NEW YORK - Nate Thompson scored a short-handed goal to break a scoreless deadlock in the third period, and goalie Joey MacDonald held on after a barrage of shots in the New York Islanders' 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.
Just 4:42 after Thompson scored, during a different Rangers power play, Richard Park also netted a short-handed tally - the Islanders' league-leading sixth - to make it 2-0. The Islanders got out of a frustrated Madison Square Garden with their best win of the season despite being outshot 36-19.
Thompson's goal was his first NHL point and it gave the Islanders a two-game winning streak following six straight losses (0-5-1), and moved them out of last-place in the league standings (4-7-1).
Markus Naslund wrecked MacDonald's bid for his first NHL shutout when he scored with 1:41 left.
Despite the Rangers having a 29-12 shots advantage through two periods, this one was still too close to call until Thompson and Park struck. The Rangers entered with a league-high 21 points, but they ended the night with a more dubious distinction of having allowed an NHL-worst five short-handed goals this season.
The Rangers have dropped two straight after their franchise-best 10-2-1 start. This effort against their biggest rivals came on the heels of a disappointing loss at Toronto on Saturday when they led 2-0 in the third period only to fall 5-2.
The Islanders can relate to that. In their previous two games, they squandered three-goal leads in the third. The first on Saturday resulted in a 5-4 regulation loss to Montreal. On Monday, they recovered to beat Columbus 4-3 in overtime at home.
MacDonald entered the third period with a shot at his first NHL shutout for the second straight night. Subbing for injured No. 1 goalie Rick DiPietro, MacDonald settled for his seventh career NHL win in his 26th game.
Thompson finally solved Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist after Frans Nielsen's shot hit the post. The puck popped in the air, and Thompson swatted it in with a baseball swing at 3:18.
Park then broke up Michal Rozsival's cross-ice pass at the blue-line and streaked down the left side. His hard drive eluded Lundqvist for an unassisted goal at 8:00.
The Rangers dominated on the shot clock in the second period, but couldn't dent MacDonald. He made 18 saves in the frame, while the Islanders sent only five shots in on Lundqvist.
Islanders coach Scott Gordon used his timeout with 7:57 left after MacDonald reached over his head and behind it to snare Michal Rozsival's rising drive. At that point, the Rangers held a 14-2 shots advantage in the second and 25-9 overall.
Notes: Islanders LW Sean Bergenheim sat out for the second straight night due to a virus. ... The Islanders placed D Freddy Meyer on the injured list. He expected to be sidelined a few weeks following sports hernia surgery. ... The Rangers fell to 4-1 against Atlantic Division foes. They had been 4-0-2 in their previous six meetings with the Islanders, including a 4-2 road win Oct. 27. ... D Chris Campoli scored a short-handed goal for the Islanders on Monday.