills, but they did enough against their biggest rival to earn their second win in 10 games (2-6-2).
Nigel Dawes scored in the first period, Fredrik Sjostrom added an empty-netter, and Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves and earned an assist for the Rangers, who began the night in a four-way tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Chris Drury had three assists.
Because the Rangers never trailed, there were no repeated calls for the firings of Renney and general manager Glen Sather as there were Sunday at Madison Square Garden during a lacklustre 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
It was the Rangers' first regulation win since they beat Carolina at home on Jan. 27 - the last time Gomez had a goal.
Mark Streit had the lone goal, and Yann Danis made 35 saves for the Islanders, who failed to win back-to-back games after snapping their 0-4-1 skid Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders have the fewest points in the NHL and only two wins against Atlantic Division opponents (2-13-2).
It took a gift goal for the Rangers to end their long power-play woes that lasted parts of 11 games (1-for-35). Gomez got the puck from Drury and raced end to end before releasing a seemingly harmless shot through three Islanders from a few feet inside the blue-line. Danis deflected the shot with his glove but knocked the puck down and between his pads 7:26 into the second period.
The teams traded goals in the first.
Dawes, a healthy scratch on Monday when the Rangers lost 2-1 at St. Louis, took a pass from Drury - from below the goal-line - on the dot in the right circle and sent a one-timer sailing past Danis 5:39 into the game.
Lundqvist started the play and earned his second assist of the season.
Streit answered less than three minutes later during a shift in which he broke up Petr Prucha's mini breakaway chance with a slash on the Rangers forward's wrist. Kyle Okposo won a battle along the right wing boards and got the puck down low to Blake Comeau, who found Streit cutting in down the left side for a shot as he went to a knee.
The all-star defenceman has 10 goals and a team-leading 39 points in 52 games.
Lundqvist protected the Rangers' slim lead about six minutes into the third when he stopped Frans Nielsen and Andy Hilbert in rapid succession at the left post.
Notes: Dawes replaced LW Lauri Korpikoski (upper body injury) in the lineup. ... An MRI taken on the injured right shoulder of Rangers D Paul Mara revealed no structural damage. Surgery won't be required, but there is no timetable for his return. ... Streit played his second game after missing five due to a left shoulder injury. ... Lundqvist has four career assists. He also had two during the 2005-06 season. ... The Rangers are 9-2 when Gomez has a goal. ... The Islanders were 0-for-4 on the power play and have failed in 26 straight against the Rangers.